VALE Royal teen sensation Rebecca Craigie has been called up for international duty after impressing selectors this season.
The 17-year-old cross country athlete will run for England at Elgoibar, near Bilbao, in an international event this weekend against Spanish and Portuguese runners.
It is the first time Rebecca has run for the national junior cross country women’s team, although she has appeared in an England vest for the schools representative squad.
Having enjoyed medal-winning performances for Vale Royal all season, national selectors have decided she deserves her chance.
England U20 team manager Barbara Cutting said: “We knew Rebecca had run very well at the European trials in Liverpool and also at the ECCA road relays at Mansfield, so on those two performances we thought she would merit selection for England and broaden her experiences.
“It really is a step up from what she is used to. This is only one rung below running for Great Britain so it will be tough.”
Rebecca is one third of the record-breaking Vale Royal U17 trio, which also includes Nikki Meadows and Kathy Stringer, but due to her selection, she will be unable to compete at this weekend’s Cheshire Cross Country Championships at Knight’s Grange, Winsford (see page 31).
Vale Royal coach Sean McGrath says the call-up is just reward for Rebecca’s efforts this season and he is sure that she can shine on the big stage.
“Rebecca is a delightful girl,” he said. “She really deserves her chance and I am sure she will perform to the best of her ability.
“She was worried that by running for England, she would be letting the club down by not running at Knight’s Grange! That’s the kind of girl she is.”
Pick up next week’s free Chronicle to find out if Rebecca caused her European rivals some pain in Spain on her England U20 debut.