GEORGIE CAMPBELL claimed her first Midlands cross country title with a scintillating performance in the U17 women’s race at the Midlands Cross Country Championships held at Prestwold Hall in Loughborough, reports Paul Hawkins.
A group of three soon opened up a lead at the front with Campbell running along with regular rival Ella Semple (Birchfield) and Kaitlyn Sheppard (Cheltenham).
Semple dropped back after 1,500m, leaving Sheppard and Campbell side-by-side for much of the race.
At the start of the final hill with 300m to go, Campbell made her move and powered away to quickly open up a decisive lead, finally winning by ten seconds in 16:49 to claim her first Midlands cross country title.
Ellen Taylor was the only other Stratford runner in the race and finished 29th.
Last season Alex Adams won the U13 boys’s title, but has now moved into the U15 age group where he has continued his success.
Despite being one of the youngest in the 4k race, Adams was always in contention and finished second in 11:54, with Daniel Galloway (Telford) proving too strong over the final 400m.
Adams was supported by a strong Stratford team in the age group, with Theo Skirvin (63rd, 13:55), Adam Taylor (71st, 14:01), Taylor Stubbins (76th, 14:10) and Joe Warner (106th, 15:24) all part of the team which came 11th in these championships.
The final top ten finisher for the club was Charly Marshall, who was the only Stratford U15 girl following injuries.
She finished ninth in 14:03.
The U13 girls raced over a 3k one-lap course. Maddie Linfoot led the Stratford team home in 21st (10:52) and was followed by Niamh Hillard (29th, 11:08).
Next for Stratford was another impressive run from U11 Tessa Parkin (39th, 11:19).
She was followed by Caitlin Boyle (63rd, 11:43) and another U11 in Annie Silvers (68th, 11:55).
Martha Peters (72nd, 12:02) and Tilly Campbell (98th, 12:34) completed the team who just missed out on the medals, coming in fourth place.
Max Verstraeten (50th, 10:45) was first home for the team in the U13 boys’s race.
Joe Lewis (67th, 10:59) had his strongest race so far this season and was followed by James Day (75th, 11:07), Seb Hillard (89th, 11:18) and Flynn Dathan (105th, 11:42), as the team claimed a fine 13th place overall.
In the U17 men’s race over 6k, James Mucklow (42nd, 23:42) was closely followed by Ned Campbell (50th, 24:11).
Josh Dobedoe (56th, 24:24) and Fin Hutchinson (69th, 28:17) completed the team who finished in sixth.
Daisy Musk was the club’s only U20 woman and she claimed a time of 29:14 over the 6k course to finish inside the top 20 runners.
In the senior women’s race, Cadie Hibberd exceeded her expectations to come 21st in 32:55 over the 8k race.
She was followed by Sophie Dobedoe (62nd, 36:02), Emma Bexson (83rd, 38:12), Vicky Sharpe (90th, 38:43) and Liuba Pasa (154th, 43:45), who all helped the team to an 11th-placed finish overall.
The Midland Masters Cross Country Championships was incorporated into the event and the older age groups raced over a two-lap 8k distance which certainly seemed to suit Phil Brennan, who won a gold medal in a time of 42:55.
The final race of the day was the senior men’s 12k, run over three laps.
Stratford had five athletes racing and first back for the club was Tim Hutchinson (113th, 46:13).
He was followed by John Raby (141st, 48:08), Malcolm Bowyer (204th, 51:14), David Smyth (214th, 51.42) and James Deacon (361st, 72:13).