From Hook Norton to Iowa

Back row L to R : Pete Sugden, Anna Gionnis, Daisy Musk, Georgie Campbell, Jess and Imy Sheppard, Harry Allwood, Dan Boyd.
Front row : Josh Newman and James Gionnis

As the league Track and Field season draws to a close, we have a report on our senior team’s final league fixture of the year together with a report on Wednesday night’s penultimate Warwickshire AA Open Graded meeting in Leamington.

There are also reports on the ever popular Hooky 6, Charlotte Gravelsons in the England Athletics U17 Heptathlon competition in Manchester and Louise Stewart and John Butler competing in the Broadmeadow Runs Event.

There is also a report on the latest Midlands Aquathlon Series fixture from Ali Skirvin.

Finally we have a note from one of our international athletes, Jack Sumners, as he prepares for his new life in Iowa.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Best Wishes

David Jones.

From the top : Group photo – Anna Gionnis, Amy Sheppard, Daisy Musk, Georgie Campbell and Jess Sheppard.
Ollie Creswell, Anna Gionnis and George Fox-Rowe
Photos courtesy of Mike Sheppard.
Midland League Division 3 T&F.

Report – Paul Hawkins.

The final league match of the season was held at Wyndley Leisure Centre at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday 8th August, with the Stratford AC team sitting in third place behind strong teams from City of Stoke and Telford AC.

Stratford had a strong team of 30 athletes despite absences due to holidays and injuries and they were supported by a team of 9 officials.

Team Manager Paul Hawkins was pleased to welcome seven athletes making their senior league debut, four from the club’s juniors and three who had come in from the club’s Vets League team who competed the previous week.

Although every athlete helped with the teams success there were some standout performances. Ollie Cresswell raced over the senior hurdles for the first time and looked very impressive as he stormed to a win in a fast time of 15.1 seconds. Almost as impressive was that Ollie went straight to the 400m where he came second in the B race in 53.1.

Both female high jumpers were in the team for the first time and both won their event with Faye Gourlay winning the A event on countback while Evie Lowe won the B event. George Fox-Rowe was also making his senior debut running very strongly in the 400m hurdles and then jumped 11.83m in the triple jump, an enormous personal best of 1.6m.

Dan Boyd was another jumper who was delighted with a big PB of 6.58m to win the long jump. Dan also had good runs in both the 100m and 200m.

Kaili Woodward has had an injury hit season but has still been a regular in the team and jumped well in her main event, the long jump, to finish second and then did her first ever triple jump to also finish a fine second with a jump of 10.69m.

The pick of the middle distance runners was Emily Field who started the season with a PB of 2 minutes 32.8 for 800m. After bringing this down over various races she improved it by over 2 seconds to 2.15.6 to come second, only beaten by Stoke’s Katie Holt running a Division Record. To cap her excellent day, Emily then ran a 400m PB of 60.2 to win the B race.

Jess Sheppard won her 400m and backed this up with second in the 200m and winning the B long jump with a PB distance. Not to be outdone, sister Imogen won the B 200m, came third in the 100m and even managed a new PB in the hammer throw.

Liz Crabtree recently joined Stratford AC after taking part in their successful Couch to 5k programme. Liz revealed that a while back she had thrown the Discus so, after throwing in the Vets team last week, she progressed to the senior team, throwing an age group club record and gaining valuable points for the team.

The final result, see below, saw Stratford comfortably maintaining their third place as Telford claimed their first win of the season.

Telford AC 367 match points – 6 league points
City of Stoke AC 342.5 5
Stratford upon Avon AC 329.5 4
Royal Sutton Coldfield AC 303.5 3
Worcester AC 285 2
Halesowen A&CC 244.5 1

This means the final league table is

City of Stoke 23 points
Telford AC 20 points
Stratford AC 15 points
Worcester AC 11 points
Royal Sutton Coldfield AC 8 points
Halesowen A & CC 7 points

Team Manager Paul Hawkins praised the commitment of the team and continued saying “I think that finishing in third place in this division is a superb result following on from two consecutive promotions. But more importantly, with the squad we’ve got along with some more youngsters coming through, we can really challenge at the top next season”.
Josh Dobedoe on his way to a comfortable victory in his 800m race.
Warwickshire County AA Open Graded Meeting.

