A large contingent of Sydney University Athletic Club (SUAC) athletes made the trek up the freeway to contest the 2017 Hunter Track Classic on Saturday night, January 28. The annual event at Glendale Athletic Track, Lake Macquarie is the first of four meets in the NSW Athletics Twilight Track Series.
Before an enthusiastic crowd of 3000 the SUAC stable made the most of the balmy conditions.
The program started well for SUAC with Larissa Stanley being first female past the post in the Mixed 1000m Community Run in a time of 3:23.71. A standout performer for SUAC was Nick Hough who dominated in winning the Men’s 110m Hurdles in 13.91, against a wind of -1.3. Justin Merlino was 5th.
Unfortunately Rio Olympian, Michelle Jenneke, slowed up when leading the Women’s 100m Hurdles just before the line. Jenneke eased over the line in fourth place.
The headline race of the evening was the Women’s 800m featuring Rio 400m Semi-Finalist, Annie Rubie, who won the corresponding event in 2016. Rubie faced a tough assignment stepping up in distance against two other Olympians in Linden Hall, better known for the 1500m and the tenacious veteran, Zoe Buckman. Despite Rubie bravely leading the second lap until 30 metres to go, the three Olympians were upstaged by NSW athlete Lora Storey in the tightest of finishes, with less than a second separating the first seven runners. Storey took the line in 2:03.62, with Rubie a gallant fifth in 2:04.22. To highlight the quality and depth of the field reigning back-to back Australian 1.500m Champion, Heidi See, finished seventh.
The competitors in the Women’s 800m and the Men’s 1,500m A Race experienced the surging energy and cheers of the crowd at close quarters as spectators were allowed on the outside lanes of the home straight for these final two events.
Rubie now sets her sights on representing the Australian team at the upcoming Nitro Athletics Series.
In the Mens Pole vault Angus Armstrong got the win, jumping 5.20. to open his account for the season. Minor placings on the night went to Larissa Pasternatsky who finished 2nd in the 200m, Rohan Browning who was 2nd in the men’s 100m, Maddy Bergfield who was 3rd in the discus, and Matty Mountford took 3rd in the shot put.
Other A race results included Tav Singh 4th 200, Alex Pettigrew 8th 800m, Lewis Horenko 5th 400, Rich Haggie 6th 400m, Gen Cowie 8th 400m, Courtney Schultz 9th 400m, Georgia Wassall 9th 800m, Andrew Giltrap 4th Shot /6th javelin, Andries Van Woerkom 7th javelin. Also, Beth Croft and Holly Campbell recorded personal bests in their respective 800m heats.
Full results of the Hunter Track Classic can be found at the Athletics NSW website.