A 67-STRONG team of Stratford Athletic Club juniors – many making their debut for the club and at a higher level of competition – made the trip across to Rugby for the opening Heart of England Premier Division match of the season.
This is a hugely competitive division with seven other teams from across the Midlands competing and, as well as some very impressive individual performances from the Stratford youngsters, the team finished the day in second spot after wins in all the male age groups.
At this stage of the season team managers have to make judgements on selection after just some limited pre-season competition and what made this such a successful opening competition was being able to fill virtually all the events.
It also needs both the A and B string playing their part as every point counts and all the athletes really produced very good performances across the team to earn those valuable points.
Amongst the impressive performances was U13 George Fox-Rowe who won both the 75m hurdles (12.80s) and the long jump (4.40m), whilst Louis Kendrick won the B long jump (4.14m) and finished a strong second in the 1,500m (5.01.6).
Imogen Sheppard led from gun to tape in winning the U15 800m as she eased up to triumph in 2.26.0 and Rhys Mahon had an equally emphatic win in the equivalent boys’ race in 2.20.2, with Adam Pomeroy winning the B race in 2.31.4.
Harry Allwood, making his debut for the club, surprised himself by winning the 300m in 41.00 and as a late replacement in the 200m ran a personal best to finish second in the 200m (24.9).
Hurdles is traditionally a strong event for the club and Zephan Boxall is following in that tradition having run the qualifying time for the English Schools’ Championships by winning the U15 80m hurdles race (11.9s), whilst Cole Williams won the B race in 13.30s.
Jack Sumners has moved up to the U17s this year and is enjoying a blistering start to the season. In pre-season competitions he continually improved his personal bests in the hurdles and long jump and at Rugby he did it again by running 13.2, the second fastest time in the UK this year.
He was chased home by Oliver Creswell who ran 13.3, the third fastest in the UK so far this year.
In the long jump Sumners leapt a huge personal best of 6.48m to win and Dan Boyd was thrilled with his efforts in all his events as he jumped 6.09m to win the B long jump and then enjoyed a winning sprint double in the 100m (11.7) and 200m (23.3), which were all personal bests.
U15 team manager Mike Sheppard said afterwards: “It was a really good day across all the age groups with lots of strong performances from our established athletes.
“What was really pleasing was the breakthrough revelations and surprises from so many athletes.”