THE fourth of the five race West Midland Young Athletes’ League season took place at the Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton.
The Stratford AC teams arrived in confident mood after three successful fixtures at West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Hatton respectively.
The under 11 girls race featured a field of 145 with the consistent Georgina Mitchell (5th, 7.32) enjoying a splendid run. She was just 13 seconds behind the winner and is now 6th overall.
Alexandra Keays (24th) improved 12 places, while Imogen Sheppard (56th) and debutant Lily Dyble (61st) looked strong.
The combative Daisy Musk (85th) picked up two places from race three and Lauren Smyth (132nd, 10.05) worked hard.
The under 11 girls team, which has the makings of a really strong group, finished 7th and are 10th overall.
There was an excellent turnout for the under 11 boys event with six representing Stratford AC.
Connor Hughes (13th) produced another consistent run and is 10th overall, while Owain Jones (21st) ran well, improved on his last performance and is nearly back to his best.
Reuben Trotter (23rd) made a really impressive debut with George Worboys (27th) and Archie Musk (38th) just behind.
Matthew Vickers (70th) was not on top form due in part to having competed in a schools race the previous day and Dom Furey (72nd) was another not at full fitness due a recent injury.
The team finished a fantastic third and are now 7th overall, hot on the heels of Birchfield Harriers.
The under 13 girls were led home by Ysabelle Caswell (20th). Harriet Flynn enjoyed her best run yet (28th) followed by Katie Young (30th) and Harriet Smith (37th).
There was a massive improvement from Hannah Bexson (39th), while there were excellent runs and highly deserved season’s best performances from Hannah Adler (49th) and Jessica Sheppard (65th).
The team finished 5th and tenth overall.
Fergus Allison, amazingly, claimed his third 13th place finish, while Cameron Maxwell ran steadily but lacked the change of pace of a few others in the final quarter of the race.
Jonathon Furey (47th) achieved his best position of the season and Murray Jackson (60th, 11.15) stuck to his task well.
The team finished 9th and are 8th overall.
First home for the under 15 girls was Abigail Flynn (30th, 14.54) who dug deep to find a big improvement for a season’s best.
Sophie Dobedoe (26th) also producing a season’s best and pipped Caroline Furey (27th) who equalled her best position of the season, while Rachel Chandler (53rd) enjoyed a steady run on her return from a knee injury.
The team finished 11th and are tenth overall.
Four Stratford AC boys featured in the under 15 race and they were led home by promising debutant Jordan Hancock (15th).
Alex Beckett (37th, 13:44) lost his shoe at the start and gave everyone a 50m head start, while Alexander Eves (40th) and Matthew Bayliss (58th, 14.44) ran creditably.
The team were tenth and remain tenth overall.
The under 17 women’s team, in a small but very competitive field of 37, comprised the ever reliable Tas Pope, Lucy McDermott and Hannah Taylor. Tas (3rd, 13.31) put in another tremendous run and now lies equal 3rd overall, while Lucy (4th, 13.45) is 5th in the individual standings.
Hannah Taylor (31st, 15.48) recorded a season’s best finish, standing in for the injured Zoe Chandler.
The girls finished third and sit second after four fixtures.
Only 37 athletes made it to the start line for the under 17 men. Howard Allison (26th, 18.58) equalling his best finish of the season, while Liam Cole (31st, 19.54) ran sensibly and also equalled his best of the campaign.
The fifth and final league fixture is at Perry Park, Birmingham and all the age groups will be looking to finish the season with a bang.
The strength of the junior cross country squads promises great things for the future and, with membership growing all the time, morale is rightly sky-high.
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