Stratford juniors up to first place in cross country league
STRATFORD AC moved up to first place in the West Midland Young Athletes’ Cross Country League following an excellent display in the latest round held at Perry Park on Sunday, reports David Parkin.
Although finishing fourth overall on the day, this result was enough for Stratford to top the standings at the halfway stage.
Leading the performances for Stratford were Alex Adams, winning his 16th race in a row, and Tessa Parkin, who richly deserved to win her first race in the league after five second place finishes over the last two seasons.
The U17 women competed in the first race over a 4km course. Georgie Campbell (2nd, 16:45) started strongly to compete with Ella Semple of Birchfield Harriers.
By the end of the first lap, Semple had a five-second advantage which continued to grow over the course of the race, despite a battling performance from Campbell.
Ellen Taylor (21st, 19:11) and Gigi Thomas (19:26) ran much of the first lap very close together, with Taylor pulling ahead in the second half of the race.
Charlotte Gravelsons (38th, 23:14) finished several places further up the field than her previous race.
Maxime Verstraeten (10th, 06:29) secured his second successive top ten finish in a competitive race.
Joel Ledgard (23rd, 06:47) improved five places on the previous race and was closely followed by Joshua Davies (27th, 06:51) and Samuel Plumb (31st, 07:00).
Arthur Mansbridge (39th, 07:07), Aran Cooper (40th, 07:08) and Alfie Musk (41st, 07:10) enjoyed the team approach as they appeared to run the entire race three abreast.
Harry Francioni (47th, 07:19), Ewan Sparrow (56th 07:36), Henry Sims (79th, 07:54) completed the team which finished in third.
The U17 men fielded a strong team, with Will Crowfoot (23rd, 18:26) leading the team home over the 4.8km distance.
Second for Stratford was Josh Dobedoe (29th, 19:06) who was up ten places from his previous race.
Ned Campbell (38th, 19:49) managed to just get the better of team-mate Cameron Thomas (39th, 20:00).
Joel Watson (41st, 20:11), Thomas Mayes (45th, 20:44), Fin Hutchinson (48th, 21:26) and Harry Gravelsons (55th, 22:06) completed the team.
Team performance of the day went to the U11 girls, with two finishers in the first three.
Tessa Parkin (1st, 06:34) had another fast start and was in second place by the halfway mark.
Keeping close on the heels of the leader, she accelerated sharply up the final hill to secure her first ever league win. Annie Silvers (3rd, 06:47) also secured her highest ever finish.
Marijke Tear-Verweij (23rd, 07:34), Lois Ford (28th, 07:43) and Amelia Peeke (56th, 08:21) completed a strong team performance to cement second place in the league.
A special mention also went to Harriet Black (61st, 08:28), who was running well in around 30th place before she lost her shoe in the mud – most of the field went past as she got it back on, but she battled back through with great determination.
Alex Adams (1st, 11:12) led from the start of the U15 boys’ race and again looked comfortable throughout, putting in a burst of acceleration to the finish to settle the matter in style.
Adam Taylor (25th, 12:53) had a good day, getting ahead of team-mates Theo Skirvin (31st, 13:07) and Taylor Stubbins (32nd, 13:08) who battled it out throughout the race.
Caleb Spriggs (38th, 13:28) showed a good turn of pace to the finish to claim another point and Joe Warner (51st, 14:09) and Ed Holcroft (53rd, 14:13) both ran well to improve their positions on the previous fixture.
The U13 girls enjoyed another fine team performance as they finished second overall. Maddie Linfoot (6th, 10:43) looked particularly determined as she achieved her highest ever finish in the league.
Tiamh Hillard (11th, 11:00) continued her excellent season and Abbi Cooper (22nd, 11:17) and Maisie-Joy Spriggs (28th, 11:35) both pushed hard in the second lap to consolidate their positions.
Caitlin Boyle (37th, 11:49), Emma Francioni (50th, 12:14), the strongly improving Tilly Campbell (51st 12:17), Lucy Thomas (53rd, 12:22), Martha Peters (55th, 12:27) and Ella Peeke (75th, 13:16) completed the team.
William Mayes (29th, 10:43) again looked assured in the U13 boys’ race and was closely followed by James Day (31st, 10:46), who ran well to move up five places from the previous fixture.
Flynn Dathan (52nd 11:26), Barnaby Richards (57th, 11:34) and Oliver Hemming (62nd, 11:49) made up the scoring positions.
The team also included Ben Herbert (69th, 11:55) and Seb Hillard (70th, 11:57) who was running his first race of the season due to injury.
The U15 girls had to endure going last and this was made worse by the weather closing in with a heavy rainshower.
Charlotte Marshall (5th, 13:21) had another barnstorming performance, moving up from ninth at the end of the first lap to claim fifth position.
Season debutant Poppy Fox-Rowe (32nd, 14:36) ran well, as did Holly Newton (51st, 15:22). Molly Bullock (61st, 16:19) managed to compete, despite also juggling a swimming fixture, and Georgia Pridham (75th, 19:12) dug deep to earn valuable points for the team.
The next league fixture takes place at Nuneaton on Sunday, 12th January.