FOLLOWING the excitement of the Schools’ Head, Stratford Boat Club’s younger squads took on competition from around the UK at the Junior Sculling Head held over 3,600m on the Olympic Lake at Eton Dorney.
Fortune smiled on all competitors as conditions were much-improved over the previous day on the Tideway.
First Stratford crew to race was the women’s J15 coxed quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Maiya James, Mili Wilcock, Mya Kenny and cox Naomi Sergeant.
Powering up the course, the crew started well and held their rhythm through the first leg of the event. Continuing the push through the second leg, the crew battled hard to earn themselves 29th place among the 62 crews entered.
Next up was the women’s J14 coxed quadruple scull of Abbey Meggeson, Martha Usselmann, Sienna Rawlings, Elizabeth Edwards and cox Julia Zampronio Gurden.
Steve Wellstead, Stratford’s junior co-ordinator, said: “The crew showed tremendous grit and composure in their first outing on the national stage despite last-minute crew changes due to illness.
“A solid row over both legs of the course was enough to secure them 27th of the 48 crews entered.”
Each year the weeks preceding Easter see selection trials for the West Midlands Junior rowing squad. The ‘Beast from the East’ thwarted the main event in Stourport and selection trials were rescheduled to run at Worcester in a two-leg time trial format.
Racing ran both with and against the significant Severn stream, making the event a real test of boatmanship.
Stratford’s young athletes coped admirably and put in some terrific performances across the board. In the end the margins were close and steering on the upstream leg proved crucial.
The Stratford Boat Club junior squad came away with two wins on the day from Fred Tyler and Amelie Sartain which, when combined with prior selection events, gives Stratford five crews representing the West Midlands.
Wellstead added: “This makes Stratford the most successful club at the West Midlands Trials – a superb achievement and one of which we are all very proud.”
The following athletes will wear West Midlands colours at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta in April: Amelie Sartain, Fred Tyler, Katie Wellstead, Molly Gill-Swift, Khloe Curnock, Jessica Weisheu, Maiya James, Nixie Brunt, Mya Kenny, Alice Baines, Naomi Sergeant, Abbey Meggeson, Martha Usselmann, Elizabeth Edwards, Sienna Rawlings and Julia Zampronio Gurden.