The Sydney Uni Athletics Club squad again showed their speed at the Hunter Track Classic on Saturday 30th January, as 29 of our finest clocked a stack of personal bests.
Making the trip north to Glendale, our SUAC athletes bagged 9 gold medals, 1 club record, 10 Personal Bests and 14 Season Bests. Interestingly for the first half of the programme the conditions were atrocious, with the later events enjoying near perfect conditions.
Hot off the mark at the Hunter Sports Centre in Newcastle, highlights included Jenny Blundell running 4:09 to win the 1500m, Josh Clarke running a blinding 10.39 in a -2.8m/s headwind, James Nipperess going sub 8 & Annie Rubie hitting another 2:02 in the her 800m.
Coming up against the fifth fastest in Australian history, Melissa Duncan of Victoria, Blundell’s win was an unexpected one.
“I can’t believe it but I guess I have too,” said the surprised junior Blundell. “I wanted to take it out hard, I have been practising that, then I wanted to feel comfortable and relaxed. Melissa and Gen took off mid-race and I don’t know, I just knew I just had to wait. I didn’t think I would win.”
As well as smashing her PB and the club record in the process, Blundell also moved herself up the list to the 13th fastest Australian all-time. Holly Campbell ran her 2nd fastest 1500m in the same race. Melinda Witchard was just outside her best as well enjoying a stellar injury free season.
From the gun, Red hot Rubie looked a natural in the 800m, in what is a fairly new event for her having 400m Olympic qualifiers under her belt. Just a second outside the Olympic games qualifier, Rubie held on for the win in very difficult conditions. Like her run at Bankstown a couple of weeks ago still conditions would have seen her in the vicinity of the 2min barrier, watch this space, she is the next big thing in this event in Australia. Joanna Cubis ran seasons best in the same race in a very pleasing return to form having missed last season with injury.
“The pacer went through at a nice solid pace,” said Rubie who ran on to take the win, missing her 20-day-old personal best by one hundredth of a second.
Running 10.39 into a 2.8m/s headwind, a favourable tailwind would have seen Josh Clarke run an Olympic qualifier as well. Clarke is the real deal at 100m, his PB of 10.19 will not last long this season, expect to see him run close to 10 seconds in the near future.
Other wins went to Shelly Jenneke in the 100 hurdles, Angus Armstrong in the Pole Vault jumping an impressive 5.30m, Nick Hough in the high hurdles, Nicola McDermott won the high jump with a victory over the Commonwealth Champ Elenore Patterson and Gen Cowie won the 400m B in a huge personal best.
Other PB’s went to Matty Mountford (discus), Courtney Schultz (400), Andries van Woerkam (Javelin), alumnus Madeleine Hills (1500), Hugh Williams (3000), Jack Colreavy (3000), Joseph Ryan (800). Paige Campbell also ran a big PB in the steeple in what looked the bravest run of the evening.
James Nipperess was just outside his PB running 7.57 for 3000m. He deserved a PB though, it was an aggressive performance one of his best ever at any distance.
Congratulations to the strong SUAC contingent who are sure to continue making huge headlines in 2016.
SUAC athletes will this weekend compete at the ACT Championships in Canberra and the NSW Junior Champs at SOPAC.