Hawkins: Stratford athletes are showing strong spirit

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Imogen Sheppard.

ATHLETICS

TEAM manager Paul Hawkins believes Stratford AC are in with a shout of finishing in the top two in Division Three of the Midland Track & Field League after some good performances in the second fixture held at Tipton Academy.

The club finished fourth in the opening round and they went one better in the second, finishing third on 309 points, just three points off second-placed Telford AC and 63 points behind round winners City of Stoke AC.

After the opening two rounds of the Midland Track & Field League, Stratford AC currently sit fourth in the table on seven points.

Hawkins said: “After two consecutive promotions, we are more than holding our own in Division Three and we are still in with a shout of getting into the top two.

“With the amazing team spirit we have and the quality in the squad, we can still do very well this season.”

James Gionis.

Among the highlights was Harry Allwood finishing second in a strong 400m and recording a personal best by a full second.

In the middle distance events Stratford had a father-and-son act with Fin Hutchinson returning from injury in the 1,500m while dad Tim ran the 3,000m, a much shorter race than normal.

In his first league match for a year, Dan Boyd equalled his best in the long jump to come second before having a good run in the 200m and then came third in the 100m despite almost pulling up with a hamstring injury in the last 10m.

Meanwhile, decathlete Nacho Fernandez accumulated a hatful of points for the team in the 200m, both hurdles races, discus, javelin and shot.

In the shot put both Stratford athletes achieved personal bests with Fernandez joined by newcomer to the club Roger Milbourn.

In the women’s sprints, sisters Imogen and Jess Sheppard were the mainstay of the team. Imogen was third in the 100m while Jess was second in the 200m.

However, in their main event, the 400m, they were dominant, both winning their races by big margins.

The 800m was another strong event where Daisy Musk won the A race and Emily Field won the B in a PB time.

Both Musk and Field then moved on to the 1,500m and both finished second in their respective races.

In the 3,000m, Cadie Hibberd ran well to come fourth with a 15-second personal best. In the B race, Emma Bexson claimed second place.

Tim Hutchinson.

After a demanding day, the two Sheppards, Musk and Field combined in the 4x400m relay to win by a full 20 seconds and equal the club record which had been set a month ago at the previous match.

The women’s field events were a strong area for the club. In the first event of the day Kaili Woodward had won the A long jump, despite having an ankle niggle.

Emily Madden Forman won the B long jump before going on to win the A high jump and triple jump.

Forman also won the sprint hurdles to demonstrate her quality across all the events.

Anna Gionis, who ran well to come third in her main event the 400m hurdles, showed her versatility by winning the B triple jump as well as coming second in the B 100m.

The women’s 4x100m team of Forman, Gionis and the Sheppard sisters matched the longer relay result by winning their race by nearly two seconds.

A special mention also went to Paula Williams who was in all four throws and won the shot, was second in the javelin, and fifth in the hammer and discus.

As if that wasn’t enough for Williams, she was also second in the B high jump and won the B sprint hurdles.