Athletics: Johnson makes it big on international stage
New girl on the block Sarah Johnson produced an exceptional performance for the Midlands at the Home Countries Cross-Country International in Northern Ireland.
The 20-year-old Leicester student finished eighth in the junior women's race as she covered the Antrim course in 20min 25sec.
Johnson was very much involved in the sharp end of the race and stayed in close touch throughout the 5.4k course with England international Eleanor Wilmshurst, who was sixth.
Coach Paul Blissett said: "Sarah is at the University of Leicester.
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"I've been working with her since last September and she has a fantastic attitude.
"She was picked for the Midlands after finishing 10th at the National Championships and I think she can make quite an impact."
In the same race, won by England's Hannah Walker in 18.58, Leicestershire's Lucy Crookes, also competing for the Midlands, finished 23rd from a field of 33 in a time of 21.44.
In the senior women's race over 7.2k, Nottinghamshire's Juliet Doyle, who does her club running for Charnwood, triumphed in 25.47.
Leicestershire's Claire Matchett was 20th in 28.14.
There was also a Schools international with County duo Mari Smith and Amy Griffiths producing solid performances for England against the other Home Countries.
Smith was seventh in the 3.3k race for junior girls in a time of 11.56 as England runners filled the first eight places to romp to the team title. She earned the call-up after finishing sixth in the English Schools Championships at Wollaton Park, Nottingham.
Griffiths also did well at Wollaton to clinch an England spot. She was fifth there and was eighth at Antrim in the intermediate girls race over 4.5k in a time of 15.39.
England again dominated the event, which was a further indication of the stiff competition Smith and Griffiths faced to make the team in the first place. The fact it was their fourth major race in six weeks may have had a bearing on their Antrim performances.