THE MIDLANDS Indoor Track & Field Championships at the High Performance Centre at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham yielded excellent rewards for Stratford Athletic Club members.
The event attracts eligible athletes from both the West and East Midlands and the south west of England. After a couple of warm-up competitions, the championships were the first of the year’s major indoor contests and a welcome respite in warm conditions for a group of 12 Stratford youngsters.
Victory was secured by Adam Farrow in the U15 high jump with a personal best of 1.75m to cement his place as one of the top ranked jumpers (second) in the UK.
His gold medal performance was boosted by another gold and 20cm PB in the long jump (5.63m) and a bronze medal and PB in the hurdles (9.98secs).
Despite being under the weather, team-mate George Fox-Rowe went home with a hurdles silver medal thanks to a PB of 9.72secs and a bronze in the long jump (5.37m). He was just outside the high jump medals with 1.50m.
Moving up to U20 this year is always a challenge, but hurdlers Ollie Cresswell and Jack Sumners have adapted relatively easily and again showed their class in the 60m hurdles.
They both exploded out of their blocks and got to the all-important hurdle first – a position they held throughout the race.
With a surge to the line, Sumners just edged to victory with a PB of 8.10secs, ahead of Cresswell by just the thickness of a vest in 8.14secs. Sumners went on to win gold in the long jump with 6.46m.
After a long battle with hamstring problems, it was good to see Daniel Boyd back in competitive shape with a 7.31secs PB in the U20 60m.
Alex Powell made an impressive debut as an U17 triple jumper with a massive 70cm PB of 11.32m and another PB in the long jump of 5.50m.
The U15 girls’ triple jump was one of the highlights of the championships with Millie Leighton jumping well over the first five jumps and then launching herself to the gold medal with 11.15m with her final jump.
This is not just a PB but tops the UK rankings and is also the 13th best distance ever by an U15 female UK athlete.
The U20 triple jump provided Emily Madden Forman with a silver medal thanks to a jump of 10.76m and she followed this up with a bronze in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.41secs. She also finished just outside the medals in the high jump with a season’s best of 1.60m.
Putting her high jump disappointment behind her, U17 athlete Maddie Clark had a busy weekend with two PBs – 9.89secs in the 60m hurdles and 4.57m in the long jump. She also had a steady run in the 60m with 8.67secs.
Evie Lowe was in fine form in the U15 high jump to finish with a PB of 1.50m and a bronze medal, whilst Jodie Watson is gradually getting back to her best in the U17 high jump and registered a season’s best of 1.55m.
U20 athlete Georgia Clarke warmed up for her main hurdles event by running the 60m in 8.56secs and had another good run in the 60m hurdles of 9.82secs.
Beth Cate has moved up to U17 and won her heat in the 60m in 8.34secs and finished fifth in her semi-final. Grace Fairweather has also moved up this season and ran her 60m in 8.39secs and jumped 4.55m in the long jump.
STRATFORD AC provided more than 50 per cent of the Warwickshire team which faced Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire and Birmingham in the West Midlands Regional U11 Sportshall final.
The Stratford youngsters produced some outstanding performances to help the Warwickshire team to victory in the girls’ event and second place in the boys’ competition.