Midlands Track and Field League Division 3.
Report: David Jones
A strong all-round team performance in the third fixture of this season’s Midlands Track and Field League Division 3 helped the club move up to third place in the overall standings.
Thirty competitors, together with team manager Paul Hawkins and a team of four officials made the 130-mile round trip to Telford on Saturday 7 July.
A combination of injuries and competing events meant Paul had to dig deep in to the club’s talent pool to field a team capable of maintaining the club’s solid start to the season.
Our athletes rose to the occasion, finishing in third place on the day with 341 points, just 19 points behind home club Telford’s second-place finish.
After the fixture Team Manager Paul Hawkins commented ;
“I was immensely proud of all the athletes who gave everything for their team. Dan Boyd epitomised the team spirit; he’s a sprinter/long jumper but was injured in our last match, as we were short of throwers he offered to do all four throws, trained for them, and performed exceptionally.
“There were many PBs – too many for me to single out – but I was particularly pleased for Emily Field and Daisy Musk,” he added. “An incredible relay from the girls to finish off the day and they weren’t pushed, apart from the first 200m of leg one. They can still go quicker.
“Jasmine Cole did her first ever 100m hurdles, ran superbly until the last hurdle, got it wrong and had to stop. She was calm and sensible enough to step back, jump (not hurdle) the last barrier and still finish second.
“Eleanor Johnston ran her first 200m for three years following serious knee injury and operations. She also competed in the 100m (14.2,) the shot (7.13m) and discus (11.21m). I was very pleased for her. David Jones came to do a press report and ended up doing an 800/1500m double, fantastic! And Millie Leighton was making her senior league debut and she won the triple jump.”
This performance enabled the team to leapfrog Worcester AC in the overall league standings, where they are now third overall.
Having had two successive promotions, the club have been able to compete strongly in this division, which is no mean feat when you consider that the team promoted with them last season are in danger of relegation.
The highlight of the day from a Stratford perspective was arguably the women’s 4x400m. The team of Jess and Imogen Sheppard, Daisy Musk and Emily Field destroyed the opposition with a 23-second victory in a time of 4:04.2, edging ever closer towards a sub-four-minute time.
They beat the club record, which had been equalled at the last T&F fixture, by more than six seconds. Their time ranks them seventh in the 2019 UK U20 rankings, which iare currently headed by the national team.
It was a busy day for the Sheppard family, with Jess and Imogen being part of both the winning 4x100m and 4x400m teams. Jess was also second in the 100m, recording the same time as the winner, and first in the 400m (58.7), a season’s best and just 0.17 off her PB. Sister Imogen won the 200m in 26.1, a mere 0.1 off her PB. She also cleared 1.30m in the high jump and recorded a one-metre PB in the hammer with a throw of 14.41m.
As if that wasn’t enough, their father Mike Sheppard got in on the act by competing in the 400m.
As well as the women’s 4x400m record, there were also M40 club records for Rob Minton in the 2000m steeplechase (7:48.2) and Matt Burdus-Cook in the 5000m (17:33.8) a 13-second PB. This was less than 72 hours after he broke the M40 club record for the 1500m.
There were several individual victories from Stratford AC athletes.
After a lengthy period of injury, Fergus Alison enjoyed a textbook win in the 800m (2:00.8), his first victory of the year. Daisy Musk recorded a victory in the 400m B race in a PB of 63.2, Emily Field was first in the 800m B race with a three-second PB of 2:19.8, and Anna Gionis won the 400m hurdles A race in 74.6.
Charlotte Gravelsons, in her first 400m hurdles race, won the B race in 77.0. Kaili Woodward’s leap of 4.92m in the long jump secured first place, as did Millie Leighton’s 10.54m in the triple jump and Anna Gionis’s PB of 8.75m in the B competition.
It was a long and busy day for Dan Boyd. Injury prevented him taking part in his favoured running and long jump events, so he opted to compete in all of the throwing events instead. His day started at 10.30am with his first ever hammer competition (15.87m) and finished seven hours later with his first discus competition since 2015 (22.89m). In between he competed in the shot put (6.84m) for the first time since 2012 and the javelin (35.66m).
Cavan Farrow and Dan Hague also had a busy day. Farrow completed his first competitive 200m in 26.0, he was third in the 400m hurdles (64.4), third in the 110m hurdles (19.6), he won the high jump B competition with a jump of 1.60m and was second in the triple jump with 11.53m before competing in both relays.
Dan Hague threw a PB of 40.71m in the javelin, as well as competing in the B long jump (5.52m) and 4x100m relay. James Gionis competed in both relays and set season’s bests in the high jump (1.60m) and triple jump (10.38m).
The club’s youngest and oldest team members competed in the A and B 1500m races respectively, a mere 53 years separating them. The younger Fin Hutchinson (5:42.8) showed the older David Jones (6:04.4) a clean pair of heels.
Mathew Milward-Brookes was fifth in 100m (11.8), third in the 400m (54.2) and fourth in the long jump (6.04m), Cole Williams recorded a PB of 23.6 in the 200m.
Tim Hutchinson, running his first 5000m for two years, recorded a time of 18:47.9, while Brian Gravelsons threw 5.67m in the shot put and 13.82m in his first hammer competition.
Making a welcome return to track and field after a six-year gap, Yvonne Gajny competed in three events. Her 3000m (12:47.7) was only 12 seconds slower than her last race at this distance in 2013, in the shot she threw 6.29m and in the javelin she threw a PB of 13.17m.
In the women’s middle-distance races Georgie Campbell ran 4:46.04 in the 1500m A race, with Abbie Wootton recording a time of 5:40.2 in the B race. Cadie Hibberd ran 11:22.9 in the 3000m.
Maddie Clark jumped 4.36m in the long jump, while mum Rachel Clark threw a PB in the discus (18.33m) and 16.46m in her first hammer competition.