Olympic Hopefuls Lead the Way at State Titles
Although many of our stars decided to miss their respective State Championships, there were still some outstanding results in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The biggest performances came from:
Morgan Mitchell (400m) – another PB, this time a 51.81s to win the Victorian title, with the result moving her to no. 20 on the Australian all-time ranking list. In the same race Monica Brennan also produced a PB of 53.14, while Tamsyn Lewis-Manou ran an excellent 53.59s for the bronze. (ed. it seems as though Lewis-Manou will run at the Nationals but will not put her hand up for a spot on the women’s 4x400m team for Rio. This makes it an interesting selection process, with Mitchell, Brennan, Anneliese Rubie and junior Jess Thornton all expected to make the final squad, with the next 1 or 2 spots expected to be a battle between the likes of Caitlin Jones and 400m hurdlers Lauren Wells, Jess Gulli-Nance and Lyndsey Pekin).
- Brooke Stratton (Long Jump) – it’s hard to imagine that a 6.66m is not met with more excitement, but for Stratton anything under 6.70m these days is met with nothing more than a ‘good day at the office’. It’s just that she has raised the bar in 2016 (after her 6.94m), but the one thing that was impressive in Melbourne was the consistency in conditions that included swirly winds – a series of 6.62m(w), 6.51m, 6.61m, x, 6.66m, x. It was the 11th time in her career that she had jumped at least 6.60m, and the excitement continues to build to what should be a truly memorable Rio Olympics.
- Damien Birkinhead (Shot Put) – a very similar story to Stratton, with the young Victorian winning the Victorian Championships with another Olympic qualifier of 20.68m. He has now thrown 20.80m, 21.21m and now 20.68m in 2016 – making him a force to be reckoned with on the international stage. Next up – a head to head clash with the big New Zealander Tom Walsh (20.91m in 2016 and PB of 21.62m) at the Melbourne World Challenge on March 5.
- Brandon Starc (High Jump) – life changed for Starc in 2015 (which included a 2.31m PB in qualifying at the World Championships), and expectations have moved. After a slow build up to 2016, Starc stepped it up with a NSW State title and a SB of 2.27m. He also had three unsuccessful attempts at a new PB of 2.32m. Watch this space – Starc isn’t content with making up the numbers in Rio.
- Dani Samuels (Discus Throw) – after a superb 66.41m win on Thursday at the Auckland Track Classic (her 5th best performance of her career), Samuels was again in good form at her State titles with a best of 64.57m. It didn’t get her the win, with tables being turned from Auckland with Jade Lally (GBR) winning with a 65.10m throw, but it is definatley showing us that Samuels is again in great form in what will be a very important year for the 27 year-old – up against the might of the Cuban stars, Yaimí Pérez and Denia Caballero, plus Croatian star Sandra Perkovic. [note. Perez leads the 2016 world list with a throw of 68.86m]
Additional Olympic News:
- Zoe Buckman returned to the track for the first time in 2016, winning the Victorian state title with a 4.17.53 in the women’s 1500m.
- Eleanor Patterson secured the Victorian high jump title with a best jump of 1.86m, however is not on the starting list for next weekends Melbourne World Challenge.
- Joel Baden cleared 2.21m to win the men’s Victorian high jump title in Melbourne, just shy of his best in 2016 of 2.24m.
- Alwyn Jones is doing everything possible to produce an Olympic qualifier in the men’s triple jump, recording an excellent 16.53 (1.5) at the Victorian Championships – only 32cm’s short of the Olympic qualifier of 16.85m.
- Aaron Stubbs won the men’s 100m at the Queensland state titles with a wind assisted 10.34 (2.3). He had earlier run 10.38s in his heat with a +1.8 tailwind. He will face up to the likes of Alex Hartmann and Tom Gamble at the Melbourne World Challenge – although the no.1 Australian sprinter Josh Clarke is a notable absentee for the meeting in Melbourne. Hartmann produced a 20.90s (-1.0) 200m win at the Queensland state titles, in a good warm up for the 100m/200m double in Melbourne.
Other Important Senior Results
Victorian State Titles
Luke Stevens (400m) – his excellent form has continued with another PB – this time a 46.06s time over the one lap. With Alex Beck and Craig Burns both struggling to find their 2015 form we can only hope to see Steve Solomon return to the track sooner rather than later.
- Chris Mitrevski (long jump) – in a year where we have so many talented long jumpers, Mitrevski has joined in with a quality 7.70m (0.4) win in Melbourne. With good speed over the 100m/200m, the young Victorian will be looking for a good showing at the Melbourne World Challenge against the likes of 8.00m jumpers in Robbie Crowther and Darcy Roper.
