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Another Vase success as club juniors shine

THE Warwickshire County Championships is very early into the track and field season but 120 Stratford AC athletes, across the age groups but mostly juniors, descended on the Pingles Track in Nuneaton to again be crowned best overall club within the old Warwickshire county boundary, including Birmingham, Rugby, Solihull and Coventry, reports Sam Swanepoel.

Points are allocated to performances in finals, descending from eight for a win, to find the best overall club which then receives the Warwick Vase.

Organiser Ray Morgan, of WCAA, explained: “The Warwick Vase is awarded to the WCAA club which scores the most points over the two days of the county championships. Stratford won it for the first time in 2016 and have retained it since then.

“The club has retained it again with a terrific points total of 640 to win with 141 points more than their nearest rivals Rugby and Northampton. Well done to all the Stratford athletes and their coaches and thank you to the club officials who helped over the two days.”

Annie Silvers (199) in action during the Warwickshire County Championships
Annie Silvers (199) in action during the Warwickshire County Championships

The first day of the championships started off cold and breezy until the sun finally came out in the late afternoon by which time the track and field had already been swamped by the bright, sunny yellow vests of dozens of Stratford’s finest; a sight that continued into day two.

Stratford’s medallists and finalists were spread right across the age groups and events; sprints, middle and long distance and the jumps and throws, which meant that there was a constant stream of athletes competing throughout the event.

The club secured an impressive haul of 51 medals consisting of ten gold, 26 silver and 15 bronze medals but, as always, it was those finishing from fourth to eighth in the finals that massively helped the club to what in the end was a very comprehensive win.

The middle and longer distance races proved to be a rich vein of success and many of them started the track and field season where they left off in the winter.

The outstanding individual performance came from u15 Annie Silvers who won gold with superbly judged runs in both the 800 and 1500m and the silver in the 75m hurdles.

Welcome points also came from Vicky Sharpe in winning the grueling senior 2,000m steeplechase.

The u13 boys hurdles produced a rare one, two, three for Stratford AC with Billy Sheppard winning gold just ahead of teammate Kipp Stevens on the line with Stan Peters in the bronze position. Kipp then won gold in the 1,500m.

Over the last few years, field events have become a rich source of success for Stratford and this was epitomised by the impressive medal haul across many

of the events.

The triple jump produced two gold medallists with Ruby Edwards winning the u17 title with a best jump of 9.97m and she also won bronze in the long jump with a leap of 4.77m.

Elfric Mckenzie won the u15 triple jump with a best jump of 10.33m and u13 Henry Sims won gold in the long jump with a best of 3.95m.

There were medallists across the throwing events with gold medal performances from Issy Newton in the u20 shot (7.99m) and Paula Williams in the senior shot (11.18m).

In addition, 13 of Stratford’s new generation of young athletes competed in a Quadkids multi event competition of 75m, 600m, howler and long jump.

Head track and field coach Paul Bearman said: “We are thrilled to win the Warwick Vase again. Tto win it for the first time in 2016 was a long held target but to win it seven times on the bounce shows what a great club we have.

“The coaching team are incredibly proud of the club’s athletes but it’s a team effort and it couldn’t happen for the athletes, who have all contributed to the club’s success, without the volunteer coaches’ unstinting support week in, week out, all year.

“Also, a huge thanks to our officials who were on their feet and on the go over the weekend.”

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