With so many events on the program, in no particular order, 12 events created notable drama for the Lakeside crowd.
The day kicked off with Taryn Furletti (South Bendigo) throwing caution to the wind in the Under 15 Women’s 3000m race. With temperatures playing a part in previous more tactical races, Furletti thought nothing of it, and decided on a bold 7.5 lap plan of attack. Showing mature pace judgement, Furletti gapped the field and clicked off the first kilometre in 3min17sec, on pace for a sub 10-minute run. Splitting just over 5 minutes through the halfway mark, Furletti fought on bravely to take the state title in 10:12.07, unchallenged throughout the course of the race.
Matthew Hussey (Western Aths) played a tactically daring game, controlling the race early, Hussey was happy to marginally increase the pace whenever a fellow competitor challenged his position near the front of the race, passing 1 kilometre in 3min04sec. The field continued to let Hussey play follow-the-leader, as 2 kilometres ticked off in 6min11sec, a gradual slowing of the pace ensured a barnstorming final kilometre. Hussey took off with 400 metres to travel, rushing through the final circuit in 59.3sec, to finish off a 2min46sec final kilometre and take the win in 8:56.63
The U20 Men’s 5000m event endured the peak of the daily temperature, calming a stellar field into slow early pace, ticking off the early kilometres in 3min05sec (1km) and 6min17sec (2km). Names of note including Carroll (Collingwood), Goldsmith (Mornington Peninsula), Lui (Doncaster), Clifford (Diamond Valley), Strinzos (Glenhuntly) and Shanahan (Western Aths), remained at 3 kilometres, as the pack slimmed down, passing 7.5 laps in 9min24sec. The fourth kilometre was met with a slight increase in pace, passed in 12min30sec, until what could only be described as a volcanic eruption of sorts took place over the final lap – as Clifford and Strinzos fought fiercely for the state title, Shanahan, returning from the wilderness of a long-term injury held a brief meeting with the Lakeside gods, and rocketed through the final 200 metres to take a well-deserved wreath in 15:14.96sec, with a final quarter of 60.3sec.
A state team regular, Katherine Dowie (Eureka) took a commanding victory in the Under 20 Women’s 5000m event, recording a time of 18:16.26. The quietly determined distance runner, enlightened via the tutelage of Ballarat stalwart Rod Griffin, trains in her home town of Carisbrook, located an hour from Ballarat. Barring her weekly trips to Ballarat for a track session, Downie trains with alone, making the most of the dirt trail running along the back of her parent’s property, completing numerous lengths with her father riding alongside her on a bicycle to help keep pace. One of the hardest workers in the regional town of 713 individuals, Downie was the star for 12.5 laps today.
The theme of returning former state champions continued, as Adrian Sanfilippo (Old Xaverians), a student of the Nick Wall hurdle school, glided through his Open 400m Hurdles heat to record the fastest time of the day (53.70sec)
The Men’s 200 metre semi-finals continued to build tension for what will surely be a stunning set of Sunday finals. Half-lap regular suspects such as Romanin (St Kevins), Johns (Old Melburnians), Stevens (Western Aths), and Riali (Diamond Valley) made light work of the half-lap journey, with Sunday’s final likely to mirror an old western shootout.
Montana Djatschenko (Athletics Essendon) and Alana Porter (Glenhuntly) kept the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout the Under 17 Women’s Long Jump, with Djatschenko using every bit of the runway to claim victory by 4 centimetres over Porter (5.43m/+0.0w to 5.39m/-1.3w).
Showing encouraging signs following a series of hamstring scares at the Australian All-Schools Championships, Liam Mullen (Athletics Chilwell) finished the competition a mere 4 centimetres shy of his personal best, winning the Under 17 long jump title with a leap of 6.90m/+1.6w.
Joseph Baldwin (Bendigo Harriers) obliterated the competition in the U20 Men’s High Jump, letting out the loudest yell of the day as he cleared a new personal best of 2.18m, improving on his previous best jump of 2.13m.
Lizzie Hedding (Old Xavierians) built upon her Nitro Athletics success, pleasantly surprising her coaches, landing just shy of the World University Games qualifier of 6.28m. Hedding required a 27cm personal best to fend off Kelsey Berryman (New Zealand), who pushed Hedding throughout the competition recording a best jump of 6.15m (+0.0w) to Hedding’s 6.20m (+1.2w) upper atmosphere visit of a jump.
The Men’s Open Hammer Throw saw two former junior superstars square off, as Ned Weatherly (Frankston) put the Hammer briefly into orbit, throwing 61.38m to Jack Dalton’s (Ringwood) 58.79m attempt. With neither recording personal bests on the day, the result suggested a gradual rounding into form via reliable method of head-to-head competition, with both athletes sure to feature heavily at the upcoming Australian Championships.
Antony James (Old Melburnians) appeared to time his seasonal peak to perfection, covering 7.46m (+1.2w) of sand, a personal best of 8 centimetres was just enough to clinch the state title ahead of Nathan Deslandes (Athletics Nunawading), who took silver with a jump of 7.38m (-0.1w). Paul Parker (Wyndham) rounded out the closely-leapt podium with a jump of 7.30m (+0.9w).
Full results available here: http://athsvic.org.au/liveresults/