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PROTRACK » GENERAL » St Albans wrap

St Albans wrap

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1 St Albans wrap on Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:14 am

BMara


St Albans Gift 18th January 2014
The week leading up to the St Albans carnival saw record high temperatures but by Saturday evening, as the athletics began, the weather was the coolest for the week. Athletics under lights is always a highlight and the atmosphere created by the venue is second to none on the VAL calendar. The club provided ample officials and helpers for the carnival to be well run and enabled the night to finish on time after an early delay. The ground was in excellent condition and the lighting gives great viewing for spectators. Olympian Melissa Breen conducted a clinic for the local Little Athletics club and gave the kids some insights of the requirements to compete at the highest level.                            Thanks must go to Terry McGarity who, not for the first time, came to the aid of the VAL as the backup race caller.
800 metres Leisure Pools Open Handicap
After four closely contested heats of the 800 metres, the final was sure to be a tough even affair with the likely winner to be anyone of at least six runners. However, that all changed when the final draw showed that David Haigh (58m) would be carrying the red jacket. Haigh, already with his Sandringham estate walls adorned with winning photos, all with the red jacket, produced his “A” game for a most convincing win. Haighy who once famously said “if at first you don’t succeed, get the red jacket” went into the final with a heat time of 2.01.9 but improved to run 1.58.96. As expected, David sat well back off the leaders for the majority of the race but gradually worked into a striking position with 150 metres to travel. From then on it was all over as he produced his customary “dash for cash”, rounding up the leaders on the home turn, straightened the jacket, brushed the hair for the photo and crossed the finish line well clear. Haigh defeated Craig Harris (80m), Wayne James (108m) and Chris Brown (106m) producing his best effort for the season with a solid fourth.   David, was last seen pursued through the streets of St Albans by an angry “colour tent lady” seeking return of the red jacket.
70 metres Mayday Open Handicap
The first eleven of the 70 metre heats were even with Iain Douglas (4.75m) having the fastest time of 7.73 marginally over a group of athletes recording times around the 7.80 mark. However heat twelve, the final heat, saw Lawrence Coop (10.5m) produce a time of 7.67, setting a time clear  of those earlier, and clear favourite for the final. Lawrence proceeded through the semi finals with a run of 7.64, leaving the other semi final winners Dominic Hoskins (7.5m) and Douglas, both running 7.70, with work to do. However in the final, with all contestants losing time, Hoskins was able to record his first “straight” win in a close finish with a time of 7.79. Hoskins, for so long a class “circle” performer, is turning his hand to more sprint races and is sure to be competitive in future events. Coop finished a close second with Iain Douglas in third place.
120m Nu Trans Novice Handicap
The novice ranks have never been stronger with seven heats conducted at St Albans and many rising stars likely to emerge over the coming seasons. William Kerr (13.5m ) narrowly clocked the fastest heat at 13.05 but had plenty of competition from Fraser Heard (12.25m & 13.09) and Brendon Glidden-Green (9m & 13.12). Nick Repalust (7m) is another young sprinter showing good form in the lesser events, winning his heat in 13.25. In the final it was Heard who was to come out on top with a good win in 13.04 defeating Kerr by less than a metre with Hamish Adams (12.5m), making the final as the quickest second, finishing in third spot.                                                                                              For so long a winner of a novice race has been “thrown to the wolves” as they stepped up to open class racing, often not ready for the increase in competition or pressure. With the introduction of many more age events the transition can still be gradual. As with Fraser, the winner of an underage event for which he is still remains eligible.
120 metres O’Brien Electrical Women’s Open.
Sarah Blizzard (12.75m), always competitive in the women’s events, crossed the line inches to the good of Kasey Moore (15m) in an exciting finish to the women’s final. Kasey recorded the fastest of the heats with a 14.28, a time she maintained in the final but Sarah was able to improve on her 14.4 heat for a 14.25 final effort. Jacqueline McCann (13.25m), extremely consistent in the women’s sprints was in third place. Sarah is coached by Marcus Cooper at Ararat.
120 metres Brimbank City Council Gift
Nathan Riali (5.75m) having a standout sprinting season, once again looked the runner to beat in the St Albans Brimbank City Council gift final when he recorded the fastest heat time of 12.78. In the second semi final Nathan continued on with his good work to improve his time to 12.7 but was hotly pursued by David Fenollar (10m) with a time of 12.67. The remaining semi final was won by another sprinter in top form Luke Stevens (5m) with a time of 12.88. The final was a close affair with Fenollar and Riali going to the line locked together. After much delay the judges gave the nod to Fenollar with a time of 12.771, against Riali’s 12.785. Cam Dunbar (7.25m) finished in third place just a few inches in front of Luke Stevens. In the final Luke Versace, making only his second gift final since running third in the Stawell Gift of 2005, ran a solid fifth. New trainer Brad Armstrong has got his stable star racing in great form, both up the straight and around the circle.                                      David Fenollar is coached by John Henry who had three of the six gift finalists.