Report – David Jones.
The penultimate Warwickshire Open Graded Meeting of the season saw 12 club members compete across several disciplines in Leamington on Wednesday night. They were joined by officials John and Andy Turner.

Relocated to the Edmondscote Stadium in Leamington, due to track resurfacing work at its usual Coventry Godiva track, the more sheltered nature of the Leamington Stadium led to a near perfect wind free evening of athletics.

U13 Tom Weaver competed in 3 events on the night. In the 200m his time of 32.24 was just 0.16 of a second off his lifetime best. In the javelin Tom currently has a UK ranking of 14th in his age group and he threw 34.39, finishing first of the 5 club members competing in the event. He rounded off a successful night with a PB throw of 8.45 in the shot.

Club decathlete Nacho Fernandez also had a busy night. He recorded a time of 62.35 in the 200m, just 0.78 off his PB. In the javelin he threw 31.53 and he was 28 cms off his PB in the shot, recording a throw of 9.07.

The club had 3 competitors in heat 2 of the 800m. The first of these to finish, in a PB time of 2.49.6 was Jake Deaner. This was a 3 second improvement on his previous best. Jake was just under 2 seconds ahead of David Jones (2.51.40). Tilly Campbell ran a lifetime best of 3.00.10, almost a 2 second improvement on her previous best time and agonisingly close to a sub 3 minute time. Maybe next time Tilly. She also threw 5.36m in the shot put.

Josh Dobedoe ran a wonderfully mature race in the third heat of the 800ms, finishing in 1st place. With a previous PB of 2.31.53, Josh had the ambitious target of getting close to 2.25, over a 6 seconds improvement. In his superbly paced race, he achieved his goal, recording a time of 2.25.23.

Emily Field professed herself slightly disappointed with her time of 2.19.79 in the 4th 800m. race of the night. Although a few of seconds off her PB of 2.15.6, it is testament to the improvement this talented athlete has shown this year, that this was still over 11 seconds quicker than her first 800m race of the season in April.

The club had 3 competitors in the 3000m. In heat 1, Ellie Deaner finished in a time of 12.17.68. Ellie was a bit disappointed in her time, hoping to get under 12 minutes but on reflection she thought that she had perhaps gone off too quickly at the start of the race. David Jones was unsure as to if he would compete in the 3000m , as it started just 20 minutes after his 800m race. Before the meeting started he was looking for a time of 12.45 but having competed in the 800m he lowered his expectations to a 13 minutes and as such was delighted with his time of 12.48.33. 7 seconds off a season’s best.

Finally in the 3000m and fresh from representing England in Cardiff last month, Georgie Campbell knocked almost 18 seconds off her previous best by recording a time of 10.22.06.

Three of the club’s successful Vet’s T&F team were gearing up for the Vets Cup Final at the end of the month. Elaine Ledden was less than a second off her PB time of 1.16.64 in the 400m. recording at time of 1.17.47. She then went on to compete in her first javelin event, recording a throw of 10.10m

Peter Coote, who currently has a UK ranking of 15th in his age category for the javelin, threw a season’s best of 29.84m and he followed this up with a throw of 7.80m in the shot put, just 2 centimetres off his season’s best.

Christine Coote was suffering from a neck strain, inflicted when she was high jumping earlier in the week. Christine currently has a UK ranking of 24th in her age category for the javelin and on the night she recorded a throw of 10.86m. She then threw 6.19 in the shot put, an event she is currently ranked at no. 22 in the UK in her age group.

The final Warwickshire Open graded meeting of the season will be held on 4th September, again in Leamington.
Above – Clare Weatherhead and below, Pete Sugden.
Photos courtesy of Barry Cornelius.
Hooky 6.

