Box Hill’s Courtney Powell has continued an outstanding 2014 season by claiming back-to-back 5000m state titles at the Tom Kelly Athletics Track in near perfect conditions for racing on Thursday night.
Powell controlled the tempo early as the bunch waited for the favourite to make a move. It was Frankston Athletics Gemma Maini who went forward to try and lift the pace with Powell and Glenhuntly Athletics Amelia Aslanides responding.
As Maini dropped off the pace Powell made her move and Aslanides gave it everything to stick with the Oceania Cross Country champion.
Powell made it her own race with 750 metres to go and won in a time of 16:36.97 ahead of Aslanides (16:40.62) who wasn’t able to bridge the gap.
Melbourne University athlete Sophie Barker closed out the women’s top three, claiming bronze in 16:45.70.
On a night that celebrated one of states most influential contributors to the sport, Tom Kelly, with the renaming of the track in his honour, it was only fitting that Knox Athletics rising star Zak Patterson claimed a famous victory after kicking late to catch Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon athlete Liam Adams.
It was a tight bunch early and none of the front runners were giving away their tactics and as a result the first couple of laps were slow, Rio 2016 prospect and Xavier athlete David McNeill was a late withdrawal in what would have been his first serious track hit out in Australia since returning from the USA.
Essendon’s Mitchel Brown sat at the front to lift the speed but it was fellow Essendon athlete Adams who turned the race on its head, bursting away with 2200 metres to go.
Adams held a steady 50 metre gap on the chasing pack, with Brown trying his best to drop Patterson and Box Hill’s Stephen Dinneen.
The long legs of Patterson started to click into gear and the chase was on. Moving away from Brown and Dinneen the 19-year-old rapidly closed the gap on Adam’s and timed his run to perfection, passing Adam’s around the 200 metre mark and moved up the home straight to claim a maiden Victorian 5000m championship in 14.11.80.
Essendon rounded out the podium with Adams (14:15.57) holding off for second and Brown finishing third in 14:16.28.
Next on the Athletics Victoria calendar will be 2014 Zatopek:10 on Thursday 11 December at Lakeside Stadium from 5:45pm.