SUAC athletes perform strongly in NSW & Adelaide

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Despite being split up across two states over the weekend, the Sydney University Athletics Club (SUAC) performed strongly at the Australian Athletics Tour in Adelaide and the NSW 5000m Championships.

SUAC’s standout performer at the Australian Athletics Tour was Josh Ralph, who won the 800m men’s race in a time of 1.46.69. The time was a personal best for Ralph and his second Commonwealth Games B qualifier. He also defeated his University of Melbourne rival Alex Roe, who is the reigning national champion and World Championships representative. In the same race, SUAC’s Alex Pettigrew finished sixth.

Not to be outdone, high jumper Amy Pejkovic jumped a season best 1.80m – her best clearance since returning to the sport from a serious illness. Pejkovic’s leap eclipsed the previous club record by 0.02m. Pejkovic also finished seventh in the triple jump (12.20m).

SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Alix Kennedy (Bachelor of Commerce/Law) continued her remarkable return from ankle surgery, throwing a massive 55.15m in the women’s discus. Kennedy’s throw was only 10cm outside the Commonwealth Games B qualifier. Kennedy will compete in Christchurch this weekend, where she will attempt to better the B standard.

Other notable performances came from Em Brichacek, who was third in the women’s 5000m (16.19); Nick Hough finished fourth in the 200m (21.24); Jenny Blundell was 7th in the 800m; and Jo Cubis claimed 9th in the 800m. Hough (Bachelor of Info Technology/Laws) and Blundell (Bachelor of Exercise Physiology) are both SUSF EAP scholarship holders.

At the NSW 5000m Championships, the men’s race was won by SUSF EAP scholarship holder James Nipperess (Bachelor of Health Science {Physiotherapy}) in a time of 14.24. Nipperes led the entire race in a very dominant display of distance running. At one stage Nipperess, who has just returned from a month long training stint in Kenya, was almost 100m in front of the field which contained most of the best athletes in the state. Other SUAC competitors in the race included SUSF EAP scholarship holder Hugh Williams (Bachelor of Physiotherapy) who finished sixth and Peter Costello who finished 13th.

In the women’s race SUSF EAP scholarship holder Milly Clark (Bachelor of Applied Science/Masters of Nutrition) finished third in a time of 16.18, slashing more than 20 seconds of her personal best to take the bronze medal. The big improvement is a very good sign leading into the business end of the season where Clark is a real chance to reach the qualifying standard in the steeplechase.

19 year old SUSF EAP scholarship Nat Archer (Bachelor of Science) finished fourth in the women’s 5000m, posting a time of 16.32 and annihilating her personal best time by 60 seconds in the process. The time was inside the qualifying mark for the World Junior Championships. If Archer is able to finish in the top two places at the Australian Junior Championships she will secure a place on the Australian team at the World Junior Champships, which are to be held in Oregon in July this year. Fellow SUSF EAP scholarship holder Melinda Witchard (Bachelor of Physiotherapy) finished fifth for SUAC.

This weekend’s athletic action sees SUAC athletes compete in the next leg of the Australian Athletics Tour in Perth, with the NSW Championships staged the following weekend.