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PROTRACK » SAAL RESULTS » Crawford makes it four from three (Pre-Bay review)

Crawford makes it four from three (Pre-Bay review)

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Crawford makes it four from three

Flagstaff Hill athletic squad’s Ben Crawford won his fourth race in three meets as he stormed home to win the Pre-Bay 550m at Colley Reserve, Glenelg on Sunday. In his best start to a SA Athletic League season, Crawford added the 550m sash to his recent 800m/1600m double at Whyalla and the Sacred Heart 3200m he won last week.

The versatility of the winning distances provides a healthy dilemma for the John LeRay trained distance runner when he returns to Colley Reserve for the Bay Sheffield carnival on December 27/28. Crawford has the pick of the 550m, 800m or the 1600m at the Bay Sheffield.

“I’ll wait until the marks (handicaps) come out before deciding what to target at the Bay”, Crawford said.

Running off a handicap of 45 metres, Crawford made his move on the home turn where he sped around the bend to reign in the leader, Simon Thompson (62m) to burst clear and hold off Michael Nitschke (38m) and Kostya Khudoshin (30m) in a time of 1min 12.13secs.

The Pre-Bay carnival is the traditional Colley Reserve warm up meet before the Bay Sheffield and offers athletes the chance to compete on the track before the Bay Sheffield carnival.

One of those athletes thankful for the opportunity was 120m Gift winner Tom Sclanders, whose indifferent form early this season due to chronic shin soreness allowed him to test the legs on the spongy kikuyu track before the Bay. It was Sclanders’ first win over the traditional sheffield distance this season, following on from his 300m wins at Port Adelaide and Whyalla.

Sclanders (6.50m) scorched the opposition winning by 2m from Sacred Heart Gift winner Clay Watkins (3.25m) and Camden’s James Cibich (6.75m) in 12.84secs.

The feature women’s event over 70m was a shoot out between the three in-form sprinters of the SA Athletic League to see which would stake her claim for the Bay Sheffield. Whyalla winner Natasha Wright, Lucy Buckley who has placed in every meet contested and Yasmin Openshaw who won over 120m at Henley and Sacred Heart all made it through to the final. In the end it was Openshaw (9.50m) who announced herself as Bay Sheffield favourite, proving too good to decisively win from Buckley (9.50m) and Wright (1.50m) in 8.61secs.

After recent wins over 550m and 400m in Victoria, Young Guns Track Squad’s Simon Thompson won his firs SA sash this season with a surprise victory in the 70m open. Thompson (8.75m) won by 0.5m from McKinnon Parade’s Adrian Harris (6.00m) and Camden’s James Cibich (5.75m) in 7.96secs.

Matthew Konetschka won his first sash when he took out the 1600m open. Konetschka (160m) was challenged in the straight by Ben Crawford (135m) but was determined to break through for a much deserved win. Crawford just missed adding the 1600m to his 550m win, to finish 2nd with AFL boundary umpire Shane Thiele (120m) 3rd. The winner’s time of 4mins 08.76secs reflected the tough windy conditions.

Flinders’ athlete Courtney Ryder won a memorable 550m/1600m Colley Reserve double. Ryder (310m) won the 1600m from team mates Tasmin McMahon (80m) and Melissa Lloyd (100m) in 4mins 42.89secs to make it a Flinders trifecta.

Later in the day Ryder (102m) returned to the track to win the 550m from Camden’s Anthea Kotyla (112m) and backmarker Katherine Robb (50m) in 1min 20.73secs.

In the junior events, Camden’s Kyle Roberts won the Under 14’s 550m; backmarker Sam Russell stormed home to win the Under 20’s 550m; Jess Rafanelli won his first sash taking out the Under 17’s 70m and Lachlan Sheffield, son of a dual Bay Sheffield finalist - Charles Sheffield impressively won the Under 20’s 120m final.

The only two females in the final, Sue Turner and Lyn Peake fought out the finish of the Over 45’s 120m with Turner just tipping out Peake while McKinnon Parade’s Mark “Hollywood” Howson was a popular winner of the Over 35’s 550m.

"Let's Go While We're Young"


Pre-Bay Review features in the Southern Times Messenger.

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