Catriona Bisset challenged her own national record with a front running 800m performance on the final day of the one-hundredth edition of the Australian Championships while Jessica Hull, Callum Davies and Torrie Lewis won their second gold medals.
Cover photo by Casey Sims for Athletics Australia
In her usual front running style Bisset set her sights on her personal best and national record of 1:58.09. Running confidently the 29-year-old fell just short, clocking the second fastest time of her career at 1:58.32. Ellie Sanford clocked another personal best for silver with a run of 2:00.50, while 2017 world championship representative Lora Roff clocked her fastest time in six years to take bronze in 2:04.43.
“When I was standing on the start line, I had more excitement and energy than I used to, and then going down the back straight, I went into another gear. I thought, let’s really pump this on the home straight and I really think I just made the extra second on the home straight than other races,” Bisset said.
Bisset said she had found some silver lining to an injury prior to her early season indoor campaign in Europe, where she ran a best of 1:59.83.
“I tore my hamstring three weeks before I left for Europe, and we decided to still go and make the most of it. It meant that it took a bit of time to build up. That’s why I think I ran my fastest today because each race, I was finding my feet again.”
Jessica Hull won the 5000m in clear fashion, stopping the clock at 15:05.87 to win by the length of the straight from Rose Davies and Leanne Pompeani. It capped a treble for the domestic season for the US based athlete, after winning the 1500m earlier in the meet and taking out the 3000m at the Sydney Track Classic.
“I did have a bit of an attempt at the Budapest standard of 14:47.50, I felt too good in the warm up not to try. It’s been a great weekend and very productive, it’s time to recover well and gear up for Europe,” Hull said.
In the men’s race Callum Davies kicked to victory in 13:52.82 to add the 5000m title to the 1500m he won the day before.
Callum Davies became the first man to win the 1500m/5000m double at an Australian national champs since Kenya's Paul Bitok in 1997. John Landy was the most recent Aussie to do it, albeit in its previous form, when he won the mile/three-mile double in 1956. @AthsAust @athsstats— Zachary Gates (@_zacharygates) April 2, 2023
Torrie Lewis added the 200m crown to her 100m title, finishing over the top of reigning champion Ella Connolly in a new personal best of 23.02 seconds (+0.8). Connolly clocked 23.16s while Tokyo Olympian Riley Day was third in 23.24 seconds.
“Well to be honest, I came in with super high hopes for the 100m and then I felt super unfit this season. The situation wasn’t the best coming into these Championships and for the 200m, I didn’t feel fit enough. To come in with that back end strength still there, I was pretty happy,” Lewis said.
“Queensland is the top sprinting state. Top three in the 100m and 200m so having all these girls for competition, and racing them every week, hopefully it motivates all those other sprinters to come up and race here too.”
Pre-race favourite Michelle Jenneke claimed her second national 100m hurdles title, running 12.77 seconds (-0.1) to beat Celeste Mucci (12.92) and Hannah Jones (12.99). With the World Championships qualifying mark under her belt, the win cemented her spot on the Australian team for this year’s World Championships in Budapest.
“I’m really happy with that. I think that was my fifth World Championships qualifier and I got the win at nationals, so that means I’ll go to Budapest and that’s very exciting,” Jenneke said.
“This is only my second national title. I competed for a long time against Sally Pearson so… a kind of a difficult one to beat. I think there is more in the tank though and we’ll see what we can do later on in the season.”
Kurtis Marschall also booked his seat to Budapest with a win the in pole vault. After clearing 5.80m the West Australian had the freak occurrence of his pole snapping on his first attempt at 5.90m, which would have been the highest bar he had ever cleared outdoors. Fortunately, there was no major injury, but Marschall called it a day.
“All I could tell is I was running in as fast as I bloody could, it’s the best I’ve ever hit a pole, the biggest pole I’ve jumped on and the next minute I’m laying on the mat, my leg is aching, my arm is aching and I’ve got half a pole in my hand,” Marschall told AAP’s John Salvado.
Brooke Buschkuehl carried over her form from the qualifying round (where she jumped 6.73m) to reclaim her long jump crown with a leap of 6.68m (-1.5). Alyssa Lowe (6.45m) and Annie McGuire (6.40m) took the other places on the podium while last year’s champion Samantha Dale finished outside of the medals in fourth place with a jump of 6.36m.
Nicola Olyslagers leapt to a comfortable win the high jump with a best clearance of 1.95m.
There was an upset victory in the 110m hurdles, with the form athlete all season, Jacob McCorry, being beaten to the line by the NSW pair of Mitchell Lightfoot and Nick Andrews. Lightfoot, 19, was a finalist in last year’s World Junior Championships and has transitioned to the higher 1.067m hurdles well in his first year in the open age group. His winning time of 13.65 seconds (+0.2) moves him to equal ninth on the Australian all-time list. New Zealand’s Joshua Hawkins was second across the line in 13.67 while Andrews clocked 13.69 and McCorry 13.79.
A new personal best, by a centimetre, was enough for Liam Adcock to finish atop the podium in the men’s long jump. Adcock’s 8.06m (-1.1) jump saw him finish ahead of training partners Jalen Rucker (8.02m) and Darcy Roper (7.98m) for a Gary Bourne coached podium.
Jake Doran backed up from 4th in the 100m to take out the 200m in a time of 20.81 seconds (-0.4), with an almost premature celebration as Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu finished fast to be just one-hundredth-of-a-second behind. Christopher Ius (20.87) and Mitchell O’Neill (20.91) took out the minor medals in the Australian title.
Riley McGown capped off a fine breakthrough season, winning the national 800m title with a strong finish in a time of 1:47.67.
The 400m hurdles saw a strong finish from Christopher Douglas to run away from Conor Fry off the last hurdle for a 50.15 win, while Sarah Carli won the women’s race by over a second-and-a-half in 56.56 seconds.
Tanielle Crase took out the Heptathlon from Tori West, 5960 points to 5909 points. Max Attwell of New Zealand was the winner of the Decathlon in 7588 points ahead of Alex Diamond (7535p).
Over 2,500 photos from the 100th Australian Championships courtesy of Fred Etter.
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Day 1 – 455 photos
Day 3 – 884 photos
Day 2 – 700 photos
Day 4 – 653 photos