TWENTY-THREE Stratford Athletic Club juniors provided the lion’s share of the Warwickshire team which performed brilliantly at the under 11, 13 and 15 West Midlands Regional Sportshall finals.
The county squad also featured athletes from Rugby, Coventry and Leamington and the Warwickshire athletes turned on the style in Solihull, with the Stratford contingent giving the team a really competitive edge and genuine team spirit.
Traditionally Birmingham dominate the regional competition but, as with last year, Warwickshire came out on top overall against teams from Birmingham, Hereford & Worcestershire, Shropshire and Staffordshire.
The U13 girls and both the U15 teams won their respective age groups, defeating their perennial rivals from Birmingham, and the U13 boys only just missed out winning by a narrow margin, which rounded off a hugely successful day as the three teams qualified for the national finals in Manchester in April.
Sportshall athletics combines speed and a tremendous amount of variable skill sets within a relatively confined space. Every year all the age groups are very competitive and the competition this year was even more intense than in previous years with some strong athletes in each team making all the events tough going.
This made the competition tight throughout but the Warwickshire team, primarily led by the Stratford athletes, had more depth and far more top three placings.
The U15 athletes compete in a three-event all-rounder competition and the outstanding performances came from Millie Leighton who won in the girls’ event and Adam Farrow who took silver in the boys’ version.
Results: U13 Boys – Zach MacKenzie (speed bounce 1st; 2-lap 4th); Linden Williams (2-lap and vertical jump 8th); Joshua Roberts (4-lap and shot 1st); James Verrals (4×1-lap relay 1st; standing triple jump 7th); Harry McDonald (4×1-lap relay 1st; vertical jump 2nd).
U13 Girls – Izzy Newton (shot 1st; 6-lap 4th); Poppy Fox-Rowe (6-lap 1st; 8-lap paarlauf 1st; speed bounce 3rd); Holly Newton (shot 2nd); Lucy Lane (vertical jump and 8-lap paarlauf 1st; 4-lap 2nd); Kate Richardson (obstacle and 4×1-lap relay 1st).
U15 Girls – Millie Leighton (overall 1st, speed bounce and vertical jump 1st; 2-lap 2nd).
U15 Boys – Adam Farrow (overall 2nd; standing triple jump 1st; 4-lap and shot 3rd); Ollie Wear (overall 5th; shot 1st; 4×2-lap relay 1st; standing triple jump 2nd; 2-lap 9th); Freddie Clemons (overall 6th; speed bounce 3rd; 4-lap 4th; standing long jump 5th); Henry Madden Forman (overall 12th; standing long jump 3rd ; speed bounce 5th; 4-lap 9th).
In the U11 event the level of competition was no less intense and the Warwickshire boys finished second and the girls third.
Results: U11 Boys – Jonnie Chute (speed bounce and target throw 1st); Flynn Dathan (speed bounce 2nd; standing triple jump 8th); Seb Hillard (standing triple jump 1st); Luca DeFreitas Pires (chest push 3rd; standing long jump 12th); Alex McMillan (target throw 7th).
U11 Girls – Ruby Edwards (balance 6th; standing long jump 9th); Emilie Ross (javelin 8th; standing triple jump 11th); Nikola Wodzisz (javelin 4th; balance 9th).