THE rookie minor boys were Cornwall's golden performers at the South West Schools' Cross Country Championships in Bristol at the weekend.
Led by Finn Birnie in third place, the Cornish boys swamped the top ten, with their next five runners sweeping aside their rivals with James Greenwood fourth, Archie Vingoe fifth, Fred Bareham eighth, Thomas Fisher ninth and Jasper Hartley tenth.
Team manager John Knowles said: "That was an awesome performance by our boys.
"It was great to see Finn make the podium but the packing of the other five behind him to all finish inside the top ten, not to forget the other three lads also running well, was brilliant to watch and the boys were a credit to the county vest.
"It was one of the best team displays I have seen."
Finn, a 12-year-old from Truro School who lives in St Austell, certainly had an inspiration run as he finished probably faster than the winner moving from fifth to third in the closing stages during Saturday's race.
He said: "I had a good sprint at the end to get third and I am very happy with that.
"I wasn't sure what to expect here today but I would say that was definitely my best ever run and I relay enjoyed myself. And it is great to win the team gold as well."
Finn's storming finish took him ahead of Wadebridge School's Greenwood with Mounts Bay Academy youngster Vingoe, who was only eighth in the county championships, enjoying his best ever run in fifth.
Bareham (Truro School), Fisher (Penair) and Hartley (Penryn) completed an over-whelming team success.
Knowles had an even keener interest in Molly Long's performance as he coaches the 16-year-old Truro School student from Trevone, near Padstow.
Molly has only raced once this winter due to injury but such is her quality that she announced her comeback with an emphatic win in the county championships last month.
While track remains her priority – she is one of the best 800m runners in the country – Molly showed that she is steadily returning to form with a hard-earned silver medal in a highly competitive inter girls' race just doing enough to hold off her fast-finishing Devon rival.
Knowles said: "Molly isn't a huge fan of cross country but as I keep telling her it is essential to build up her strength and stamina during the winter for the summer track season.
"After all the problems Molly has had that silver medal represents a really good run and she should be pleased with that."
Long also picked up a second silver as she led the Cornwall squad of Charlotte Cayton-Smith (Newquay Tretherras), Yvonne Chart (Truro School), Tess Masselink (Callington Community College), Lowenna Hawkey (Newquay Tretherras) and Amy Bennallick (Callington Community) to second place behind Devon.
Knowles said: "That was another really good team medal with some fine individual efforts."
While it was just the two individual medals Truro School's county champion Emily Becconsall came agonisingly close in the minor girls' race finishing fourth and just three seconds off a place on the podium.
There were also top ten finishes for Truro High School's Yoyo Barnsley in the junior girls' race, Helston Community School's Callum Jones in the senior boys' age group and Callington Community College student Sam Lane de Courtin in the inter boys.
Results, see Page 90.