Athletics Essendon pair Mitchel Brown (Men – 14:05.63) and Linden Hall (Women – 16:02.51) claimed state titles at 2015 Victorian 5000m Track Championships on Thursday 19 November at Lakeside Stadium.
Hall’s victory was her first on Australian soil since completing college in the U.S as a student-athlete at Florida State University.
“I’m pretty keen to be back and get amongst all the tour meets with the girls, I’ve been gone for a while so it will be good to see where I fit in with all of them,” Hall said.
Hall was joined by fellow Essendon athlete Amelia Mazza-Downie and Frankston’s Gemma Maini for the majority of the journey before kicking away at 3000m to be untroubled on her way to victory.
Mazza-Downie dug deep to finish second in a time of 16:27.80 and go under the 2016 world junior qualification standard of 16:40.00, Collingwood’s Virginia Moloney stormed home to round out the medals, with third in a time of 16:31.61 minutes.
“I found it was very tough from the start because the pace was put on quickly and I knew I had to stay with the front pack to get a reasonable time,” Mazza-Downie said.
As the competition unfolded, the conditions turned in the favour of the runners and made for compelling Men’s ‘A’ race.
Defending champion Zak Patterson looked poised at the bell to go back-to-back, but, Brown had the kick on the home straight to take the first Victorian open championship title for the 2015-16 track season.
“I still felt pretty comfortable and could go to the front and still stretch it out, and still be within myself, I was lucky to do that, have Zak (Patterson) go to the front and go pass me and still have enough to go pass him in the home stretch,” Brown said.
Patterson held on comfortably for second in a time of 14:08.87 with Deakin’s Nicholas Wightman finishing third in 14:09.09 minutes.
Another highlight of the men’s final was Western Australian Matthew Ramsden, joining Mazza-Downie with a 2016 World Junior qualification standard with a time of 14:09.39 minutes.
If it was the Tour de France, Mentone athlete Michael Kernahan would have been awarded the ‘Most Aggressive Rider’ jersey on the night.
In a bold move Kernahan worked a gap on the rest of the field early to maintain a 25 to 30 metre gap until the final 400m in the ‘C’ grade race.
It was Knox athlete Eddie Wilson who closed the gap, and at the final bend worked clear of Kernahan (15:08.67) to win in 15:07.88 minutes.
In the opening race of the night Claire Hodgart recorded a personal best and Western Athletics under-20 club record with a time of 18:15.41 in the Mixed F race.