National titles and personal bests keep Wellington athletes happy
By Dave Crampton
It was a great all-round day for Wellington athletes on day two of the Jennian Homes National Track and Field championships at Porritt Stadium in Hamilton, with national titles in all divisions and another New Zealand record.
It was getting to the stage where everywhere you looked, someone from Wellington was medalling.
The national titles continued in the high jump where Wellington won two more medals, to take the total high jump tally to four, after yesterday’s titles.
Keeley O`Hagan easily took out the senior women high jump in 1.77m, winning back the title she last took in 2015 after a two-year break from nationals. It was 5cm higher than Josephine Reeves cleared in the U18 division the previous day. O’Hagan started with 1.73m and was the only one to clear 1.77m. So, after two jumps, she had the title as she cleared both on her first attempt before missing her 1.81m pb. The only other athlete to clear 1.73m on her first attempt was Imogen Skelton, who got a silver medal in her first senior event with a season best jump.
O`Hagan who looked relaxed, has gone higher, clearing 1.80m recently, so was pleased with the title knowing she can jump higher.
“I’m really happy I’ve got the title – but it gives my support team more to work on this season,” she said.
Skelton, who has the U20 high jump on Sunday before heading to Australia, was pleased to medal in her first senior event after the work she has put in.
“I’ve been doing a lot of speed work – it’s pretty cool.”
Alex Haye upgraded his 2016 junior 400m title to the senior one in 2018, winning in 47.63sec, from fellow Wellingtonians Josh Ledger (47.68 sec) and Jacob Matson (48.08 sec) – see separate story on Wellington’s 400m athletes.
The event prior, Libby Leikis got her second New Zealand para record, taking two seconds off her personal best, clocking77.80 in her 400m race, after breaking her 100m New Zealand record yesterday. Both Leikis and Haye will be contesting the 200m tomorrow and Leikis also holds the national para record in her T37 division.
“Two races, two pbs, two NZ records – if I pb in that tomorrow, it’s three records,” she said.
Mikael Starzynski also won his 400m event, winning the U18 400m in 49.80 seconds, achieving his long-held goal of getting under the 50 second barrier.
“I`ve been waiting two years to go under 50 seconds, I’ve finally broken that,” he said after the race. “I set out to do that and I`m glad I did.”
Rowan Blaikie followed in the U20 event clocking 49.81 seconds for third place – just 0.01 behind Starzynski’s time.
In throwing events, Amania Mafi also collected two medals – a silver in the U18 shot put (13.38m) and a bronze in the U18 discus with 34.80m.
Like Haye, Cam Robinson also upgraded his national title – the U18 national javelin title won at his first nationals last year - easily winning the U20 event this year with a throw of 63.42m, more than 8m clear of the field in a small headwind. All his throws were over 60m.
“I’m hoping to throw a lot further tomorrow,” he said of his entry in the senior men’s event. He is currently ranked third in the country for the javelin.
“It’s not ideal throwing conditions as there’s a bit of a headwind,” his coach Debbie Strange added. “He can throw a long way.”
Wellington got two medals in the U18 100m hurdles, with Roderick Solo second and Hamish Lock third. Solo also got a silver in the triple jump with 13.13m Brendan Barnett jumped 7.2m with a 2.6 head wind to get silver medal in the senior men’s long jump.
In the 800m, both Max Spencer and James Preston collected silver medals in the U20 and senior events respectively, clocking 1:52.48 sec and 1:50.01. Preston is top qualifier in Sunday’s 1500m event with Hamish Carson and Nathan Tse also among the top six qualifiers.
Spencer who also came second last year in the U18 division, was four seconds faster this year. “I was really happy -I’ve clipped off three seconds in the space of three weeks.”
The championships conclude tomorrow.
Full day One and Two results are here .