NSW State Titles
- Michelle Jenneke (100m hurdles) – looks to be in good form heading to the Melbourne World Challenge – winning in Sydney with a time of 13.27s (-0.8). Abbie Taddeo was second in 13.46s – with both athletes up against Western Australian Brianna Beahan (13.17s PB in 2016) in Melbourne. Taddeo went on to take out a three way go in the 100m, winning in 11.83s from Christie Wearne (11.86) and Jenneke (11.86s).
- Katelyn Simpson (1500m) – a return to the track fir the first time in 2016 saw Simpson record an encouraging 4.17.36 to defeat up and coming 1500m athlete, Holly Campbell (4.20.14).
- Lora Storey (400mH) – continues to record impressive PB’s – this time a 57.44s win in the women’s 400m hurdles in Sydney. Fast becoming the new no.2 Australian female over the 400m hurdles – behind the Olympic qualified Lauren Wells.
- Nick Hough (110m Hurdles) – everything hasn’t quite gone to plan for 2015 World Championship representative, and his 13.93s (0.5) is still a long way from the Olympic qualifying time of 13.47s. He has a SB of 13.84s and the best part of the equation – it’s still only February!
- Hayden Kovacic (100m) – took some big scalps with a 10.46s (0.6) win in the men’s 100m – easily beating home athletes such as Jarred Geddes (10.64), Isaac Ntiamoah (10.58) Jin Su Jung (10.62) and Tim Leathart (10.60) – all quality sprinters in their own right.
- James Nipperess (3000m St) – first hit out over the steeples saw him record an easy 8.49.93. Next step in his quest for an Olympic qualifier will be a longer trip over the 5000m at the Melbourne World Challenge.
- Rhys Stein (Javelin) – can’t take anything away from this young javelin star – with an equal PB of 77.34m in Sydney, and in the process beat home another quality thrower in Matthew Outzen (73.04m).
QLD State Titles
- Cedric Dubler (110mH and Long Jump) – we really think that Dubler is in line for an Olympic qualifier in the decathlon (needs 8100 points), and if the weekend has anything to do with it he’s certainly on the right path. An excellent double of 7.71m (1.9) in the long jump (just shy of his PB of 7.74m set at the 2014 World Juniors) and 14.37s in the 110m hurdles is clear evidence that he’s in great shape.
- Tarryn Gollshewsky (Discus) – another solid 58.17m, which is just short of her PB of 58.66m set back in January. Does require a 61.00m throw for Rio qualification – but as we know all it takes is for ‘one big one’.
Victorian Mile Championships
- Luke Mathews – recorded a sensational new track record of 3.56.1 to get the win. This is the first time Mathews has gone sub 4. Mathews is looking in top form as he searches for the qualifier leading into the next few races of the Australian Athletics tour.
- Genevieve LaCaze continued her blistering form in taking out the women’s race with an impressive new race record of 4.32.6.
- Tamsyn Lewis-Manou – won the 800m in a classy time of 2.03.5, whilst Tom Fawthorpe went sub 1:50 to record the win on the men’s side with 1:49.8.
Other Important Junior Results
Victorian State Titles
Lauren Ryan (1500m) – already qualified in the 3000m for the World U/20 Championships, Ryan has now secured a 1500m qualifier of 4.20.99 – bettering her previous PB of 4.22.54.
- Sarah Billings (800m) – the 18 year-old had previously recorded a 2.07.52 (back in January) but at the Victorian Knockout competition (not part of the State titles) she recorded a 2.05.77 to easily better the World U/20 qualifying mark.
- Ryan Patterson (800m) – he already owns a 1500m qualifying mark, and came within a whisker of also owning a 800m qualifying time with a quality 1.49.94 to take home silver in the Open final.
NSW State Titles
- Oliver Hoare (1500m) – it’s hard to believe but we now have 7 athletes with World U/20 qualifiers in the 1500m. Hoare made it 7 with a 3.46.69 win in Sydney (after previously placing 2nd at the U/20 3000m at the Zatopek meeting in December last year). Jye Edwards came home for the bronze medal in Sydney with a 3.47.53 (also a WJQ), and will join Hoare in Perth in what shapes as an outstanding 1500m final at the Australian Junior Championships. The leading time is currently held by Isaac Hockey at 3.46.20.
QLD State Titles
- Trae Williams (100m) – still stands as the one to beat at the Australian Junior Championships, and showed again why with a 10.38 (2.3) performance for the silver medal behind Stubbs (10.34s) at the QLD state titles. His best of 10.32s has him ahead of Jack Hale (10.38s) and Nicholas Andrews (10.39s) – while his SB of 10.36s still has him as the one to beat in Perth.
You failed to mention Alex Hulley in Women’s hammer and Beth Croft in Women’s Steeple at NSW Championships – both achieved additional WJ Qualifiers.