CREWE teenage sensation Stevie Stockton stormed into Great Britain's team for the World Cross Country Championships in Kenya with a breathtaking performance on Saturday.
The 17-year-old defied the odds to qualify for the massive event despite being one of the youngest competitors in the Women's U20 trials at Nottingham.
The South Cheshire College student powered to third place on live TV. Now she is preparing to jet out to Mombasa along with the world's elite for the championships on March
Stevie said: 'I'm delighted. It is definitely my best achievement so far. At the finish I saw my mum and started crying. I have always wanted a GB vest and it is an amazing feeling to get it.
'I have no clue what to expect in Kenya, but I can't wait. I know it will be very tough and the climate could be a problem, but I just want to experience it. I know I'm on a learning curve.'
She added: 'There was a bit of pressure on me because | was mentioned as one of the main contenders on Sky TV beforehand.
'But I wasn't nervous. I had a good start and people round the course were telling me I was clear of fourth place. That really spurred me on.'
Representing Cheshire, North of England champion Stevie clocked a superb 24 minutes 32 seconds over the 6k course.
Hampshire's Charlotte Purdoe (24:04) and Warwickshire's Olivia Kenney (24:23) were first and second. Stevie was 23 seconds clear in the vital third qualifying spot.
The trials for the world championships were incorporated into the Inter-counties Championships. Sandbach runners Zach Cross (143rd, U17 Boys), Andrew Clewes (21st, U15 Boys), Mike Vennard (257th, U13 Boys) and Rachel Clewes (84th, U20 Women) also performed well for Cheshire.
But it was Stevie who deservedly stole the limelight. She is expected to join the GB team, who are European champions, in South Africa for acclimatisation before moving on to Kenya. She will join a six-strong GB team in the Junior Women's race in Mombasa.
Shaun McGrath, her coach at Vale Royal AC, said: 'I was in tears. This really is big-time. Stevie put in a phenomenal performance and we're so proud of her.'
Chris Steele, the Coppenhall High School teacher who took Stevie to her first county meeting, said: 'Stevie is so gutsy and I think she'll surprise a few people in Kenya.'
Meanwhile, South Cheshire Harriers Mike Cutler (50:40) and John Latham (59:12) took part in the Huddersfield 10k on Sunday. nStevie Stockton does not have any sponsorship. Anyone wishing to support her can contact Chronicle sports editor Peter Morse on 01270 502437, or e-mail email@example.com