400 metres Under 17 VRTA Handicap  
The under 17s 400 metres was by no means a major event on the St Alban’s program but never the less it was an important race in the cycle of events in Victorian Athletic League history. Barrie Milligan, a VAL life member, and his son David have been a part of the VAL landscape for many, many years and on Saturday night the next generation of Milligan’s crossed the line for a maiden win. Lachlan Milligan(54m) won his heat by “panels” in 52.2 with the opposition running for cover as the second heat could only muster a 54.16 from Ben Boatman (48m). In the final Ben maintained his form with another solid effort but could not match the run of Milligan and the winning time of 51.72.  Jessica Payne, enjoying a great season, finished in third place. Lachlan is coached by the Milligan’s, not sure which one or how many but they all looked very happy with the night’s work.
Lachlan’s win highlighted the changing times in the VAL as both Barrie and David, in their day, would have shuddered at the thought of a runner winning an event so early in his career. Often an early win by a young promising runner would send the rumour mill into over drive and cause the handicappers to sharpen their red pens. Thankfully things have changed and Lachlan with many others like him, can now gradually work their way through to open class racing, enjoying the process.    
300 metres Ascot Vale Sports & Trophy Women’s
Anna Pasquali (24m) turned the tables on Steph Mollica (8m) in the final of the women’s 300 metres on Saturday night. In their heat they went to the finish line together with Steph just holding a slender margin in 40.95. With both making it through to the final Anna charged to the front on the home turn with Mollica finishing hard down the outside, but just failing by inches. Kasey Moore (22m) and Danielle McDowell(39m) were close up for the third placing with the winning time being 40.66.        It was great to welcome Anne Fiedler back to racing with the VAL. Anne (Fearnley) was one of the girls, along with others such as Sue Carr, Kim Holloway and the Parkes sisters that kept the women’s races competitive when numbers were scarce.
300 metres St Alban’s Sports Club Veterans’
In the veterans’ final Robert Lehmann (6m) came with a barnstorming run from his tight back mark to snatch the victory from Dale Jones (60m). Rob, away from the VAL scene for a couple of years, has began this current season in fine form, making finals most weekends, Saturday nights event his first win. Dale Jones had clocked the fastest of the six heats with a good run of 36.89 but had plenty of challengers with his dangers running times in the mid 37 second range. The winner, carrying the red jacket, raced hard early from his handicap to pass a couple of runners early before taking a sit down the back straight. Approaching the home turn Lehmann let loose with his speed advantage to swoop past the leaders in the last few strides. The winning time was 37.33 and the margin 3/100 ths of a second. John Mackay (24m) finished third just a margin to John Harvey(42m). Rob trains a small team of athletes in Ballarat.
Victorian Cross Country League 1600m novice.
Novice Geelong distance runner, John Hockley-Samon, looked a likely type for a promising VAL future with an authoritative win in the St Albans heat of the Victorian Cross Country League series. John quickly looked the runner to beat as he attacked the event from the start and raced past the early leader, Jessica O’Hara (320m) after the bell. Hockley-Samon opened up a handy lead with the only interest, besides the close battle for second, the margin. Eventually the margin was in excess of 30 metres and Drew Kowalski (160m) “nailed” Rilyn Moseby for second on the line. Jessica O’Hara was inches away in fourth place. The winning time was 4.28.2. Hockley-Samon will now progress to open 1600 metre handicaps but is qualified for the novice series final at Stawell on Easter Sunday.
400 metres Kennards Hire Open Handicap
Iain Douglas (12m) produced the run of the meeting when he carried the red jacket to victory in the 400 metres open final. In his heat Douglas recorded a time of 49.28, well within striking distance of the quicker qualifiers, Lawrence Coop (46m) and Ryan McNamara (20m) both with times in low 49 seconds . In the final Iain produced a devastating burst of speed down the back straight to have the race won at the half way point and won as he liked in the home straight. His final winning time was 48.65 with Coop finishing second and Wade Girotto (50m) hanging onto third. Douglas is coached by Scott Rowsell.
1600 metres Caltex Open Handicap
Luke Searle (100m) and Jesse Noden (195m) staged a stirring battle over the last hundred metres of the open “mile’ on Saturday night with the sash going to Luke by a slender margin. Shane Thiele (95m) flashed home to “steal” third, leaving Martine Beer (350m) a few dollars poorer in fourth place. Tayla Sproule (345m) ran a great race to hang onto fifth. At the bell Luke was well back in seventh or eighth place but surged down the back straight to be fifth at the 200 metres, running home very solidly. At that stage Jesse Noden was the only danger but Searle proved a little too strong in the run to the finish. Luke seems to have an affinity for the north western suburbs with his last three wins being St Albans and dual wins at Avondale Heights.

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