FOLLOWING the success of Stratford Athletic Club’s men’s and women’s team – which contained 60 per cent of athletes who have graduated from the junior ranks – in winning their Midland Division so handsomely, another 70 youngsters took their first step in trying to emulate that success in the first Heart of England League Division One match.
With every event covered and a superb combined effort right throughout the team, the juniors completely dominated the Worcester meeting and finished resounding overall winners.
They also finished top of the pile in the U13 and U17 boys’ age groups, with the U15s third and the U15 and U17 girls first and the U13s fifth.
The non-scoring U11s boys and girls were second and third respectively.
Individually the team produced literally dozens of personal bests and grade one and two performances. In hot, windy conditions the 1,500m runners had tricky conditions but coped well as U13s Louis Kendrick and Alex Adams gave the team a 1-2 in the A and B races.
U17 Owain Jones and U15 Georgina Campbell comprehensively won their races and the rest of the 1,500m runners – Daisy Musk, Edie Hutchinson, Finlay Hutchinson, Josh Angus, Matt Ross, Ellie Deaner, Tullah Searle and Ellen Taylor – picked up crucial points.
Among many other outstanding performances, Jack Sumners had a hat-trick of wins in the 100m, 100m hurdles and long jump.
After some intensive training with his throws coach Sandy Green, Lewis Byng finally did what he has been threatening to do recently by throwing the national standard in the U17 shot of 14.33m and Adam Farrow cleared 1.61m in the U15 high jump, with both of them taking top spots in the West Midlands rankings.
U15 team manager Mike Sheppard said: “We saw some great performances with loads of personal bests set. Particularly pleasing was seeing new faces like Kate Dufty, Harry Sugden and Nick Butler coming into the team and all performing so strongly on their league debut.
“This is a tough division against some big and very good clubs and it certainly felt like Stratford’s most dominant overall performance in the six or seven years that I’ve been going to the Heart of England meetings.
“Having some really strong individual athletes helps us enormously but, just looking at the results and all the B strings where we were first, second or third and having a full complement in all the events, shows we won because of our strength in depth and team spirit.
“It’s a really good start but we need to keep it going for the remaining matches.”
Report compiled by Paul Bearman.