STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club’s junior squad were out in force for British Rowing’s West Midlands Junior Championships in Stourport on the River Severn.
The club’s J13 squad, which comprises eight boys and four girls, all came away with at least one medal each on debut as they rowed 1,800m downstream.
And they showcased their focus and determination to take the gold medal in a time of 8 minutes 45 seconds.
J13 coach Hugo Happel said: “I’m so proud of these boys and girls. They have great spirit, attitude, belief and are just a joy to coach.
“They have a terrific bond with each other and that showed again today. What a super bunch, thanks to the parents for helping out, it is much appreciated.”
Stratford’s J14 squad also took to the water in Stourport as the region’s junior rowers competed to earn selection for the West Midlands team at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta in April.
And the J14 girls coxed quadruple scull of Bryony Francis, Maeve Dunn, Becca Smith, Tessa Parkin and Poppy Warren (coxswain) blitzed the course to win the event by 45 seconds and gain West Midlands jerseys in the process.
Next on the water were the three J14 girls double sculls of Isla Dunn and Sophie Franklin, Martha Baines and Mille Smith and Martha Cooke and Josephine Cooper.
Stratford placed second, third and fifth in a close race as J14 coach and junior co-ordinator Steve Wellstead said: “In the final analysis, the Stratford Boat Club crews were placed second, third and fifth with a cigarette paper between them – accomplished rows from all.”
There was an early start for Stratford’s J16 squad as the WJ16 doubles headed down the course first with Megan Rowan and Lucy Sartain second, Harriet Froom and Eloise Cooper fourth and Nancy Davis and Jess Long fifth as all three crews qualified to represent the West Midlands.
Stratford’s Jamie Wilcock took part in the J16 singles and produced a composed row to finish sixth in a tough field.
That was followed by Lily Warren and Poppy Baines in the WJ15 double and Xavier Sissins-Rofey in the single sculls events as the former crew won bronze and Sissins-Rofey claimed silver.
In Division Two, the WJ16 coxless quad of Ez Elfwood, Molly Vondrak, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton won their race in a sub seven-minute time – 11 seconds clear of Stourport in second – to qualify to represent the West Midlands.
Following the quad was the J16 double of Jamie Wilcock and Will Dalrymple Baker who just missed out on a podium finish despite a skilful row.
Representing the J15’s was the coxed quad of Theo Richter, Seth Vondrak, James Albrighton, Ollie Rowlands coxed by Meg Nuttall and they did not disappoint as they finished one second ahead of their closest rivals to qualify for the Inter Regional Regatta.
In hot pursuit was Alexandra Francis competing in the single sculls who finished just three seconds behind a formidable opponent from AB Severn to claim silver.
Molly Vondrak, Lucy Sartain and Eloise Cooper went back on the water for a final singles race and placed fourth, sixth and eight respectively in a highly competitive field.
The WJ15 quad with Poppy Baines, Lily Warren, Sophie Evans, Alice Jones and cox Lucy Yang finished fifth against strong opposition.
And two members of the J17/18 squad also took on the familiar course at Stourport-on-Severn but were not eligible for qualification for the Inter-Regional Regatta.
Charles Happel and Toby Sartain competed in the J17 and J18 singles events respectively with the former winning his class and the latter coming home in third.
The pair then joined forces to compete in the J18 doubles event where they finished third in a field of strong crews.