SUAC record best ever results at National Champs

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The Sydney University Athletics Club (SUAC) enjoyed its most successful National Championships of the modern era, held over the weekend at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre (SOPAC).

SUAC had an incredible 45 athletes qualify for the Championships – a record for the club and testament to the clubs enormous current depth at the highest domestic level of competition in Australia. A large number of these athletes are University of Sydney students and representatives of the SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP).

Angela Ballard (Psychology Honours) continued her great form from the 2012 London Olympic Games, as she lead the charge over the weekend, winning an amazing four gold medals in the 100,200,400,800m wheelchair races.

James Nipperess (Bachelor of Health Sciences {Physiotherapy}) won his first national track title in the 3,000m steeplechase. Nipperess now only needs to run a ‘b’ qualifier to be automatically selected for the World Championships in Moscow later in the year. In the same event Jack Colreavy finished second in a personal best time, creating a historic one-two finish for SUAC.

Alix Kennedy (Bachelor of Commerce/Law) won her first national title in the women’s discus, throwing a huge personal best and qualifying for the World University Games in the process. Kennedy seriously broke her ankle in September, which required surgery, and only resumed training in January. Her recovery back to her best form has been remarkable and a fitting reward for the hard work she put in during her rehabilitation.

In the women’s 400m Anneliese Rubie (Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences) ran second to rival Caitlin Seargent in a very tight race. The placing means Rubie has been pre-selected for the World Championships in Moscow, and will make the trip provided the women’s 4x400m team can run the qualifying time in Taiwan in five weeks’ time.

Nick Hough (Bachelor of International and Global Studies) continued his outstanding season, running second to Josh Ross in the 200m in a personal best and SUAC club record time of 20.66. Hough, who was crowned 2012 SUSF Sportsman of the Year at the annual SUSF Sports Awards on Tuesday night, also finished seventh in the 100m. Team mate Jarrod Geddes (Bachelor of Exercise & Sports Science) was third in the 100m, meaning he has been selected to compete at the World Championships in Moscow in the 4x100m.

Ian Dewhurst pushed Olympic semi-finalist Tristan Thomas all the way to the line in the men’s 400m hurdles. Dewhurst ran a personal best and SUAC club record and has qualified for the World University Games in the process of taking home the national silver medal.

Justin Merlino finished second in the 110m hurdles, running his best time since 2009. Interestingly Merlino was the first Australian home, only beaten by the Indian record holder Siddanth Thingalaya who is currently based on the Gold Coast. Merlino has also qualified for the World University games.

Amy Pejkovic was third in the women’s high jump, recording a club record of 1.78m in the process.

In the men’s 400m Josh Ralph (Bachelor of Applied Science {Exercise & Sports Science}) annihilated his personal best time to finish as the third Australian and gain an automatic spot on the World Championships team for Moscow. Ralph ran an enormous last 200m of his race, coming from a long way back, to secure his spot on the team by 0.01 of a second.

In the women’s 5,000m Emma Rilen returned to the highest level after a long series of injuries to finish third, with Milly Clarke (Bachelor Applied Science with Masters of Nutrition) in fourth.

Other SUAC top ten performances came from Jenny Blundell in the 1500m (fifth); Lizzie Jenkins in the 200m (sixth) and 400m (eighth); Chrissie Grun in the javelin (seventh); Ross Jeffs in the long jump (sixth), Hugh Williams in the 5,000m (seventh) and Jo Cubis in the 800m (10th).

At present SUAC has four athletes pre-selected for the World Championships in Moscow from August 10-18 – Lara Tamsett (10,000m), Josh Ralph (4x400m), Jarrod Geddes (4x100m) and Anneliese Rubie (4x400m, subject to team qualification) – with Hough and Nipperess very close to selection. In the history of the World Championships the most athletes representing Australia that has come from SUAC has not been more than one. Six would be a remarkable achievement.

This weekend SUAC will travel to the University of Queensland for the annual University of Queensland v SUAC meet.