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Hollingsworth sub-2 junior record highlights Maurie Plant Meet

Claudia Hollingsworth has broken through from talented junior to Olympic contention in winning the 800m at the Maurie Plant Meet in Melbourne.

Cover photo of the women’s 800m. Photo by Ben Levy.

Hollingsworth stopped the clock at 1:59.81 to set a new Australian U20 record and move to 7th on the Open Australian all-time list, beating home a field of Australia’s top two-lap runners.

“I’m just taking it race by race and seeing how far I can go. Each race I surprise myself which is what I’m aiming to do, but I’m always trying to go that step further,” Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth kicked into the lead down the home straight, running away from national record holder Catriona Bisset (third, 2:01.41) and passing the always strong Abbey Caldwell (second, 2:00.54) for an emphatic win.

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“I’ve never properly celebrated after a win before, but crossing that line all the emotions actually came out and recognising that winning is such an exciting feeling, especially with the atmosphere. It is pretty cool and pretty crazy.”

The performance sets up an enthralling rest of the season over two laps, following Caldwell’s dominant victory over the weekend in Adelaide (where Hollingsworth won the 1500m), while Bisset improved from her fifth place 2:03 and is running herself into some longer distance form after 53s 400m early season performances.

The men’s mile – named in honour of the great John Landy – put on a race deserving of the name. Stewart McSweyn took his first Maurie Plant Meet victory after a second place over 3000m last year, saluting to the sky in recognition of the impact Plant had on his early career.

McSweyn clocked 3:52.00 to win from 2022 world champion Jake Wightman (3:52.11) while 17-year-old Cameron Myers continued to impress just behind in third with 3:52.44. It was a personal best for Myers and a new Australian U20 record, surpassing his own mark set a year ago.

“It’s hugely important, it’s such an honor to run in a meet named after Maurie. To have a massive crowd here is justice to what Maurie meant to the sport. Hopefully it just keeps building year to year,” McSweyn said.

“It was a tough race with great competition. I wanted to make sure I performed and that was a good hitout to start the season.” 

On a night for middle distance and distance running Rose Davies took 10 seconds off her personal best to become the fourth Australian to break 15 minutes over 5000m, winning in 14:57.74 seconds. In a closely fought race Isobel Batt-Doyle stepped back onto the track following her breakthrough 2:23:27 marathon in December and was just behind Davies in second place, with a new personal best of 14:59.18.

Jack Rayner took out the men’s race in 13:16.34.

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Nicola Olyslagers set a new Lakeside Stadium track record in winning the high jump, clearing 1.99m before bowing out a her attempts at 2.01m.

Evergreen Kathryn Mitchell took out the javelin in 62.12m, beating New Zealand’s Tori Peeters who threw 57.35m for second.

For the second time within a week New Zealand’s Connor Bell had the better of Matt Denny in the discus, with a narrow 65.18m to 65.09m win.

Consigned to ‘pre meet’ status, the men’s triple jump saw Connor Murphy hop, step and jump into the top 10 on the Australian all-time list with a legal 16.82m into a 0.4 m/s headwind. The 22-year-old’s winning leap in the competition was even further, 16.87m, albeit wind-assisted with a 2.6 m/s wind.

It wasn’t a night for fast sprinting times in Melbourne, but Rohan Browning nonetheless showed his class in winning the 100m/200m double with runs of 10.34 (-0.9) and 20.80 (-1.5).

New Zealand record holder Zoe Hobbs got the better of Australian record holder Torrie Lewis in the 100m, with a 11.34 to 11.40 victory (-1.2). The 200m was taken out by Victorian junior, Jessica Milat, in 23.63s (-2.9 m/s), one-hundredth-of-a-second ahead of New Zealand’s Georgia Hulls.

The men’s 110m hurdles saw an equal PB from Tayleb Willis (13.79s, 0.0 m/s), while Liz Clay returned to her winning ways in her comeback from injury, taking out the women’s race in 13.02s (+0.3) ahead of Michelle Jenneke (13.12s).

Other winners on the night were:

  • New Zealand’s Hamish Kerr in the high jump with 2.25m
  • Italy’s Daisy Osakue with 61.57m in the discus
  • Christopher Mitrevski with a windy 7.96m (+2.1) in the long jump
  • New Zealand’s James Preston in the 800m with 1:46.02
  • Brooke Buschkuehl won the long jump in 6.51m (+2.8)

Check out our photo gallery from the meet, with thanks to Ben Levy.

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