15 March 2011
NSW close national juniors in glory
The fifth and final day of the 49th Australian Junior Championships was concluded on Monday in cooler and gusty weather conditions.
There was again many close battles and quality performances at the meet. There were non-better than Nicholas Hough who won his fourth gold at the meet, by claiming the U20 200m title into a headwind in a time of 21.60, after clocking 21.46 in the heat. NSW had four others in the final, which augers well for the future sprint stocks.
NSW’s Youth Olympic silver medallist, Brandon Starc had an unexpected battle on his hands in the U20 high jump. Starc, who leapt 2.19m last season, came in at 1.95m and had a clean sheet until 2.11m. As the bar was raised to 2.14m he still had company, with WA’s Jonathon Coetsee and Queensland’s Nik Bojic clearing 2.11m on their third attempts. Starc cleared 2.14m on his third attempt, while the others missed, giving Starc the win with the highest winning height for three years.
In the U17 pole vault, Bankstown’s Jack Hicking dominated the event, winning with ease. Hicking, opened his competition at 3.80m, with only four of the 14 athletes remaining in the competition. He next cleared 4.05m, along with SA’s Kimon Toumazos. The bar was raised to 4.15m, a height which Hicking required three attempts to clear to claim victory as Toumazos missed his attempts. Hicking continued in the challenging conditions, moving the bar to 4.30m, and on his third attempt again being successful, before bowing out of the competition at 4.40m.
One of the closest races of the meet was in the U16 800m, where the first seven finished within one second. Entering the home straight, three NSW athletes led a tight pack of seven athletes. Victorian Matthew Cindric fought through wind the best, to take the win in 2:01.59. Randwick Botany’s Conor O’Sullivan won his second medal of the meet, claiming the silver (2:01.76), with NSW’s Anton Brokman third (2:01.97), just 0.02 seconds ahead of fourth. NSW’s Daniel Keene was seventh in 2:02.47, just 0.88 behind the gold medalist.
“I thought I was going to win it until about five metres from the line,” said O’Sullivan who earlier won bronze in the 1500m.
“I could see them coming up out of the corner of my eye.
“I was hoping for a medal, but I didn’t know everyone in the race.
“It was a 1.5 second pb, a good time to do it.”
In contrast, NSW’s Jack Collett win in the U15 800m was one of the easiest wins of the meet.
“I led at bell, by a far distance, that is why I was looked around,” said Collett who is coached by former 800m runner John Glasson on the Central Coast.
“I was worried that they might come through. I started to kick from about 300m,” he said, going on to win in a time of 2:01.62, over one second ahead of the silver medallist.
“I was very happy with that run, a pb as well. It is the first time I’ve won by that far.”
The women’s U18 1500m was expected to be a tremendous battle and it was. The two World Youth qualifiers ran side-by-side for most of the race, with Parramatta’s Anna Laman edging Queenslander Katelyn Simpson, 4:22.94 to 4:23.31, excellent in the gusty conditions. In third and winning her second national medal in the last few months, was Hannah Wrigley who lowered her recent personal best to 4:29.03, to cap a tremendous season where she has slashed her bests over 800m and 1500m.
After wins in the steeple and 3000m, Kate Spencer was going for a distance treble in the U17 1500m. In very windy conditions, Spencer smashed her personal best clocking 4:30.59, to finish a close second to Victorian Rochelle Kennedy.
In the U14 women’s 1500m, Chloe Walters, who had won the state title by 10 seconds, held a good lead for most of the race ran, only to be just beaten on the line by Queenslander Laura Powell, 4:42.12 to 4:42.26. NSW’s Samantha King was third in 4:48.13.
The two U18 400m hurdles races were exciting events, with NSW athletes standing up to be counted. The women’s race was very intriguing with five athletes from five states seeking World Youth selection. NSW’s Sarah Carli had been the early season performer and went into the heats she had four qualifier, then ran the fastest time in the heats. Far South Coast’s Chloe Jamieson, now on scholarship at the AIS, was a class athlete, who had run under 60 seconds two years ago. However the weather conditions certainly didn’t suit Carli, the slightest athlete in the field. Carli started well in the final with her and Jamieson leading down the back straight, but Queensland’s Tatum Shaw moved to the front around the top bend. As they hit the home straight and a very strong wind, the leading three were very close. At the tenth hurdle Jamieson and Shaw were together with Carli a stride behind, but a tiring Shaw clipped the hurdle with her lead leg, giving Carli an opportunity, which she seized working very hard over the last 30 metres to the fine.
“I just managed to hang on,” said Carli who had to wait for a while for the photo finish to be read.
Jamieson clocked 60.37, Carli 60.86 and Shaw 61.11 and considering the wind conditions, it was Carli’s finest performance of the year.
The men’s U18 400m hurdles was also a great success for NSW. In last year’s race Jack Bangel won in 54.84, with Christian Lozada third in 55.72. But this summer Bangel and Lozada have both been in tremendous late season form with a series of personal bests. Bangel ran the fastest heat time of 53.93.
“I had a great first 200m, it was very strong,” said Lozada.
“Then at the top end of the straight, Jack overtook me but I tried to stick with him.”
Jack ran on comfortably to the line to take the title in a new personal best time of 52.13.
“I wasn’t too happy with the last 200m, then I looked at the time, it wasn’t what I expected,” said Bangel who also ran under the 400m hurdles qualifying time for the World Youth.
