Sydney University Athletics Club amassed an incredible 21 Gold, 4 Silver and 9 Bronze medals at the 2018 NSW Track & Field Championships at the weekend, a record medal haul for the Club.
It was the best state championship performance by SUAC’s athletes in the club’s 139 year history and a record club participation numbers.
UTS Norths, SUAC’s most fierce rival of the last decade, accrued 3 Gold, 2 Silver and 8 Bronze at the same championships. Full summary of SUAC’s performance at the three-day event below:
Day 1 consisted of heats and finals in perfect conditions at Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre. In events where a direct final birth awaited, Nick Hough (110mH), Justin Merlino (110mH), Joseph Ryan (1500m), Joanna Cubis (800m), Elise Abood (800m), Matt Wood (400m) and Anneliese Rubie (400m) all progressed to their respective finals. In the 100m heats, Luisa Healey, Larissa Pasternatsky, Emily Duve, Sarah Healey, Tavleen Singh, Shelly Jenneke, Jin Su Jung, Andrew Annan and Shakti Rathore all progressed to the semi final of the 100m with 2 SB’s and 1 PB recorded. Other results included PBs for Lachlan Bird (400m), Neil Song (100m), Ben Qiu (100) and James Healy (1500).
In Firday night finals James Nipperess won the 3000m steeple chase title in 8:41.74, his fastest recorded time at a NSW Championship. The run was a SB and another Commonwealth Games B qualifier. Joe Burgess took the Silver in the same event slashing five seconds off his best time running 9:02.08. In the men’s Long Jump, Nick Van Gelder took Bronze.
The stars of Day 2 were Elliott Lang and Larissa Pasternatsky
Lang hurled the Javelin a massive 72.08m, winning the state title and breaking Andrew Giltrap’s SUAC Club record which stood since 2011.
Lang narrowly missed the CGB by only 1.28m and has put himself well and truly in the mix as a contender for a place on the team come the trials in a 10 days time.
Andries van Woerkom was 9th in the final.
Larissa Pasternatsky ran the race of her life in the womens 200m final, demolishing a field including Olympic relay finalist Jessica Thornton. She will be a force at the Commonwealth Games trials after running 23.69 into a fierce headwind.
Sophie McGovern was 6th in the B final of the 200m.
Sarah Clifton-Bligh finished a massive day with 3 golds winning the Para seated javelin, Para 800m wheelchair and the Para 200m wheelchair.
Nick Hough won another state championship 110mH in a slick 13.51 with Justin Merlino 2nd in 13.94. Unluckily the wind reading was just 0.1m/s too strong, recording 2.1m/s.
Nicola McDermott won the Women’s High Jump in 1.84m despite having an enormous training week.
Angus Armstrong won yet another State Championship in the Pole Vault jumping 5.40m. Armstrong is in wonderful form to take on Kurtis Marshall at the trials.
Aiden Harvey won his 2nd consecutive NSW Open title at just 18 years old throwing the Shot 17.33m. Matty Mountfort was 4th in the final.
SUAC’s Club Co-Captain Shelly Jenneke won another state 100 hurdles championships and is looking stronger every time she steps on the track.
Beth Croft continued a stellar weekend having been earlier selected in the Australian team for the World Uni Games in Switzerland, Croft won the NSW 3000m steeple chase title in a strong time of 10:26.07.
Jin Su Jung took home a Bronze medal in the 100m in a new season’s best. Jin has some serious top end speed, was nearly last at 40m and stormed home.
Hugo Whitehead was 7th in 10.78 in his first Open state final. Shakti Rathore and Andrew Annan narrowly missed the final having been run out in the semis.
In the womens 800m Joanna Cubis was 6th and Elise Abood 9th. In the Mens 400m Matt Wood was 8th.
Kudos to Athletics NSW who ran a B race for both the mens and womens 400m races at short notice, a move that was greatly appreciated by athletes and coaches alike. Lachlan Bird ran 4th in the B final recording his 5th consecutive PB. Joseph Ryan was 11th in the 1500m final.
