THE MIDLAND Counties U13, 15 and 17 Championships at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham saw Stratford AC’s youngsters come home with a haul of medals that underlined the quality among the juniors in a top class competition just below national level.
Issy Cain-Daley had a great opportunity to win the U17 high jump after three lovely first time clearances up to 1.70m, but then lost her rhythm, however she still retained the silver medal position.
In the U15 girls’ events Agnes McTighe continued her good form. In the previous midweek she had raced an 800m at Watford to hone her speed and ran a time of 2:15 which moved her to 11th in the national rankings.
In the Midlands she ran her stronger event of 3,000m and led from start to finish in a small field, lapping all the other runners. Running an even pace, she finished in 9.28, only just outside her own UK-leading time of 9.25 as she set a championship record.
Agnes’ coach thought this was actually a better run as in the previous race she had been paced, but this time she had to do all the work herself.
There were mixed fortunes for the Stratford girls in the U15 800m. Olivia Hall has struggled with a knee injury and went out in the heats.
However, Imogen Sheppard qualified comfortably for the final after ensuring a top three position in her heat after a slow race. In the final, Imogen started confidently but faded in the final 300m in a fast race to slip back from the medal places.
One of the most exciting races of the championships included Jack Sumners and Oliver Cresswell in the U15 hurdles. Right from the gun Jack and his big rival Oli Lambert from Rugby & Northampton were in compete synchronisation over the hurdles and in the closest of finishes Lambert was given the gold by the thickness of a vest after Jack stumbled slightly coming off the last hurdle.
Cresswell was in exactly the same position in the race for the bronze medal and he finished fourth. He then went into his favourite event – the high jump – and won gold with a convincing jump over 1.80, just short of his personal best.
Jack had a very busy day and literally straight after his medal in the hurdles he followed that up with another silver in the long jump. A good series of consistent jumps saw him in medal contention throughout the competition and a huge leap of 5.78m in the last round saw him move into the silver medal position.
Jack also had the energy to compete in the 100m and ran a fast heat in 11.72 which saw him into the final in which he finished just outside the medals in a blanket finish.
Matthew Millward-Brookes had his first taste of competition at this level in the long jump and finished with a best jump of 4.50m and then finished fifth in his heat of the U15 300m in a time of 45.62.
Zephan Boxall was in a very fast heat of the 300m and his time of 40.39 saw him finish in fourth place, which was enough to qualify for the final, but he did not take his place.
Jessica Sheppard finished fourth in her heat of the U17 200m in a time of 27.37 and finished in the same position in her heat of the 300m in a time of 43.26. Her sister Imogen ran 43.97 in her U15 300m heat to qualify for the final in which she finished seventh.
Dani Horton has burst into the top ranks of UK U15 sprinters this season and she continued her superb form with a good win in her heat to line up in the final against her close rival Cassie-Ann Pemberton from Birchfield. Nothing could separate the girls from the gun to the tape until the last stride where Dani’s dip for the line gave her the gold medal in a time of 12.47.
Nine U13 athletes competed in a quadrathlon and they all performed well across the four events, gaining good experience competing in a big stadium against good quality opposition.
Quadrathlon results (listed in this order – long jump, high jump, shot put, 100m, points, final position): U13 Girls – Maddie Clark – 3.39m, 1.23m, 7.28m, 14.75, 1,363, 5th; Grace Fairweather – 3.63m, 1.14m, 4.80m, 14.69, 1,180, 11th; Georgina Campbell – 3.42m, 1.11m, 3.64m, 15.33, 951, 12th; Sarah Evans – 3.26m, 1.11m, 4.59m, 16.88, 798, 15th; Faye Gourley – 2.76m, 1.17m, 3.56m, 16.78, 723, 16th.
U13 Boys – George Fox-Rowe – 4.34m, 1.32m, 5.94m, 14.5, 872, 6th; Aran Woodger – 3.74m, 1.26m, 5.69m, 15.3, 694, 7th; William Humphreys – 4.07m, 1.20m, 4.64m, 14.4, 681, 10th; James Chilvers – 3.77m, 1.14m, 5.48m, 14.4, 648, 13th.