COMPLETING their first season as a newly-promoted team to Division Three of the Midlands Track and Field League, Stratford AC maintained their third-place position after the final league fixture of the year in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday, report by Paul Hawkins.
The final league match of the season was held at Wyndley Leisure Centre with the Stratford AC team sitting in third place behind strong teams from City of Stoke and Telford AC.
Stratford had a strong team of 30 athletes, seven of whom were making their senior league debut – four from the club’s juniors and three who had come in from the club’s Vets League team who competed the previous week – and they were supported by a team of nine officials.
Every athlete contributed to the team’s success, but there were some standout performances.
Ollie Cresswell raced over the senior 110m hurdles for the first time and looked very impressive as he stormed to a win in 15.1s, the second-fastest time in the UK this year by an U20 athlete.
He then went straight to the 400m where he finished second in the B race in a PB of 53.1s.
Both female high jumpers were in the team for the first time and both won their event. Faye Gourlay won the A event on countback while Evie Lowe won the B event.
George Fox-Rowe was also making his senior debut, running strongly in the 400m hurdles and jumping 11.83m in the triple jump, an enormous personal best of 1.6m.
Dan Boyd was another jumper who was delighted with a big PB of 6.58m to win the long jump.
He also had good runs in both the 100m and 200m.
Kaili Woodward has had an injury-hit season but has still been a regular in the team and jumped well in her main event, the long jump, to finish second and then did her first ever triple jump to also finish a fine second with a jump of 10.69m.
The pick of the middle-distance runners was Emily Field who started the season with a PB of 2:32.8 for 800m.
After bringing this down over various races, she improved it by more than two seconds to 2:15.6 to finish second, only beaten by Stoke’s Katie Holt running a division record.
To cap her excellent day, Emily then ran a 400m PB of 60.2s to win the B race.
Jess Sheppard won her 400m and backed this up with second in the 200m and winning the B long jump with a PB distance.
Not to be outdone, sister Imogen won the B 200m, came third in the 100m and even managed a PB in the hammer.
Liz Crabtree recently joined Stratford AC after taking part in their successful ‘Couch to 5k’ programme.
Liz revealed that a while back she had thrown the discus so, after throwing in the Vets team last week, she progressed to the senior team, throwing an age group club record and gaining valuable points for the team.
In the final result, Stratford comfortably maintained their third place as Telford claimed their first win of the season.
Team manager Paul Hawkins praised the commitment of the team. “I think that finishing in third place in this division is a superb result following on from two consecutive promotions,” he said.
“But more importantly, with the squad we’ve got along with some more youngsters coming through, we can really challenge at the top next season.”