Juniors race into the record books

14 March 2014

ATHLETICS: Australia has a new national record from the Australian Junior Athletics Championships, with Gabriella O’Grady (NSW), Jessica Thornton (NSW), Sam Geddes (NSW) and Audrey Kyriacou (NSW) combining to eclipse the girl’s under 18 4x100m relay record set way back in 1979.
Stopping the clock at 45.48, the quartet were but one of many highlights on day three at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre as eight athletes guaranteed their selection to the Australian Spark team bound for the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Two of the most hotly contested events on the program at these Australian Junior Athletics Championships, the boy’s and girl’s under 20 400m finals didn’t disappoint.
Boasting three IAAF World Junior Championships qualified athletes at the sound of the gun, it was Josh Robinson (Qld) who reigned supreme in the boy’s event, stopping the clock at 46.64 to win from James Kermond (NSW, second, 46.73) and Sam Reiser (Vic, third, 47.17). Robinson’s performance is the third fastest of any Australian athlete this year, and the times of all three medallists were well below the required qualification standard for Eugene 2014.

The race highlights the prospect for a strong boy’s 4x400m relay team at the IAAF World Junior Championships, with Athletics Australia Selectors to decide their fate in the coming week.
In the girl’s event, former Athletics Australia Under 17 Development Squad member Molly Blakey (NSW) crossed out in front in a time of 53.88, with Emily Lawson (Vic) winning silver behind her in an IAAF World Junior Championships qualifier of 54.25.
Blakey, who was a semi-finalist at the IAAF World Youth Championships earlier this year, ran a season best in the process, and entered the final after a dominant display in the heat on day one. Lawson’s run sees a continued rapid improvement from the 19-year-old, with her personal best improving from 55.87 in the heat at the Victorian Junior Athletics Championships the time today.
The boy’s and girl’s under 20 sprint hurdles finals were also a battle between multiple athletes who have met the required standard for selection to the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Split by the smallest of margins for much of the race, it was Ivor Metcalf (NSW) who edged ahead of Matt de Bruin (Vic, second, 13.76) to win the boy’s race in 13.74 (w: -1.4).
Ensuring his automatic selection, Metcalf’s time is a new personal best and it improves on his time from the New South Wales Junior Championships last month, while De Bruin, who is an Athletics Australia Under 19 Talent Squad member, also improved on his quickest ever performance to stake a claim for the second discretionary selection to the Australian Spark.
Daniela Roman (Vic) was victorious in the girl’s 100m hurdles, the 19-year-old charging past Katrina Hunt (NSW, second, 13.72) and Elizabeth Clay (NSW, third, 13.81) to record her first IAAF World Junior Championships qualifier when it most counted to confirm her automatic selection to Eugene 2014.
Nathan Brill (Vic) and Zak Patterson (Vic) round out the automatic selections from the track.
Patterson’s 3:56.85 to win the boy’s under 20 1500m ensures his Australian Spark spot, with the also qualified Jack Stapleton (NSW) crossing for silver (3:57.30) and Iona College scholarship holder Chartt Miller (WA) winning bronze (3:57.97).
His younger brother Ryan Patterson (Vic) was also successful on Day 3, winning the boy’s under 18 800m in 1:51.30 from Lachlan Barber (Vic, second, 1:51.63).
Brill broke away from Jesse Osborne (Vic, second, 43:38.83) with just over four laps to go to win the national under 20 crown in 43:12.63. Brill, who is a Development Athlete on the National Athlete Support Structure, competed at the IAAF World Youth Championships earlier this year and he is also in contention for selection to the IAAF World Race Walking Cup this May.
In the girl’s under 20 pole vault, Kennedy and her training partner Emma Phillippe (WA, second, 4.05m) were the last to enter the competition and both made light work of their opening height of 3.85m. First round clearances of 3.95m and 4.05m followed, before soaring over 4.15m to cement her spot atop the dais and her spot on the Australian Spark team headed to the IAAF World Junior Championships.
A finalist at the IAAF World Youth Championships earlier this year, the 17-year-old then decided to raise the bar to what would have been a new personal best of 4.32m. She was unable to perfect her leap and missed on three occasions. Maddie Lawson (Vic) rounded out the medallists with a best mark of 3.95m.
Baden’s automatic selection in the high jump ensures that he will have his chance to compete on the world stage as a junior after being forced to miss this year’s IAAF World Youth Championships with a broken arm.
Clearing 2.00m on his second attempt to launch his campaign, Baden went on to sail over 2.04m, 2.08m and 2.11m, before passing at 2.14m, a clearance at his personal best height of 2.16m and three missed attempted at his final height of 2.22m. Ivor Metcalf (NSW) and Drey Faaeteete (NSW) joined Baden on the podium, winning silver (2.08m) and bronze (2.04m) respectively.
Baden, who is coached by Sandro Bisetto, was the under 18 champion last year, and in 2014 he won the Victorian under 20 title last month and a silver medal at the Victorian Athletics Championships two weeks ago.
In other results:
-        IAAF World Youth Champion Mackenzie Little (NSW), who has opted out of selection to the Australian Spark team to focus on her Year 12 studies, won the girl’s under 20 javelin with a throw of 52.18m in the second round.
-        Staking a claim for yet another event at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Matthew Denny (Qld) won the boy’s under 20 shot put with a best throw of 18.63m. Denny, however, is focusing on defending his two medals in the hammer throw and discus throw.
-        Rachel Pace (NSW) took line honours in the girl’s under 18 100m hurdles in 13.65 (w: -0.5) from Gabriella O’Grady (NSW, second, 13.85) and Keeleigh McCauley (NSW, third, 14.46).
-        Hurling an impressive 71.18m, Ned Weatherly (Vic), who is the Australian All-Schools champion, was a resounding winner in the boy’s under 18 hammer throw.
-        Madeline Attlee (Qld) was impressive in the girl’s under 15 400m, winning the gold medal in a time of 55.41.

Athletics Australia