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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Ararat athletes looking for Stawell success

Ararat athletes looking for Stawell success

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1 Ararat athletes looking for Stawell success on Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:02 pm

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http://www.araratadvertiser.com.au/news/local/sport/athletics/locals-chase-gift-glory/2141171.aspx?storypage=0

Locals chase Gift glory
by JESSIE ANTONIO
Ararat Advertiser
21 Apr, 2011


ARARAT - Seven Ararat runners will be part of the action at Central Park this weekend when they travel to Stawell to contest the 2011 Gift.

In-form sprinter Lauchlan Dalgleish will lead the Ararat contingent which also includes Tyson Carr, Lachie Malloy, Sarah Blizzard and Tiffany and Julia Boatman and their coach Marcus Cooper.

All athletes have been in training since the beginning of the Victorian Athletic League season and have competed at a number of Gifts over the past six months.

Cooper said he had been impressed with the form of his charges who have been winning their way through to finals on a regular basis.

"I'm really enjoying coaching," he said.

"I am training a lot of sprinters at the moment and there are a few more that are not quite up to competing at the Stawell Gift just yet.

"There are also a few good distance runners coming up that we are keeping on ice."

Dalgleish has been among the top performers in the Cooper stable, however an interrupted lead up to this weekend's carnival will force him to work extra hard for a spot in the finals.

"Lauchie has been playing a lot of football for the (North Ballarat) Rebels so he just got back into block work," Cooper said.

"He will probably be off a little bit but he could sneak through a heat. He should be okay, he will be amongst it."

A newcomer to the running circuit, Dalgleish has had success at Terang, Maryborough, St Albans and Ararat in his debut season.

The prestigious Stawell Gift will be the ultimate test for the youngster who has already impressed against some of Australia's best competitors.

Cooper will also compete in the heats of the 120 metre foot race on Saturday after a two year break from the event.

"I have entered in the Gift because I haven't run it for a couple of years and I thought now would be a good time," he said.

"I had an injury for a little while, about a month and a half ago when the Ararat Gift was on and I didn't perform well.

"I recently made the final at St Bernards and came fourth so I thought I would enter."

Cooper and Dalgleish will have an opportunity to warm up for the main race when they kick off their campaigns with the 70 metre open heats.

The pair will compete off handicaps of 7.5 metres and 5.25 metres respectively and will be joined by Carr off 7.0.

Cooper, a seasoned competitor, will be Ararat's only representative in the 100 metre veterans' event.

He has enjoyed an impressive career spanning many years and will be aiming for a win on Stawell soil.

Ararat's female sprinters will have their chance to shine when they line up in the 120 metre ladies' race against rivals from across the country.

Blizzard has been given a handicap of 11.75 metres, while both Tiffany and Julia Boatman will race off 13.25 metres.

Cooper said he expected the trio to record strong times.

"The girls have been in good form and are running really well," he said.

"They haven't raced for nearly four weeks because there hasn't been anything on, but before that they were making the finals and giving it a good go."

Fellow Ararat runner Corey Heard was set to compete in the 120 metre novice but has been forced to withdraw due to injury

Carr, Blizzard and the Boatman sisters will now fly the flag for the Ararat team in Heard's main event.

Malloy will get in on the action in the 400 metre back markers' race, along with Dalgleish.

Cooper said Malloy was showing strong promise in the event.

"Lachie Malloy is going to be, well he already is, a very good 400 metre runner," he said.

"I can't wait to see how he goes next year. He's a great sprinter."

Tiffany Boatman, Julia Boatman and Blizzard will wrap up their campaigns with the 400 metre ladies' heats, while the 300 metres veterans' race will be Cooper's final event of the carnival.

Cooper said he would be urging all his runner to enjoy the atmosphere of their first Stawell Gift.

"I'll be telling them to go there and enjoy their running. There is no pressure, because I am not expecting them to win.

"There are plenty of people who have been trying to win at Stawell for years. You would be a freak if you won on your first time."

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