Report – David Jones.

This ever popular local race saw 6 club members compete. The first of these to finish, in 14th place, was Darren Nash with a time of 37.51. Darren was followed by Chris Cond in 19th place and a time of 38.20. Next for the club was Ryan Bakewell, in 33rd place with a time of 39.46.

Pete Sugden had hoped to go quicker than his time of 43.13 but this was still a PB for this distance and he was competing less than 24 hours after representing the club in the Seniors T&F fixture at Sutton.

Luke Watkins is in a fine vein of form and his time of 44.05 was over 5 minutes quicker than last year.

Finally, Clare Weatherhead completed the course in 47.48.

339 competitors completed the race which was won by James Bolton in a time of 32.32. The first female finisher, in 27th place, was Diane Foster in a time of 39.20.
Charlotte Gravelsons.
England Athletics Under 17 Heptathlon Competition

Report – Brian Gravelsons.

Having had a slightly disappointing South West Schools Combined Events competition, Charlotte Gravelsons decided to enter the English U17 Heptathlon event held at Sports City, Manchester, for two main reasons: improve on her personal best in her last U17 heptathlon as well as gaining further experience competing at a high level. Certainly the facilities as well as the competitors were of superb quality. It is not often that you get to warm up in a 200m indoor arena, and even less often you see the winner of the competition put together a score that ranks second on the all-time list.

Charlotte, for various reasons had not trained consistently in the weeks leading up to the event, and only managed to sharpen up on one or two key events the week before. This included the first event – the 80m hurdles. Although the execution was not as intended, the time of 14.70 was a season’s best and some 0.5s quicker than at the Regional school competition. The weather was warm and promised showers that never materialised, perfect conditions for the second event, high jump. Using the clapping of the crowd for the Polish senior athlete taking part in the International Competition in the adjacent bed, Charlotte lifted herself to a personal best of 1.38m. The good start in the first two events did not continue through to the shot put where Charlotte managed a below par 8.16m, but picked herself up for the 200m, the last event of day one, producing a solid run in 28.58s, just outside her (non-wind assisted) personal best and 0.8s quicker than in any previous heptathlon. This rounded off a great first day with 1,989 points, 132 ahead of her Regional score and around 100 ahead of the overall personal best target.

However, the second day proved to be a bit more of a battle. Charlotte had sorted out her long jump run up, and with new found speed was hoping for a significant improvement on her personal best. All looked good in the practice jumps, but then fell apart on the first jump, taking off way behind the board and so measuring a modest 3.97m. Errors on the next two jumps left the first jump counting, slightly undoing the good work of day one. This theme continued with the javelin were a contentious no throw, meant a safe second throw with the third throw only improving to 15.48m, some 5m below Charlotte’s personal best. This meant that the target for an overall personal best simplified to beating 2:41.9s in the 800m. Rising to the challenge, Charlotte paced herself to ensure a strong second lap and achieved a time of 2:40.91s, and thus improved her personal best by 11 points to 3,057, finishing 33rd out of 38 competitors. The overall winner was Abigail Pawlett, Stockport Track & Field, with 5,324 points, which is the second best U17 heptathlon score of all time, 150 points behind Morgan Lake.

Afterwards Charlotte said “It was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed every single event and as always also learned something new in each event. My proudest event was the high jump when I got a PB of 1.38!! I know I can improve on this even more but it’s given me a good confidence boost and I really enjoyed it. All the other events went well, but long jump was slightly disappointing. So was javelin, but I know where I can improve on each of these”. “Overall I’m happy with the weekend especially as I edged a heptathlon PB of 3057”

Louise Stewart and John Butler
Chris Seeney’s Broadmeadow Runs Event

Report – Louise Stewart.

