Katie Hayward (Qld) closed out her final Australian All Schools showing with a dominant performance in the under 18 girls 5000m walk. Hayward, who earlier this year won the Australian 10,000m Championship ahead of more experienced athletes, even finished ahead of the boys with the two events run concurrently. The Gold Coast student won gold in a time of 22:06.65, over two minutes ahead of Jemma Peart (Vic) and Alice Randall (Tas).
Friday’s victory gave Hayward back-to-back gold in the event, having also dominated in 2016 where she set the meet record of 21:40.87.
Ominously, Hayward said she was off her best form, as she’s hoping to be in top shape for the under 20 world championships mid-2018.
“I’m about 30 seconds slower, but I’m happy. This is a good hit out,” Hayward said. “I tried my best. Because this is my last nationals, I wanted to finish knowing that I did everything that I could so as soon as the gun went off, I went for it.”
Alexander Kolesnikoff (NSW) took out the first competition of the day, the under 18 boys hammer throw. It was the first of three throwing events he’ll compete in over the weekend, but not necessarily his favourite.
Kolesnikoff fouled his first-round throw but recovered consistently, the sole competitor in the field to go beyond the 60 metre mark, his third round throw of 62.13 unable to be bettered and a personal best. The win gave Kolesnikoff his first national gold medal in the hammer throw. Queensland’s Tristian Churchward was runner-up with 58.37 while Brendon Neich (NSW) was third.
“I love hammer,” said Kolesnikoff. “I don’t train as much for it any more but it’s a fun one to come out and have a bit of a scream.”
Kolesnikoff was left rue his first up foul, but was nonetheless happy to come away with the win, in what is essentially his “warm-up” event.
“My first one was huge, but I just pulled my shoulder too much and I lost it,” he explained. “But never mind, that’s competition.”
Kolesnikoff will be in action in the discus on Saturday and the shot put on Sunday.
Under 17 Development Squad member Annie McGuire (Qld) impressed in the girls under 18 long jump. McGuire, one of the younger competitors in the field negotiated the gusty conditions to claim gold, jumping 6.06m.
Camryn Newton-Smith (Qld) finished in the silver medal position, while Sara Dougan won bronze.
“There were some tricky winds in there. But it was good to get that one really good jump in,” said McGuire. “It went pretty smoothly considering.”
The jump gave McGuire a Youth Olympic Games qualifier.
“Training had been going really well,” McGuire continued. “I knew I was getting near the six, I just had to pull it out today and I did.”
In the under 18 boys long jump, Zane Branco (Qld) went one better than his 2016 All Schools performance, securing gold with his final jump of the day an impressive 7.57m. The result delivered Branco an under 20 world championship qualifying mark.
“I’m really stoked about that but in the end, I’m just here having some fun,” he said. “I’m really happy to be out here among some good competition and tonnes of good competitors.”
Fellow Queenslander Justyn Rogers’ opening jump of 7.32, a new personal best, ensured a friendly rivalry between the two with Branco pleased for the eventual silver medallist.
“I had a few dodgy jumps up first, so I just needed to pull my head in to be honest,” Branco said. “But he was jumping great, so it was good to feed off him.”
In the Under 16 girls discus, Queensland’s Lyvante Su’emai (48.87) enjoyed a standout performance, finishing with over four metres of advantage from her nearest rival, Leia Varley (Vic). Su’emai led the competition from start to finish, her opening throw unbeaten through four rounds.
The day’s effort gave Su’emai another Youth Olympic Games qualifying mark, her form consistent over the last few months.
“I was just hoping to keep up the good work,” she said following the medal presentation. “I’m just happy that I executed it well.”
In a defiant performance late in the day, MJ Jansen Van Rensburg (WA) set a new meet record in the U18 boys 2000m steeplechase. Jansen Van Rensburg saluted to the crowd as he approached the finish line, setting a time of 5:50.58, ahead of Harvey Chilcott (Tas)and James Lightfoot (Vic).
The West Australian put the afterburners on heading into the final lap, quickly gaining distance on Lightfoot and Chilcott.
“I know I have a kick,” a confident Jansen Van Rensburg said. “Very few people can out-kick me in a distance run. If I’m with the front group in the last 300 metres I know I’ve got them.”
Younger brother, Jaco followed up with a bronze medal in the under 16 steeplechase.
In other highlights –
- Samuel Walker (Tas) set a new Australian record in the U16 boys para long jump, his new mark of 5.62m, surpassing the previous the old mark of 5.45m.
- A solo heat was no barrier for Sarah Jane Trevenar Clif (NSW), taking out the under 16 girls 800m para event.
- Elizabeth McMillen (NSW) finished with over 30 seconds advantage over her nearest rivals to win gold in the under 14 girls 3000m walk.
- One of the local favourites, Rose Pittman, got her campaign underway in the preliminary rounds of the under 18 girls 400m. The South Australian qualified fastest in 56.07, ahead of Queensland pair Emma Downey (56.37) and Cara Jardine (56.39). The final takes place on Saturday while Pittman will also compete in the 800m later in the meet.
For more information on the 2017 Australian All Schools Championships, including entry lists, the event timetable and results, please click here.