The Sydney University Athletics Club (SUAC) produced the most dominant display of track running in NSW Relay Championship history over the weekend, winning 11 gold medals, two silver and one bronze out of the possible 14 track races in the open division.
The women won the 4x100m/200m/400m/800m/1500m/medley, giving them an incredible clean sweep of all track running events for the second consecutive year. The men narrowly missed the clean sweep, winning every event except the 4x1500m, finishing with silver instead.
It was a record breaking day of the highest order – two Australian club records, two NSW records, a NSW club record and six SUAC club records broken over the weekend. Many of these athletes are Sydney University students and SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holders.
While it’s tough to pick a standout performance – there were soo many – the women’s 1500m team were outstanding. SUSF EAP scholarship holders Milly Clark (Bachelor of Applied Science/Masters of Nutrition), Nat Archer (Bachelor of Science), Jenny Blundell (Bachelor of Exercise Physiology) and teammate Kelly Young went straight to the front and chased the NSW record which has stood for 23 years.
Young, Clark and Archer all ran very quick splits and Blundell anchoring the team with a massive run. The girls slashed over 20 seconds off the old NSW record and posted 18.03, a time that will be very difficult for any club team in Australia to replicate for many years to come. The time is the fastest by any club team in Australia and is just three seconds outside the Australian All-comers record set by a Victorian state team in 1992.
In the same race the SUAC ‘B’ team of Rosie Weber (Bachelor of Health Sciences), Eliza Barton (Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary BioScience), Heather Vella and Jo Cubis finshed third.
The men’s 4x100m was just as impressive. Justin Merlino, Jin Jung (Bachelor of Commerce/ Bachelor of Law), Nick Hough (Bachelor of Info Technology/Bachelor of Law) and Jarrod Geddes (Bachelor of Exercise & Sports Science) broke the NSW Club record in both the heat and final, but blustery conditions stopped them from eclipsing the National Club record of 39.51. Their time of 39.65 is the second fastest time by a club team in Australian history.
Interestingly the time ranks the team 10th in the Commonwealth, just three places behind the Australian team. The unofficial splits of the four competitors were 10.4 (Merlino), 10.25 (Jin Jung), 10.0 (Hough) and 9.1 (Geddes).
The women’s medley relay was also victorious in a NSW record time, breaking the club’s own record it set at the Australian University Games (AUG) six weeks ago. Blundell, Annie Rubie (Bachelor of Liberal Arts & Sciences), Lizzie Jenkins and Ella Nelson (Bachelor of Arts) cut more than a second off the old record and produced the fastest medley relay by a club team in Australian history.
The SUAC men’s medley team were represented by Merlino (200m), Hough (200m), Jack Hiscox (400m), Josh Ralph (800m). The team won the race comfortably, but were unfortunately just outside the NSW record set last year by SUAC – the margin just 17/100ths of a second. That said, the time ranks second in NSW history and is the fastest time ever recorded in NSW with the 200m as the first leg (as opposed to the 800m first). It was just the second time a NSW team has been able to break 3.20.
The SUAC women’s sprint teams were unbelievably impressive. The 4x100m team Michelle Jenneke (Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering), Emily Duve (Bachelor of Political Economy & Social Sciences), Jenkins and Nelson staged a great race against Illawong. The SUAC girls prevailed thanks to a big closing leg from Nelson, and their time of 46.24 saw them obliterate the old club record.
In the 4x200m, the line-up of Jenkins, Duve, Rubie and Nelson again smashed the club record, with the girls only narrowly finishing outside of the NSW record in very wet and windy conditions. In the women’s 4x400m, the girls again were dominant winning the race by more than 50m courtesy of some strong early legs from Jenkins, Cubis, Jess Stafford and a barnstorming last leg from Rubie.
In the other men’s sprint races SUAC were unstoppable. The men’s 4×200 consisted of Justin Merlino, Josh Tassell, Richard Haggie and Jarrod Geddes. Geddes got the baton last in a bunch of three sprinters and produced a sensational run through traffic to bring SUAC home knocking over half a second off the club record. In the men’s 4×400 the team of Ian Dewhurst, Jack Hiscox, Alex Pettigrew and Richard Haggie won the event by the enormous margin of over 8 seconds.
In the men’s and women 4x800m SUAC again tasted victory. In the women’s race the team ‘A’ team of Cubis, Young, Weber and Blundell took the gold medal with the SUAC ‘B’ team consisting of Vella, Archer, Jo Dawson and Siobhan Clayton taking the silver medal. The men’s team of Ralph, Pettigrew, Vincent Donnedieu (Bachelor of Veterinary Science) and Hiscox won the men’s race in stylish fashion – no mean feat considering Pettigrew and Hiscox had backed up from the 4x400m only 90 minutes earlier.
In the other 4x800m races, SUAC took home the gold medal in the 4x800m (120+ ages) with the team of Brett Halls, Mark Abercromby, Mark Heiss and Andrew Heil missing the state record by only half a second.
In the U/20 4x800m SUAC finished second, with Matthew Dempsey, Joe Burgess, Anton Brokman and Matt Hale making their way onto the podium.
In the only open division track running race on the weekend that SUAC did not win, the men’s 4x 1500m, SUAC were involved in an epic battle with UTS Norths. The SUAC men put up a brave fight and were still in the race up until the last 150m. The team of Brett Halls, Jack Colreavy, Hugh Williams (Bachelor of Physiotherapy) and Miles Waring (Bachelor of Economics) took home silver.
In the field event relays SUAC also had a good weekend, with the men’s shot put team of Andrew Gitrap (Bachelor of Philosophy), Matty Mountford (Bachelor of Chemical Engineering/Bachelor of Science), Tyson Davis and Sam Colless Education (Bachelor of Secondary: HMHE) won silver.
The women’s High Jump team of Karina Bangel, Hannah Gibbs, Jo Dawson (Master of Physiotherapy) and Jacqui Fry (Bachelor of Health Science) also took home the silver medal.
There were some herculean performances, none more so than Joanna Cubis who in true SUAC style kept putting her hand up to race all weekend, and finished the weekend having completed the 4x100m,4x200m,4x400m,4x800m and 4x1500m races.
It is fitting that after such a great weekend for the club that it will celebrate its 135th Anniversary this weekend on the grounds of Sydney University at Wesley College.
For full photos of State Relays and for more information about SUAC, see www.facebook.com/SUACinfo