For the first time ever, Stratford-upon-Avon College entered a cross country team in the West Midland Colleges Cross Country Championships. In their very first attempt at the regional contest, the men put in such a fine performance that they gained a Bronze medal in the team competition.
This year’s Championships took place on Wednesday 11 November at the National Sports Centre in Lilleshall, Shropshire. The students’ aim was simply to enjoy the novelty of racing in the championships and to use the experience as a platform for improving their fitness over the coming months. However, they achieved more than the College could ever have expected.
In addition to being awarded Bronze as a team, there were some remarkable personal success stories. In the men’s event, Stanley Doxey, a 17-year-old Level 3 Sport student from Kenilworth, ran a tremendous race, achieving a fantastic top 10 finish in the West Midlands region. Finishing in 9th position – just one place outside of the top 8 positions required to qualify for the national championships later this year – Stanley is now first reserve for the West Midlands team, a magnificent achievement for his first regional competition.
Stanley was modest about his success. After the race, he commented: “I enjoyed the course. I am a little disappointed with 9th but it was a great day”.
Stanley was followed home by Sam Weaving, a 17-year-old Level 2 Sport student from Warwick, in 18th position; Joe Proctor, 18 from Coventry, also studying Level 2 Sport, in 22nd; Clarence Monk, an 18-year-old Level 3 Public Services student from Evesham, in 28th; and 17-year old Jake Ackrill from Warwick, also studying Level 3 Public Services, bringing the team home in 30th.
Representing the College for the first time in the girls’ race were Stephanie Schneider from Stratford-upon-Avon and Lucy Tucker from Evesham, both 17-year-old Level 3 Sport students. They supported one another greatly around the 4km course and completed it in a time of 33 minutes, finishing a strong 17th and 18th place.
Paul Bradshaw, Sport lecturer, said: “Never have I been so proud of a group of students. Their effort on the 3rd lap was clear on all their faces. They were giving absolutely everything they had and they all showed great levels of maturity and character”. He stressed how hard the College works to develop the students’ abilities and continued: “The students have all had fantastic support from their respective athletics clubs outside of College, and also within College with the setting up this academic year of Wednesday’s Run Club. We have unearthed some hidden talent.”
Paul summed up his delight at his students’ efforts. “Overall, the performance of all the runners was simply outstanding. Everyone tried their best and can be justly proud of their achievements on the day.”
For more information on any of Stratford-upon-Avon College’s courses, please visit www.stratford.ac.uk or call the College on 01789 266245.