THE final Warwickshire Sportshall League match brought the domestic indoor athletics season to another very successful conclusion and saw Stratford AC juniors complete a terrific indoor season by again comprehensively retaining the title.
Team managers Carolyne Johnston, Michelle Bartlett, Elaine Ledden, Jenny Sheppard and Mike Sheppard really stretched their people juggling skills this season to give as many youngsters as possible the chance to be part of the success.
More than 130 of the club’s U11, U13 and U15 athletes competed across the season in the monthly matches against teams from Rugby, Coventry, Leamington and Leamington Academy.
The talented Stratford U11 and U13 youngsters were pushed by the other teams throughout the season but the U15s completely dominated their age group.
After the deciding match and another compelling evening of competitive athletics, it was announced every Stratford team won in every age group. With every point from every athlete making a contribution to the results, this again gave the Stratford team the overall title.
Athletes of the year were Isla Jackson and Rhys Mahon, who are both hardworking team players who turn out consistently through the season but do not necessarily grab the headlines.
A lot of credit for this success goes to the team managers who, as well as pulling the teams together, along with the other club coaches, also make sure the youngsters are coached properly during the year and enjoy their athletics during the long dark nights of winter.
Mike Sheppard said: “It was a great team effort and, apart from the athletes, as team managers we also need to thank all the parents and supporters who have helped out over the season with officiating, time-keeping, results preparation, team management, running the raffle etc. These competitions wouldn’t be possible without their involvement.”
The success of the Stratford athletes was rewarded with no less than 19 of the team being selected to represent Warwickshire in the West Midlands Regional finals in Solihull against Birmingham, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire/Worcestershire and the Black Country.
Once again the backbone of the Warwickshire team came from Stratford and provided the basis for a great team spirit along with the other talented athletes from the Warwickshire league.
In recent years Birmingham, with their vast pool of resources, dominated the competition and Warwickshire usually battled away to finish second in all the age groups but, with collectively strong team performances by the Warwickshire U13 girls and U15 boys. they both won their age groups and qualified for the National finals in Manchester in April.
The U13 boys and U15 girls both finished second.
In what turned out to be a medal-fest for the Stratford youngsters, gold medals picked up by SAC athletes were:
Individual overall champion in U15 boys event: Alex Evans, who will represent the West Midlands at the national finals.
U13G 2-lap – Millie Leighton.
U13G Standing Triple Jump – Millie Leighton.
U13B Speed Bounce – Henry Madden Forman.
U13B Standing Triple Jump – Adam Farrow.
U15B 2-lap – Alex Evans.
U15B Standing Triple Jump – Alex Evans.
U15B Speed Bounce – Matt Ross.
U15B Paarlauf – Harry Allwood/Owain Jones.
There were wins for partly Stratford teams in the U13G Obstacle Relay, U13G 4×2-lap and U13B Obstacle Relay.
Stratford’s season-best performance medal winners:
2-Lap – Millie Leighton (U13 girls, 25.5); Beth Cate (U15 girls, 25); Alex Evans/Cole Williams (U15 boys, 23.6).
4-Lap – George Fox-Rowe (U13 boys, 55.2); Imogen Sheppard (U15 girls, 54.4); Harry Allwood (U15 boys, 50.9).
6-Lap – George Fox-Rowe (U13 boys, 88.5).
Chest Push – Lucy Lane (U11 girls, 6.50m).
Shot Put – Maddie Clark (U15 girls, 9.42m); Lewis Byng (U15 boys, 11.92m).
Javelin – Lucia Cassidy (U11 girls, 18m).
Speed Bounce – Anastacia Bradley/Olivia Robinson (U11 girls, 52); Matthew Bexson (U13 boys, 88); Anna Gionis (U15 girls, 90); Rowan Love (U15 boys, 96).
Standing Long Jump – Lottie O’Connor (U11 girls, 2m); Charlotte Nash (U15 girls, 2.16m).
Standing Triple Jump – Holly Newton (U11 girls, 5.86m); Zach Mackenzie (U11 boys, 6.08m); Millie Leighton (U13 girls, 6.74m); Adam Farrow (U13 boys, 7.28m); Imogen Sheppard (U15 girls, 7.02m).
Vertical Jump – Faith Tooze (U13 girls, 51cm); Maddie Clark/Charlotte Nash (U15 girls, 57cm).