THERE was a piece of history created by Stratford Athletic Club at the second round of the West Midland Young Athletes Cross Country League at Warley Woods in Smethwick on Sunday.
On what was a record-breaking day for the club, more than 60 athletes made up the team, two of whom were individual winners, which is the first time this has happened in the club’s history.
Stratford AC have maintained third place in the league ahead of the next fixture at Perry Park in December.
Although there was a large turnout, there were still two gaps in the squad, one in both the U17 men and U13 girls, so vital points were lost.
Despite this, Stratford finished third on the day and remain third overall, 726 points above fourth placed Halesowen A&CC, but with further ground conceded to the leaders.
Alex Adams (1st, 6.54) continued his domination in the U11 boys, securing his second straight win of the season in composed, majestic style.
Unfazed by the exceptionally fast downhill start, Alex tucked in behind the leaders prior to the very steep uphill climb before making his move and exerting complete control for the rest of the race.
Adam Taylor (12th, 7.33) continued his form from the previous fixture and James Day (52nd, 8.24) capitalised on the experience gained in the last race.
The U11 boys’ team was completed by three wonderful debut performances from Flynn Dathan (57th, 8.28), George Baxter (64th, 8.37) and Alex McMillan (79th, 8.52).
The U11 boys team finished fourth on the day and remain fourth overall.
Georgie Campbell (1st, 13.46) was firing on all cylinders as she hit the front in the early stages and then demonstrated her amazing grit and determination to head the U15 girls’ race throughout.
Imogen Sheppard (13th, 14.48) showed much improved form ahead of a consistent Abi Wootton (21st, 15.12) and there were eye-catching performances from Ellie Bryan (30th, 15.35), debutant Kate Dufty (33rd, 15.39), Daisy Musk (44th, 16.03) and Charlotte Gravelsons (67th, 16.57), with both Ellie and Charlotte making significant progress compared to the first race of the season.
Olivia Hall (68th, 17.00), Ana Gionis (82nd, 17.40), Isla Jackson (93rd, 18.36) and Isobel Hopper (94th, 18.41) completed the U15 girls’ team which finished a deserved third and remain third overall after two races.
There were two gutsy performances in 4.8km U17 men’s race. Three leg sapping laps did not stop Seb Hopper (28th, 20.08) from gradually moving through the field, closely chased by Ollie Best (34th, 20.29).
Georgina Mitchell (13th, 18.46) led the U17 women’s team home in fine controlled style, improving her position on each lap, followed by Jess Sheppard (28th, 19.41), Edie Hutchinson (42nd, 22.16) and Hannah Bexson (45th, 23.45), each of whom should be pleased with their improved performances.
The U17 men, one team member short, finished 12th and are now eighth overall whilst the U17 women’s team finished eighth and move up to seventh overall.
The U11 girls’ team finished a brilliant second and are third overall, only eight points behind the leaders.
Consistent Molly Bullock (7th, 8.06) led the team home over the 1.6km large lap, followed closely by Leah Bowen (11th, 8.17) who enjoyed a stunning debut race.
Maria Watkins (14th, 8.25) just stayed ahead of Maisie-Joy Spriggs (15th, 8.25) who picked up several places with a ferocious finish.
There were two other great debutant performances from Holly Newton (38th, 8.44) and Isabella Newton (44th, 8.47), whilst Maddie Linfoot (41st, 8.46), Ruby Edwards (72nd, 9.22) Olivia Clayton (75th, 9.25) and Katie Pridham (110th, 10.12) completed the team.
The U15 boys completed two large laps totalling 3.2km. Owain Jones (8th, 12.50) led the team home, followed by a strong run from Adam Bayliss (40th, 14.02), whilst Tom Crowfoot (47th, 14.16), Will Crowfoot (48th, 14.18) and Archie Musk (49th, 14.24) chased each other around the course to great effect.
Good performances from Cameron Collins (54th, 14.32), Adam Pomeroy (64th, 15.14), Henry Tombs (68th, 15.34), James Bexson (86th, 18.17) and Fin Hutchinson (88th, 18.31) made up the rest of the U15 boys’ team which finished seventh on the day and are now fourth overall.
Both the U13 boys’ and girls’ team race over 2.5km and the girls were led home by Ellen Taylor (24th, 11.39) who was well placed over the first half of the race but succumbed to a foot injury which slowed her towards the end, but nevertheless she finished with a much-improved result.
Mature runs from Ellie Deaner (47th 12.12) and Helena West (71st, 12.55) and a fantastic debut from Ella Baxter (121st, 16.48) earned 82 precious points for the club and completed the team.
The team finished 13th on the day due to being one short of a complete squad but remain 11th overall.
The U13 boys’ team was led home by a superb, strong run by Jimmy Middleton (21st, 11.05), whilst Morgan Cooke (55th, 11.56), Christopher Hunt (73rd, 12.14), Alex Winning (99th, 13.23) and Jude Greenwood (106th, 14.00) all made solid cross country debuts for the club.
Caleb Spriggs (54th, 11.55), Ned Campbell (59th, 11.58), Alfie Organ (67th, 12.06), Matthew Bexson (71st, 12.12), the smiling Harry Gravelsons (87th, 12.43) and Cameron Black (97th, 13.17) completed the team which finished ninth and are now seventh overall.
Report compiled by Brian Gravelsons.