FOR the first time ever, Stratford College entered a team in the West Midland Colleges Cross Country Championships and their endeavours paid off as the men put in a fine performance to win a bronze medal in the team competition.
This year’s championships took place at the National Sports Centre in Lilleshall, Shropshire, and the students’ aim was simply to enjoy the novelty of racing in the championships and to use the experience as a platform for improving their fitness over the coming months.
However, they achieved more than the college could ever have expected.
In addition to winning bronze as a team, there were some remarkable personal success stories.
In the men’s event, 17-year-old Level 3 Sport student Stanley Doxey, from Kenilworth, ran a tremendous race to achieve a fantastic top ten finish in the West Midlands region.
He finished in ninth position – just one place outside of the top eight positions required to qualify for the national championships later this year – so Stanley is now first reserve for the West Midlands team, which is a fine achievement in his first regional competition.
After the race, he commented: “I enjoyed the course. I am a little disappointed with ninth but it was a great day.”
Stanley was followed home by Sam Weaving, a 17-year-old Level 2 Sport student from Warwick, in 18th position.
Then came Joe Proctor, 18, from Coventry, also studying Level 2 Sport, in 22nd, Clarence Monk, an 18-year-old Level 3 Public Services student from Evesham, in 28th and 17-year-old Jake Ackrill from Warwick, also studying Level 3 Public Services, who was 30th.
Representing the college for the first time in the ladies’ race were Stephanie Schneider from Stratford and Lucy Tucker from Evesham, both 17-year-old Level 3 Sport students.
They supported one another greatly around the 4km course and completed it in a time of 33 minutes to finish impressively in 17th and 18th places.
Paul Bradshaw, Sport lecturer at the college, said: “Never have I been so proud of a group of students. Their effort on the third lap was clear on all their faces.
“They were giving absolutely everything they had and they all showed great levels of maturity and character.
“The students have all had fantastic support from their respective athletics clubs outside of college and also within college with the setting up this academic year of Wednesday’s Run Club. We have unearthed some hidden talent.
“Overall, the performance of all the runners was simply outstanding. Everyone tried their best and can be justly proud of their achievements on the day.”
For information on any of Stratford College’s courses, visit www.stratford.ac.uk or call 01789 266245.