Images by Luke Hemer, courtesy of Stawell Gift
The feature 120m gift races at the Stawell Gift are still open for the taking, with some impressive heat runs but no definitive favourite.
The fastest five heat winners in the Change Our Game Women’s Gift were within a tenth-of-a-second of each other, with Victorian hurdler Danielle Shaw the fastest at 13.64 seconds, running off a mark of 5.5m. Carla Bull (6m, 13.65s), Olivia Hastings (7.75m, 13.69s), Jessica Payne (4.75m, 13.70s) and 2015 Stawell Gift winner Grace O’Dwyer (7.75m, 13.73s).
“The Australian Championships have finished now, and I always wanted to come to Stawell,” said Shaw.
“The atmosphere is amazing. We don’t get these crowds at Nationals or any big meet that we have so it is really good to see all the support.”
Of the back markers, Bree Masters (scratch) was the fastest in 13.78s, while fellow scratch-marker Torrie Lewis also won her heat in 13.97s. Mia Gross (0.75m, 13.80s) and Taylah Cruttenden (1.75m, 13.88s) also won donning the red vest.
In the men’s Gift it looks to be a race in two, with NSW pro-runner Hamish Lindstrom (7.75m, 12.06s) and a comfortable performance from Harrison Kerr (9.25m, 12.09s) a tenth-of-a-second clear of any other heat winner.
“I’m pretty happy with that performance, it’s an honour coming in as one of the favourites as this is such a big event,” said Lindstrom.
“I’m happy to be in the position I wanted to be, just need to execute on the day now.”
Jacob Despard (1.25m) was the closest of any of the back markers to winning his heat, with less than one-hundredth-of-a-second separating him from Connor Loughnan (5m) after a desperate lunge at the line. Scratch runner Eddie Osei-Nketia just missed out on a heat win behind Tom Griffin (9.75m) by a similar margin.
National champion Jake Doran (0.5m) finished third in his heat in 12.55s, two-tenths-of-a-second behind Endale Mekkonen (8.5m, 12.33s).
The semi-finals and finals take place on Easter Monday.
- Heat 1: Danielle Shaw (5.5m) 13.64s
- Heat 2: Mia Gross (0.75m) 13.80s
- Heat 3: Carla Bull (6m) 13.65s
- Heat 4: Taylah Cruttenden (1.75m) 13.88s
- Heat 5: Olivia May (11m) 14.00s
- Heat 6: Ellie Whittingham (6.75m) 14.43s
- Heat 7: Grace O’Dwyer (7.75m) 13.73s
- Heat 8: Olivia Hastings (7.75m) 13.69s
- Heat 9: Amelie Burge (7m) 14.09s
- Heat 10: Jessica Payne (4.75m) 13.70s
- Heat 11: Cassandra Wang Iecouteur (7m) 13.89s
- Heat 12: Bella Pasquali (8m) 13.90s
- Heat 13: Bree Masters (scratch) 13.78s
- Heat 14: Torrie Lewis (scratch) 13.97s
- Heat 1: Hamish Lindstrom (7.75m) 12.06s
- Heat 2: Harrison Kerr (9.25m) 12.09s
- Heat 3: Corey Baker (7.25m) 12.42s
- Heat 4: Jesse McKenna (6.25m) 12.23s
- Heat 5: Duncan Cameron (5.75m) 12.38s
- Heat 6: Nicholas Antonino (9.5m) 12.26s
- Heat 7: Will Johns (4.5m) 12.49s
- Heat 8: Tom Griffin (9.75m) 12.27s
- Heat 9: Endale Mekonnen (8.5m) 12.33s
- Heat 10: Jesse Cordoma (8.5m) 12.31s
- Heat 11: Chris Vi (10m) 12.54s
- Heat 12: Aidan Green (7m) 12.29s
- Heat 13: Kyle Niccolussi (5m) 12.31s
- Heat 14: Connor Loughnan (5m) 12.36s
- Heat 15: Amanat Chaman (6m) 12.86s
- Heat 16: Kieran Gordon (6.75m) 12.27s
- Heat 17: Hasper Nettlefold (7.25m) 12.38s
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