Reversing the sprints down the back straight and a warm Melbourne night created the conditions for the fastest 200m runs ever at Lakeside Stadium, albeit wind assisted, at last night’s Melbourne Track Classic.
Ella Connolly continued her dominance during the domestic season, taking the 200m out in 22.61 seconds, with the strongest tailwind of the night at 4.0 m/s. She beat home teenager Torrie Lewis (22.96) and fellow Queenslander Bree Masters (23.09).
“It’s been a tough three years with various injuries but I’m happy to be back racing and so consistently,” the 21-year-old said.
“The wind certainly helped us a lot out there, but it also helps having such an amazing field. All the girls are running really well and that helps produce quick times.”
Earlier in the program, in the B-race run from the traditional starting point, Jacinta Beecher won in 22.96 seconds with a 3.2 m/s tailwind. One suspects that will be her last B-race of the season!
The men’s 200m saw a teenage victory, but an upset of who delivered it, with Queensland’s Calab Law running 20.50 seconds (+2.2) to beat South Australia’s Aidan Murphy (20.67).
The track records at Lakeside Stadium are 20.65 (Alonso Edwards, 2015) and 23.02 (Sally Pearson, 2012).
With the running down the back straight, the 100m races were split into two timed finals. Fastest was 2018 Stawell Gift winner Jacob Despard in 10.11 seconds with a 3.4 m/s tailwind ahead of Joshua Azzopardi (10.18).
In the B-race 18-year-old Queenslander Jai Gordon had the fortune of a legal wind – at 1.8 m/s – and ran a new personal best of 10.34 seconds.
The women’s 100m was taken out by Celeste Mucci in 11.49 seconds (+1.7) by one-hundredth-of-a-second from Taylah Cruttenden, while Ebony Lane (11.52, +1.3) was also impressive in winning the other heat.
The depth of female sprinting – despite not all top names being present – was evident at the close of the program in the 4x100m. An Australian quartet of Torrie Lewis, Ella Connolly, Bree Masters and Mia Gross clocked the third fastest performance ever by an Australian team with a run of 43.15 seconds. It ranks behind the national record of 42.99 seconds from 2000 (Rachel Massey, Suzanne Broadrick, Jodie Lambert and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor), and a 43.11 from June last year featuring an almost entirely different line-up of Taylah Cruttenden, Bree Masters, Riley Day and Hana Basic.
The men’s 4x100m quartet of Will Roberts, Jake Doran, Jacob Despard and Jack Hale ran 39.30 seconds, holding off an Australian U20 team of Sebastian Sultana, Jai Gordon, Calab Law and Aidan Murphy, who were a tenth of a second outside the national junior record at 39.47 seconds.
In the field a last ditch effort from Mackenzie Little took victory in the javelin ahead of Kelsey-Lee Barber. Little threw 61.13m to Barber’s 60.31m.
“I competed at State Championships and it wasn’t my best at all,” Little said.
“But this here was maybe my most consistent competition ever, and I’m really happy with being able to build on my throws. That’s something I’ve really been working on; getting some of that endurance and being able to throw throughout the six.”
In the long jump Chris Mitrevski rode an illegal tailwind to a 8.22m leap (+2.5), also recording a personal best of 8.11m (+0.2) when the wind died down.
Samantha Dale continued her ascent in the women’s event, jumping 6.72m, where unfortunately the wind reading wasn’t recorded.
Mick Stanovsek took out the inaugural John Landy Memorial Mile, fittingly with a sub-four performance of 3:59.45. The women’s metric mile saw Abbey Caldwell control the race and hold off a fast finishing Natalie Rule for a 4:09.07 to 4:09.13 victory. Sarah Billings was third in 4:09.73.
In the steeplechase Japanese visitor Kosei Yamaguchi was victorious in 8:27.74 from South Australian duo Max Stevens (8:30.90) and Matthew Clarke (8:43.96). Brielle Erbacher won the women’s race in a close contest with Georgia Winkcup, pulling away over the final 200m for a winning time of 9:39.79.
Other action included:
- New Zealand’s Portia Bing winning the 400m hurdles in 55.76 seconds
- New South Wales’ Mark Fokas taking out the 400m hurdles in 51.31 seconds
- New Zeland’s James Preston winning a tight 800m race in 1:47.39
- Damien Birkinhead returning to the shot put circle with a 18.38m victory
- Cam McEntyre winning the javelin with a throw of 75.92m
- The Australian Athletics Instagram Elite: Top Influencers of 2023In the age of social media, athletes have a unique platform to share their journeys, inspire fans, and promote their sport. Australian athletics is no exception.
- 10 things to know about this summer athletics season2024 is an Olympic year and all eyes for Australia’s athletes will be on qualifying for Paris.
- La route de Paris – 300 days until the athletics at the Olympic GamesCheck out which Australians are on track to compete in the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad in the French capital.
- Hull caps sensational year with 5th place in RigaJess Hull has finished a marathon length season with fifth place in the Mile at the World Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia.
- 800m records at NSW All SchoolsIvy Boothroyd and Daniel Williams recorded the fastest 800m times in the 87 year history of the NSW All Schools Championships.