Sydney University Athletics Club enjoyed its greatest ever performance over the weekend at the NSW Relay Championships taking home a staggering 23 medals, 22 of which were from the Open division and one from the 120+ division. In addition to this, SUAC teams were able to break three club records, all despite battling a large injury toll which saw many of the club’s most prominent athletes watching from the sidelines.
There were 10 gold medals won by the club over the two day carnival. The women’s sprints were dominated by SUAC with the girls winning the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relays. Commonwealth Games representative and national champion Ella Nelson was the standout athlete of the meet running spectacular legs in all three events.
In the 4×100, the lead off runner was world junior rep Tavleen Singh, who passed to another world junior rep Josie Nichol. Both athletes ran strong legs and passed to Nelson in 2nd position behind sprint relay rivals Illawong. Nelson who also ran the 3rd leg at the Commonwealth Games stormed around the bend to hand the baton to another Commonwealth Games rep Michelle Jenneke, despite missing the baton the first time Jenneke took the baton a half a metre down and was too strong for her Illawong counterpart. The girls won the race in a time of 46.10, lowering the club record by just over 1/10th to win the event for the third consecutive year.
In the women’s 4×200, Emily Duve ran the 1st leg for SUAC and passed to Club Captain Lizzie Jenkins, Tavleen Singh was 3rd. The Illawong team had skipped away by this point and was nearly 30m clear of SUAC in equal 2nd. Ella Nelson is the reigning national champion in the 200m but even as well credentialed as she is the lead looked to be insurmountable. Nelson though is quickly building a reputation as one of the country’s fiercest competitors and was not to be denied running one of the most devastating legs in the event’s history to hit the front with 15m to go and take the win for SUAC.
In the women’ s 4×400 the lead athlete for SUAC was emerging junior Courtney Schultz who passed the baton to world junior bronze medalist at 800m Georgia Wassall she handed the baton over in 2nd position to Jess Stafford. Again Illawong were strong early and at the conclusion of this leg we saw Illawong nearly 50m clear of both SUAC and UTS Norths. Again it was Ella Nelson anchoring for SUAC, at 200m to go there looked to be a chance for the win and a blistering last 150m from Nelson saw the SUAC ladies take the relay sprint treble for the 2nd consecutive year with Nelson staking claims as the best female relay athlete in the country.
In the women’ s 4×1500 the SUAC A-team were represented by Davina Smith, Milly Clark, Eliza Barton and world junior rep Kate Spencer. In tough windy conditions the girls fought a tight battle with Randwick Botany Harriers and UTS Norths with all four girls calling on many years of relay experience to negotiate the windy conditions. Milly Clark ran a patient and controlled leg at 2nd runner which saw SUAC hit the lead with Eliza Barton running a very tactically astute 1500m to hand the baton 30 m ahead of 2nd place RBH. Kate Spencer was the anchor for SUAC and she showed her class to take another victory for SUAC.
The women’s throwing relay teams were exceptional over the weekend winning both the 4x javelin and 4x discus competitions. The women’s discus team included World Uni Games representative Alix Kennedy and Oceania Games reps Kasandra Vegas and Maddy Bergfield, the fourth competitor was the AUG Javelin champion Chrissie Grun. In the Women’s Javelin SUAC were represented by Chrissie Grun, Jacqui Fry, Maddy Bergfield and Katrina Blackett.
In the womens jumps SUAC recorded it’s best ever relay result winning the event by nearly a metre. The team was represented by World Junior Triple Jump representative Josie Nichol, Michelle Jenneke, Becky Clark and Jacqui Fry.
In the men’s events SUAC won three gold medals. In the men’s 4×200 SUAC were represented by three time National Champion and club captain Justin Merlino who ran a powerful first leg for SUAC into a stiff headwind he passed to the fastest man in the county at 100m at present, Jin Su Jung. Jung passed the baton to Nick Hough who was 4th in the Commonwealth Games 110 hurdles. By this stage SUAC had a commanding lead with Josh Tassell running the anchor for SUAC, Tassell crossed the line in 1st by a big margin lowering the SUAC Club record by more than .5 second, which considering the conditions was a mighty run.
The men’s 4×800 team were also successful beating home UTS Norths by more than 5 seconds posting a time of 7.40, the victory was the 2nd consecutive win by SUAC and the 15th time in the last 19 years that SUAC have won this event. The SUAC team was Sam Colless, Alex Pettigrew, Ben Liddy and Mason Cohen.
The other gold medal for the men came from the mens 120 + 4×800- the masters men were lead off by Club President Phil Brennan, with Mark Heiss 2nd, Andrew Heil 3rd and Brett Halls running the last leg to stomp home for the win.
Silver medal perfomances came from the following teams:
Womens Medley- Tavleen Singh, Ella Nelson, Lizzie Jenkins, Georgia Wassall
Mens 4×400- Richard Haggie, Alex Pettigrew, Mason Cohen, Josh Tassell
Men Shot Put-Andrew Giltrap, Matty Mountford,Tyson Davis, Michael Holania
Men’s Medley- Josh Tassell, Richard Haggie, Mason Cohen, Alex Pettigrew
Bronze medal performances came from:
Womens 4×1500 walk- Nicole Fagan, Allanah Hickson, Lily Johnston, Alexa Carey
Womens 4×800- ( which was also a club record)- Miranda Middleton, Davina Smith, Rosie Weber, Georgia Wassall
Men’s 4x discus- Andrew Giltrap, Matty Mountford, Tyson Davis, Andrew Baker
Women’s 4x high jump- Brittany James, Becky Clark, Jacqui Fry, Hannah Gibbs
Men’s 4 x javelin- Andrew Giltrap, Matty Mountford, Tyson Davis, Andrew Baker
Women’s 4x shot put- Jacqui Fry, Maddy Bergfield, Katrina Blackett, Michelle Jenneke
Men’s 4×1500- James Nipperess, Ben Liddy, Darien Williams, Sam Colless
Men’s 4×400 B team- Jordan Barnes, Lewis Horenko, Tom Sloot, Jo Ryan
SUAC will next compete on November 29th in the UQ Varsity meet to be held at the University of Queensland.