STRATFORD Athletic Club clinched the prestigious Warwick Vase having topped the points table at the Warwickshire Track & Field Championship.
Stratford’s 60-plus squad of mainly juniors topped the pile after two days of competition at the event, which was held jointly with Leicestershire.
Ray Morgan, from Warwickshire County Athletics Association, said afterwards: “As long as I can remember the trophy has been shared by Birchfield Harriers, Coventry Godiva Harriers and Rugby & Northampton but now Stratford, having come close in recent years, have won the trophy for the first time – a superb result for them – very well done.”
The final positions were: Stratford 508; Birchfield Harriers 472; Rugby & Northampton 391; Coventry Godiva Harriers 374; Royal Sutton Coldfield 219; Leamington C&AC 192; Solihull & Small Heath 191; Nuneaton Harriers 110; BRAT 79; Leamington Athletics Academy 64; Sparkhill Harriers 7.
Paul Bearman, head coach of the SAC juniors, said: “This is such great news for everyone associated with the club. Over the years so many people have helped build a wonderful club for the people of this part of the county and it’s great to see the club at the top.
“The championships were a showcase for the talent that is nurtured by all the club’s coaches week on week, with all the athletes competing contributing to this success and, by producing 45 medals, this is the biggest haul of county medals in the club’s history.”
Among the many outstanding performances and the one that was the biggest revelation was under 15 Dion Love, who won the pole vault with a personal best of 2.70m, beating the County Championship best performance (CBP) dating back to 1997.
What makes the performance so good is that Dion trains regularly at the club but, with no facilities or coaching expertise at SAC, Dion’s parents take him to Cheltenham AC weekly to get the technical coaching he needs.
Jack Sumners’ early season goes from strength to strength and he went home with gold medals in the under 17 hurdles after setting a new PB and CBP in the long jump and a silver in the 100m.
His performance in the hurdles earned him the under 17 county award, which is a trophy to the athlete who achieves the best performance in each age group.
Oliver Cresswell was also recognised for his performance in finishing second behind Jack in the hurdles in 13.3secs, which equalled the old record. He went on to to win the high jump with 1.80m.
The club’s young jumpers excelled across the board. The high jump – an event Stratford have a strong tradition in – saw Issy Cain (U20) win gold and equal the county record and Ellie Bryan won silver in the U15s and likewise Evie Lowe in the U13s.
In the U15 long jump eight Stratford girls contested the event and Barbora Lowe, Lucy Smith and Imogen Sheppard gave the club a clean sweep in the medals.
Emily Madden Forman (U17) and Alex Evans (U15) won their triple jump events and Rowan and Dion claimed silver and bronze.
Paula Williams was the only Stratford senior athlete competing and she won gold in the 100m hurdles and silver in the shot with 9.90m.
In the field events the junior throwers had a very good championship. U13 Adam Farrow won gold in the javelin, dodging back and forth to the high jump in which he finished fourth. Rhys Mahon won the U15 shot and Isaac Clayton the U17 discus.
Maya Evans won both the U15 discus and shot whilst Maddie Clark and Lucy Smith picked up the silver and bronze.
The future of the club looks in safe hands, illustrated perfectly by Leah Bowen and Charlie Whorrad who triumphed in their respective U11 multi-event competitions.