Joshua Ralph (800m), Alex Pettigrew (800m), Matthew Fisher (400mH), Gen Cowie (400mH), Melinda Witchard, Lara Hamilton, Sarah Marvin and Emily Augustine (all 1500m) all progressed to finals. Ruby Hackett just missed the 1500 running a seasons best.
Day 3 was another outstanding day of competition for SUAC athletes. Anneliese Rubie, Joshua Ralph and Larissa Pasternatsky all produced performances of the highest quality with SUAC taking home 7 Gold, 1 Silver and 6 Bronze medals on the final day of competition.
The highlight of day 3 was the win by Anneliese Rubie in the womens 400m. The Olympic relay finalist ran 52.43 in windy conditions to hold off the fast finishing junior Bendere Oboya who recorded a 52.48. The race was arguably the best womens 400m state championship final of all time, such was the quality.
Larissa Pasternatsky continued her sensational run of form winning the 100m in a time of 11.70, giving her the 100m and 200m double and announcing her intentions for National Championships and Commonwealth Games trials. Good conditions will see her post CG qualifying performances at the trials and most certainly she must be in contention for relay selection after such a dominant weekend.
Shelly Jenneke took home the Bronze in 11.81 her fastest 100m in some time and a clear sign that she is also in great shape having earlier won the 100 hurdles at these championships. Luisa Healey was 8th in the final.
In the mens 800m World Championship and Commonwealth Games representative Joshua Ralph produced a scintillating 52 second final lap to win the state title. Alex Pettigrew finished strongly to take the Bronze.
Sarah Clifton-Bligh added three more gold to the trophy cabinet winning the Para seated shot put, the 100m wheelchair and the 400m wheelchair races. It was an incredible weekend for Clifton-Bligh taking home a total of 6 Gold medals.
In the Javelin Katrina Blackett won her first senior NSW Championship achieving 46.97m, her training partner Brianna Gibson was 6th in the same event.
In the womens Triple Jump Stevie Donougher won the silver medal just 8cm short of the win recording a 12.21m. Alexandra Petersen was 3rd winning the Bronze in 12.13m.
SUAC took home Bronze in both the mens and womens 400 metre hurdles. Matthew Fisher recorded a personal best of 52.96. Gen Cowie took Bronze in the womens race despite smashing through a number of hurdles in a race where she did very well to stay on her feet.
In the womens 1500m Melinda Witchard ran a very strong race to take the Bronze medal in 4:21.04, with Lara Hamilton 4th, Sarah Marvin 10th and Emily Augustine 11th in the final.
In the mens 200m Lachlan Bird recorded his 6th consecutive PB to finish 9th with Shakti Rathore 15th. Isabella Murrell was 5th in the Pole vault.
Sebastian Gray was 8th in the High Jump. Maddy Bergfield 10th in the Shot Put, Nick Chatters 10th in the Discus with Matty Mountfort 12th in the same event.
State 3000m & 5000m Championship events took place earlier in the season with Milly Clark winning the State 3000m, Jenny Blundell taking the State 5000m title and 3000m Silver medal and Lara Hamilton Silver in the 5000m.
A wonderful weekend for SUAC and its athletes. Attention now turns to Athletics Australia National Championships & Commonwealth Games selection trials to be held on the Gold Coast 15-18 Feburary 2018. As at February 2018, an incredible 16 SUAC athletes have achieved Commonwealth Games Qualifiers within the qualification period as follows:
A Qualifiers – Angie Ballard, Nick Hough, Josh Ralph, Jack Colreavy, Ella Nelson, Jenny Blundell, Milly Clark & Michelle Jenneke
B Qualifiers – Paige Campbell, Rohan Browning, Josh Clarke, Ian Dewhurst, Angus Armstrong, Annie Rubie, James Nipperess & Nicola McDermott