John Butler and Louise Stewart represented the club at Chris Seeney’s Broadmeadow Runs event at Aston Subedge on 3rd August. This is a tough hilly off road course where competitors could choose to do 1,2 or 3 loops of around 8.5 miles. John did one loop (2:47:37) and Louise did 2 (3:34:09, 3rd lady in the double loop group).

Louise found it a tough course but she really enjoyed the challenge. The food station was half way round and she was surprised at how much she needed to eat compared to her previous long runs which have all been down the canal!

Luise would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting a decent workout with some great views.
West Midlands Aquathlon Series.

Report – Theo Skirvin.
On Sunday 21st July, eight eager junior club triathletes competed in the latest race in the West Midlands Aquathlon Series, which took place at Blue Coat School in Birmingham.

The weather, warm and sunny but with a slight breeze, was perfect racing weather. First off were the TriStar Starts who swam 50m and ran 600m.

Ben Harrison cruised through his race on his way to a well-deserved 3rd place finish.

Next up were TriStar 1 with a 100m swim and 1200m run. Josh Harrison’s good swim and fast run meant that he finished in 12th position.

The following age group was TriStar 2 with a 150m swim and 1800m run. Both Kate Pridham and Juliette Marshall raced extremely well, with Kate having both a good swim and run, resulting in an 11th place finish. Juliette also had a good swim and after a steady start to her run she finished strongly on the last run lap so that she earned a well-deserved 16th place.

The TriStar 3 racers were next, with some strong competition. Charlotte Marshall raced extremely well with a fast swim and super run to claim 3rd place with ease. Georgia Pridham also raced exceptionally well, coming 9th after a strong swim and a run that finished, as always, with her smiling.

I also competed in the TriStar 3 age group and was pleased with my race. Unfortunately, for the third time, I came 4th by only six seconds after a good swim and a fast run.

Last up were the Youths, with James Mucklow representing the club. James swam his 400m strongly and his 3000m run was like lightning. He sped through the whole thing, earning a well-deserved 1st place on the top of the podium.
And Finally

Au Revoir Jack

As I write this, Jack Sumners is flying to Chicago on his way to Cedar Falls in Iowa, to study Economics at the University of Northern Iowa

Read below how Jack got to this exciting point in his life.

As he says himself, it’s all thanks to Paul Bearman visiting Thomas Jolyffe for PE lessons 8 years ago.

Jack’s Journey in his own words.

Almost exactly a year ago, I decided to see if there was any possibility of going to university in America with a scholarship. I contacted Sporting Elite USA, who had a stand at English Schools and I started the process. With hindsight I should have started the process much earlier but I sent over details of my achievements and my GCSE results and they built a profile including videos of me competing and sent it off to various university .

It was quite exciting to see responses coming back. I was advised I needed to sit the SAT exams. I booked in at Oxford on 1st December ; that came round really quickly and on a very wet day I sat the test and had to wait 2 weeks for my results. I scored well in the SAT so this put me in a great position.

In the meantime, I had started chatting online and via facetime to coaches in different universities who seemed interested in me and just before Christmas, I had my first offer.

That made Christmas an extremely exciting time. Then in January a coach from Minnesota contacted me via Instagram and started talking to me. Unfortunately they couldn’t offer me a full scholarship but he offered to put me in touch with his friend, head coach at the University of Northern Iowa, to see what they could offer. They came back to me quite quickly with a tentative offer and by mid-February, they made me an official offer and I was over the moon.

So started all the form filling – plenty of paperwork and also a trip to London to get my student visa.

Then came the online form filling for the accommodation, medical and athletics – which has been ongoing almost up to departure but finally I am ready to go.

I have been in regular contact with the head coach and also my new hurdles coach and long jump coach. I have sent them videos and updates of competitions including the European championships, so I have already built up a great rapport with them before I arrive.

So by the time you read this, I will be on my way to Cedar Falls, Iowa studying Economics at the University of Northern Iowa and it’s all thanks to Paul Bearman coming to Thomas Jolyffe for PE lessons 8 years ago.
Jack Sumners.