Graham Croker

Sydney University has won the men’s 2010 Dunn Shield for the Sydney athletics club championship with strong across-the-board performances at the SOPAC warm-up track.
Sydney University men’s team finished the recent championships with 211 points to edge out Sydney Pacific (208), Illawong (196) and Asics West Track (186.5).
UTS Northern Suburbs won the women’s club championship with 240.5 points, ahead of Cherrybrook (218), Illawong (191) and Sydney University (181.85).
Weather conditions varied wildly on the day with the competition starting in 40C and finishing in temperature 20 degrees lower, while headwinds of 6m/s thwarted any chance of records being broken.
Australia’s premier sprint hurdler Justin Merlino, a former Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder. was the mainstay of the University men’s team, finishing second in the 200m hurdles, fifth in the 100m, fifth in the long jump, ninth in the 200m and 13th in the shot put.
Olympian Lachlan Renshaw, a Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder, was the University’s only men’s winner on the day, taking out the 800m in 1:49.24s from UTS Norths’ James Gurr (1:49.84).
Gurr led the race from the start to the final turn but Renshaw was too strong in the straight.
Renshaw was very happy with the result. “I was doing a few events on the day, so it is just about winning for the club,” he said.
Renshaw also anchored University’s 4x400m relay team and, with the club in mind, finished 15th in the discus with a throw of 18.42m.
Scores going into the last event – the 4×400 relay – were tight with Sydney University on 195 and Sydney Pacific 190.
Renshaw said he was confident the University would take out the championship when he took the baton in third place on the last leg.
“I knew all I had to do was hold my position for us to win,” he said.
With Steve Soliman running a strong last leg, Randwick Botany tipped out Sydney Pacific in the shadows of the post, with University holding in for third – giving them enough points to take out the club championship.
Although UTS Norths dominated the women’s club championship, Sydney University performed well in the 3000m with Sports Scholarship holders Lara Tamsett (9:22.21) winning the event from team-mate Emma Rilen (9:28:87).
“I’m always happy with a personal best,” Tamsett said. “It was not unexpected as I hadn’t run one for a while but conditions were not ideal.”
Sydney University’s other distance star, former national 1500m champion Nikki Molan, led the 800m until the final bend before being run down be UTS Norths’ Sianne Toemoe and Lara Nicod.
The Students called on the services of Gillian Ragus (five events) and Lizzie Jenkins (seven events) to mop up some possible points.
“I always enjoy coming out on these occasions to support such a great club as Sydney University,” Ragus said. “Lizzie and I were the all-rounders in the ladies team. It’s been four years since my last multi-event competition but the memory kicks in pretty quickly and I still love the challenge.”
Athletics clubs in Sydney have now been competing for the Dunn Shield in men’s competition for 100 years, with the inaugural carnival held over two Saturdays at Erskinville Oval in December 1910.
The trophy was donated by Mr J. Dunn of the Newtown club, who were responsible for hosting the inaugural competition between 10 clubs, including Newtown Harriers, University AC, Redfern Harriers, South Sydney Harriers, East Sydney AC, North Sydney Harriers, Birchgrove-Rozelle Harriers, YMCA, Botany Harriers and Hunters Hill.
South Sydney Harriers dominated the early years, winning the Dunn Shield in 1910, 1911 and 1912.
Women’s competition was restricted to occasional invitation races in the early years before the NSW Women’s Association was formed in the 1930s.