“In the conditions I wasn’t expecting anything special.”
Queensland George Freeman, who was third at the last hurdle, sneaked past Lozada for the silver medals, as they clocked times of 52.58 and 52.76 respectively.
“It was a one second pb, so I couldn’t be happier,” said Lozada.
World Youth championship, high jump silver medallist, Amy Pejkovic, was pushed in the U20 high jump.
“It was better than jumping by myself,” said Pejkovic who cleared 1.84 on her first attempt, to defeat Victorian Eleanor Patterson (.82m)
“Pretty happy with that considering I have had a big program including the long jump and triple jump.”
NSW athletes were involved with two close triple jump battles. In the U17 event, Josie Nichols, won by just 2cm. Her main competition, Queenslander Kate Savage, started well leaping 12.17m, but Nichols not ideally.
“My first jump was really good, but I fouled,” said Nichols.
“Then my second was pretty good,” as she bounded out to her winning leap of 12.19m.
In the U18 triple jump, NSW’s Natalie Apikotoa, leapt the longest jump this season by a NSW athlete in all conditions. In the first three rounds, Apikotoa and Queenslander Demi Maher Smith had recorded best leaps of 12.13m and 12.36m respectively and were trailing early leader, Tasmanian high jumper Kaitlin Morgan’s distance of 12.57m. But in round four, Maher Smith, bounded out to 12.64m to take the lead, then in the next round, Apikotoa recorded 12.61m to move into second position, which she remained until the end of the event to win silver.
There was a very dramatic U16 men’s long jump where the early leader eventually missed a medal. NSW state silver medallist, Brendan Madeira, started well with a leap of 6.38m, backed up by another leap of 6.23m in round three. After three rounds, he led from Queensland’s Jamal Emadian-Naini with 6.26m and Westfields’ Kyle Alexis on 6.13m. But in the fourth and final round, the picture of the event completely changed. Queenslander Tongchai Quatermaine, sitting in seventh place, suddenly took the lead with a leap of 6.40m. Then Rhys Stein nearly moved close to a medal position with a leap of 6.24m, just 2cm behind third. NSW champion, Kylie Alexis, was up next and he seized the lead with a jump of 6.45m. Now sitting in fourth Emadian-Naini, moved back into the medals with a jump of 6.43m, pushing early leader, Madeira back to fourth.
Thrower, Taylah Sengul, who was enjoying a tremendous carnival, was locked in yet another battler in the U20 shot. Commonwealth games bronze medallist, the Melbourne-based Samoan, Margaret Satupai, was unstoppable as she putted 15.57m, including five putts over 15 metres. But behind her there was a battle going on for the Australian title. Sluggish early, after a long championship, Sengul was in fourth after the third round with a modest 12.88m. But in round four she got moving with a pre-championships best of 13.42m. But on the event’s third last throw, Queenslander, Che Keanneally, who came into the competition with a best of 12.92m, but had earlier won the U17 title with a best of 13.29m, suddenly moved into the Australian title position with a putt of 13.55m. With one attempt remaining, Sengul mustered a tremendous response of 13.60m, securing the Australian Championships.
NSW athletes won two more shot titles courtesy of Tia Denicaucau and Jake Stein in the U16 and U18 respectively.
For Tai and Stein, it was their third medals of the championships.
Sam Geddes won a very close U15 100m, to claim the sprint double and her fifth medal at the championships. Geddes just out dipped Katarina Moesbergen (V) 12.61 to 12.62.
“I honestly did not know (if I had won), I could see her out of the corner of my eye, I was hoping for the best,” said Geddes who claimed two gold and three bronze at the meet surpassing her two gold medal winning effort at the Australia All Schools Championships.
“I was hoping to do as well as I did in Melbourne.”
Also in the sprints was a most welcome performance from Natalie Ferris. A quality sprinter/hurdler, she had been struggling with injuries in late 2010, but was back to her best form with a pair of bronze medals in the 100m hurdles and 200m. Her 200m performances on day five were particularly outstanding. Ferris, from Newcastle and coached by Trevor Height, ran a quick heat time of 24.87, then placed third in the final in a time of 25.47, clocked into a very strong headwind.
NSW won a medal in all six races on day five:
Men U16 4x200m - 2nd
Women U16 4x200m – 2nd
Men U18 4x400m – 2nd
Women U18 4x400m – 3rd
Men U20 4x400 – 1st
Women U20 4x400m – 2nd
Other NSW medalists on day three were:
Mercy Agbeze U15 triple jump (11.38m), Nina Osada-Phorniri U14 high jump (1.58), Monica Dimon U15 shot (10.64m), Luisa Healey U14 200m (26.95)
Georgia Wassall U16 800m (2:13.37), Ben Gordon U17 400m Hurdles (55.20), Maomi Polyzoidis U17 400m Hurdles (65.25), Paletina Lemi U16 shot (11.71m), Elliott Lang U20 javelin (63.66m)
Alison Ruse U16 triple jump (12.03m), Taylor-Jane Villis U17 Hammer Throw (42.79m), Maddison Sparkes U14 high jump (1.54m), Emma Scott U15 800m (2:19.39), William Richardson U17 400m hurdles (56.20), Madeleine Neville U15 shot 10.15m, Matthew Rees U15 javelin (41.71m), Brooke Jenkins U14 200m (27.39), Andrew Baker U20 javelin (57.40m)
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image Jack Hicking (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)