Golden effort at the NSW State Relay Championships

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The Sydney University Athletics Club (SUAC) arguably produced the most dominant performance on the track in the history of the NSW State Relay Championships, taking home 19 medals in the Open competition including seven gold, eight silver and four bronze, as well as a NSW record in the men’s Medley relay.

Incredibly SUAC won either gold or silver in every Open track event over the weekend at Sydney Olympic Park.

The women’s team produced an outstanding weekend of athletics, winning every open track event (4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m, 4x1500m, Medley relay) with the exception of the 4x100m where they took home the silver medal and javelin bronze.

There were many highlights for the women’s team, but they were most dominant in the Medley relay where the team of Anneleise Rubie (800m), Charlotte van Veenendaal (400m), Esther Muller (200m) and Hannah Gibbs (200m) took home the NSW title by a margin of just over 11 seconds. Just to show their versatility, earlier in the day, the same lineup won the women’s 4x200m in a very close race with rivals UTS Norths.

Australian representatives Rubie and Van Veenendaal were really able to showcase their class in the 4x400m event. Strong early legs from Esther Muller and Holly Pobjie had SUAC placed second, with Van Veenendaal and Rubie to run third and fourth respectively. Running only her second senior 400m, Van Veenendaal split a very impressive 53.6 and passed the baton to Rubie who blasted out a 52.9 for her 400m to secure an emphatic victory for SUAC.

In the women’s middle distance events SUAC were especially dominant, winning both the 4x800m (Eliza Barton, Milly Clark, Joanna Cubis, Kelly Young) and the 4x1500m (Kelly Young, Milly Clark, Lara Tamsett, Eliza Barton). They also took home the silver medal in the 4x1500m (Pobjie, Larissa Stanley, Ruby Hackett, Joanna Cubis) and bronze in the 4x800m (Rosie Weber, Stanley, Christie Pearson,  Hackett).

The women’s 4x100m (Hannah Gibbs, Larissa Pasternatsky, Muller, Van Veenendaal) ran a close second to the team from Newcastle Region, posting a time of 47.49 in the last event on the track program. The women’s javelin team, consisting of Chrissie Grunn, Jacqui Fry, Siobhan Clayton and Clare Stephan won the bronze medal just shy of St George and Asics West’s.

Not to be outdone, on the men’s side of the program SUAC enjoyed its best ever weekend at these championships – winning the 4x100m and Medley relays, taking silver in the 4x100m, 4×200, 4x400m, 4x800m, 4x1500m and  javelin, and the bronze medal in the 4x800m and discus competitions.

Without doubt the highlight for the men’s competition was the win in the Medley relay. The field looked quite stacked, with a number of high profile athletes turning out for their club’s in this event, and on paper the standout teams were SUAC, UTS Norths and Mingara. SUAC was represented by Lachlan Renshaw (800m) Joshua Ralph (400m), Henry Mitchell (200m) and Nick Hough (200m). 

The race lived up to all expectations with Renshaw passing an in form James Gurr from UTS Norths with 80m to go, establishing a small lead for SUAC. Josh Ralph, having received a university blue less than 14 hours earlier, ran tactically astute through the first 200m – holding off a challenge from UTS Norths Alex Pettigrew – before turning on the gas around the bend to give SUAC a handy lead. Ralph passed to SUAC debutant Henry Mitchell who exploded around the bend running a cracking 200m leg. At this point it was clear the state record was in real danger. Mitchell passed to Hough and the big man needed to run a sub 21 second 200m to break the NSW record, and that’s what he did shaving more than half a second off the NSW record and taking the win for SUAC.

In the men’s sprint events SUAC were just as impressive. The men’s 4×100 saw SUAC take home both the gold and silver medals – a very rare achievement for an athletic club in this event. Running from lane 7 and lane 9, the SUAC A-team (Stephen Andreazza, Justin Merlino, Piyush Kumar, Nick Hough) posted a club record of 40.67 in the winning the title. The B-team (James Dooley, Jin Jung, Mitchell, Josh Tassell) entered the home straight in third position, but a fast finishing Tassell came over the top of the Mt Pritchard sprinter to secure a historic one-two for SUAC.

In the men’s 4x200m (Merlino, Andreazza, Christaina Lozada, Mitchell) SUAC took home the silver medal after a couple of unfortunate changes probably cost this team the win. The men’s 4x400m (Lozada, Richard Haggie, Daniel Macdonald, Ralph) was another second place finish. Lozada and Ralph both ran massive legs in this final and were well supported by Macdonald and Haggie, but were just short of recording the win. Interestingly, Haggie ran with a broken thumb in a splint, not an easy thing to do when changing a baton.

In the men’s middle distance events SUAC were very strong, taking home silvers in both the 4x800m (Brett Halls, Tristan Garrett, Nick Bromley, Renshaw) and 4x1500m (Nick Bromley, Daniel Macdonald, Keith Gregson, Brett Halls) as well as bronze in the men’s 4x800m (Gregson, Henry Jones, Sam Colless, Jack Colreavy).

In the men’s throws events SUAC took home its first ever medals in these events with a silver in the javelin (Andrew Giltrap, Elliot Lang, Matty Mountford, Tyson Davis) and bronze in the discus (Mountford, Giltrap, Davis, Ben Cranney).

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