Clark adds National steeplechase title to list of honours

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Sydney University’s Milly Jane Clark pulled off one of the upsets of the meet, at the National Track and Field Championships in Melbourne, after finishing too strong for Australian Olympic representative Victoria Mitchell, taking home the Australian 3000m steeplechase title.

Clark has had a great year and can add the national title to the NSW state title she won three weeks ago in Sydney. Clark will now embark on a series of races in the USA over the next couple of months where she will attempt to put herself as close to the Olympic qualifying standard as possible.

Over the weekend Clark was joined by more than 20 Sydney University Athletic Club (SUAC) athletes at the Championships.

One of those was Sydney University Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder James Nipperess – B Health Science (Physiotherapy) – who crashed into a steeple with just over a lap to go while leading the men’s 3000m steeplechase. ‘Nipper’ bravely got to his feet and finished the race taking the silver medal but was in obvious discomfort. The extent of his injuries will not be known until he has scans on Wednesday.

Nipperess’s teammate and fellow EAP scholarship holder (Masters of Economics) Jack Colreavy, who earlier in the year won the NSW 3000m steeplechase, finished 6th in his first National Championships. He is clearly an athlete on the rise.

Angela Ballard continued her outstanding form this season taking the victory in the 400m and 800m wheelchair races. She also finished 2nd in the 100m and 200m wheelchair.

In the 400m SUAC enjoyed some very pleasing results with EAP scholarship holder (Liberal Arts & Sciences) Anneleise Rubie taking the bronze medal in the women’s 400m in a time of 53.55. Rubie’s season looked well and truly over when she suffered a 17cm hamstring tear in November. No doubt she is a very determined and talented young lady, a result of which means she is back in contention for a relay spot in the 4×400 at the Olympic Games.

In the men’s race EAP scholarship holder (B. Arts – Psych & French) Joshua Ralph ran two personal bests (semi-final and final) to finish 7th in the final in windy conditions in a time of 47.12. Expect Ralph to be a massive force in the 800m ranks in a few years time.

In the field events the standout competitors were fellow EAP scholarship holders Alix Kennedy and Thomas Soliman. Kennedy (Commerce/Law), who is also a Sydney Uni Waratah Cup netball representative, threw a personal best in the discus to finish 4th (51.51) behind world champion Dani Samuels. Soliman (B. Health Science – Sport & Exercise) led the long jump competition up until the final round with a leap of 7.23, and eventually finished 4th.

Other notable performances came from Jacqui Fry (Health Sciences) who finished 8th in the heptathlon and Andrew Giltrap (B. Science) who was 9th in the javelin.

All in all it was a very strong performance by SUAC at the Nationals, especially considering both Lachlan Renshaw (800m) and Lara Tamsett (5000m) were not in attendance. It is fair to say that they both would have placed highly, if not won their events, but both are currently in the USA preparing for a series of races which hopefully will see them gain selection for the Olympic Games in London.