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St Albans Wrap

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1 St Albans Wrap on Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:59 pm


St Albans Gift Wrap 29th January 2011
The Victorian Athletic League journeyed into the Western Suburbs to conduct the St
Albans Gift meeting under clear skies, which gave way to a balmy evening with very
little wind. As usual the locals provided some additional commentary from over the
fence, which Cartha would love to provide also but is not suitable over a PA or in
front of the kiddies. A number of events were keenly contested (some weren’t) and it
was a great night of racing and entertainment for all in attendance.
120m Novice
As usual, the novice final was hotly contested with a field of runners keen to record
their first win in VAL ranks. Andrew McCabe, the strapping lad from Queensland,
was the one to triumph here, losing his novice status in a winning time of 12.91, with
NSW’s Tim Eschebach 2nd and the Victorian, Devon Eddy 3rd. This podium
encapsulated beautifully the suburb of St Albans with the podium being filled by a
rich mix of cultural diversity from the Eastern States of Australia.
120m Gift
Gavin O’Neil was an inspirational winner of the St Albans Gift, securing his first ever
Gift win in 18 years of professional running. Gav has been thereabouts on many
occasions throughout his career and it was fantastic to see him finally crack it for a
win. In 2nd place was the improving Matthew Mifsud, who has been close a couple of
times this season and is knocking down the door for a win. 3rd place was taken out by
Nick Magree. The winning time was 12.48.
120m Women
In the tightest of finishes, Katrina Buckingham prevailed by 7 thousandths of a second
from the local girl Megan McMahon in a time of 14.34, with the renowned sprinter
Celia Cosgriff filling 3rd place. At the 100m mark of this race there were 4 across the
track, however it was the finishing strength of the veteran, Buckingham that saw her
record her first win down the sprint track for a number of years.
400m Women
Recording her first victory over 400m was Trish Fox in a time 56.48. From the gun
she ran to win and did so in emphatic fashion from Marita Downes (formerly Irwin
for those who haven’t caught on yet) and Megan McMahon in 3rd place. **Please note
that the 2nd heat of this event was not a re-run of the exhibition 1500m walk that took
place at the inaugural St Albans Gift meeting 2 years earlier, it was in fact a heat of
the women’s 400m**

400m Open
On the tight bends of the St Albans track, it was like the charge of the light brigade
40m out in the 400 final. In a thrilling finish it was David Williamson who was the
victor in 49.02, with Adam Ratcliffe 2nd and the exciting young Lauchlan Dalgleish
3rd. With the Gift at Avondale Heights being a 400m, I’m sure some of these guys
will have gained some confidence from this run and be prominent next start.
120m RACV u20
With just .03 covering the first 3 runners in this final, it was a fantastic race to watch
and a wonderful piece of handicapping. The young filly Kate Jones was the runner to
come out on top in a winning time of 13.23, with Jack Lewis 2nd and the ultra
impressive Liam Dooley 3rd, running from scratch. It was great to see 4 quality heats
ran, with very few scratching, indicating that the next generation of VAL runners are
well and truly coming through.
300m Vets
If the final of the open 400m was like the charge of the light brigade, then the last
80m of this final was like the epic scenes of a Rambo movie. Avoiding all the rough
and tumble was Kathryn Heagney out the front who looked like she might have the
race sewn up, only to be collared late by the fast finishing Paul Viney and George
Saouma. In the end it was Viney saluting in a time of 37.27, with Saouma 2nd and
Heagney 3rd.
800m Open
The stewards were busy after the running of the 800mts open final when several
runners were questioned regarding their endeavour or lack thereof. Whilst the back of
the field were finding their positions the frontmarkers ,led by David Woods (80m) and
Mark Hipworth (76m) were striding confidently clear of the main bunch. At the 150
metre mark Hipworth surged clear of Woods and looked a certain winner only to
have Woods come back over the top and grab victory in the last stride. Dominic
Hoskins (34m) flashed home for third, just ahead of the consistent duo of Mark
Andrews (36m) and Justin Murphy (26m). The winning time was 1.57.3.

70m Open
Chris Diegan (6.25m) maintained his form throughout the heat, semi and final of the
open 70 metres on Saturday to win clearly from Liam Dooley (4.5m) and Tommy
Toskas (7.75m) in the time of 7.53. Chris had run the fastest heat time of 7.63
followed up with a 7.62 semi. Chris scored his first open win, having previously won
the novice at Northcote last season. Liam Dooley, having his first run for the season,
showed that last season’s novice win at St Albans was no fluke with a very
commendable second. Liam also ran a placing later in the evening in the RACV
120mts running off scratch.
1600m Novice
The Victorian Cross Country League novice 1600mts handicap was taken out by
Emily Ryde (340m) in the time of 4.22.1 from Michael Brown (230m) and Daniel
Veith (180m). Emily made her game plan obvious from the start when she rolled to
the front and set up a commanding lead and never looked like losing. Michael Brown
showed his best form with the VAL to run home strongly for second.
Emily, the twin sister of Michael, is in her first season with the Victorian Athletic
League and looks to have a promising career. By competing in the VCCL series
Emily is eligible to take her place in the final at Stawell. Michael Ryde was at St
Albans to cheer on his sister in her first win. Apparently, Michael still competes with
the VAL. We hope to see him in action shortly.
Avondale Height Gift - Saturday 5th February 2011

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