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Zoe Hobbs Record Breaking Run!

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Cross Country & Road

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Keegan Pitcher – Para Athlete

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Anna Steven – Para Athlete T64

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Kaia Tupu-South

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2020 Cross Country & Road Season

29 March 2021 • Announcement

Zoe Hobbs - the highlight of the 2021 Jennian Homes Athletics NZ Track & Field Championships

Zoe Hobbs ignited the opening of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships in Hastings to secure victory in a red hot women’s 100m final by equalling the national record with a scintillating time of 11.32 (+1.4m/s).

All season, the 23-year-old Aucklander has been knocking on the door of Michelle Seymour’s long-standing New Zealand record mark and today aided by a healthy – but crucially legal – tailwind at Mitre 10 Park she chipped 0.02 from her previous best time to match Seymour’s mark set in Melbourne 28 years ago.

Hobbs, who also set a record equalling fifth successive national women’s 100m title – to match the mark of Kim Robertson (1976-80), said:  “It feels so good. I’ve been working all season (for this) and I’m stoked to take it on the last race of the season.

“I’ve been working all season to get that start right, typically it is a strong part of my race – it felt good in the heat and it was nice to execute it (in the final),” said Hobbs who also lowered her New Zealand resident record by 0.02.

“It is a relief, although it is bittersweet because it would have been nice to get that outright record. It will be nice to take that next step – the outright record is now only 0.01 away.”

Following her magnificent resurgence at the Sir Graeme Douglas International in Auckland when she produced her longest throw for five years, Dame Valerie Adams was a little disappointed with her performance en route to a record equalling 17th national shot title.

The 36-year-old ten-time global champion struggled to find her rhythm from four weeks ago and today had to be satisfied with a best of 18.43m – achieved in the sixth and final round.

Maddison Wesche, national champion in 2019, was also a little below-par – achieving 17.38m for silver.

Adams, who matched the record of Val Young as a 17-time national shot champion, said: “It’s really awesome to win title number 17 tonight but I’m really gutted with how I performed. But that’s the name of the game, you have to perform to the very best you can. We have to adopt a good attitude and take it on the best we can.”

Jayden Williamson (Auckland) grabbed silver on countback from Marcus Wolton (Canterbury) 2.02m in the battle for the other medals.

Portia Bing secured a fourth successive national 400m hurdles title but was a little below a high level of expectations, recording 57.57. The Aucklander had set a New Zealand resident record of 55.99 in Hamilton to raise hopes she could endanger her national record of 55.86 or even threaten the automatic Olympic qualification mark of 55.40.

However, with a strong wind down the back straight to contend with, that challenge was always unlikely but the former heptathlete had the consolation of banking yet another national title.

Anthony Nobilo banked a third successive national hammer title with a season’s best of 63.80m. The 21-year-old rose to the challenge to finish comfortably clear of fellow Aucklander Anthony Barmes (56.12m) with Todd Bates (Otago) edging Harpeet Singh by 4cm with a best of 54.72m.

Kaia Tupu-South (Auckland), who earlier in the day won the women’s U20 discus, completed the double with victory in the U20 shot, courtesy of a 15.53m effort.

Camryn Smart meanwhile emulated the feats of her well-known mother, Toni Hodgkinson, some 26 years on to be crowned senior national 400m champion.

The talented 19-year-old has made a huge improvement during the 2021 summer campaign and chose the perfect moment to slice 0.15 from her PB to strike gold from flat-mate and fellow former Motueka High School student Isabel Neal, who took silver in 54.74. Canterbury’s Jordyn Blake took bronze in 55.09.

An elated Smart, whose mum reached the 1996 Olympic 800m final and is still New Zealand 800m record holder, said:

“I’m so chuffed, it has been such a long season and to finally finish it off with such a good performance is a good reward. To win this title that my mum won is exciting, an honour.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d gone hard enough at the start but I told myself not to panic and work around the final bend so when we hit the home straight I’d at least be equal. It was then a case of giving whatever was left really.”

In only his fourth ever 400m competition, Hamish Gill reaffirmed what he has consistently displayed this season to secure the men’s national senior title with a stylish win.

Gill, who last year won 100m and 200m national bronze medals, only made his one-lap debut at the Porritt Classic last month but after winning that day in 47.72 he has proved a natural quarter-miler.

Unbeaten going into the race, he wisely ran conservatively into the wind for the first 200m before unleashing his well-honed speed to take 0.09 from his lifetime to record 47.59.

Luke Mercieca (Auckland) came within 0.09 of his best time, set when winning this title last year, to take silver in 48.13 with 2020 national U20 champion John Gerber (Otago) in bronze with 49.12 – 0.03 clear of Auckland’s Bailey Stewart.

“I knew I was in a good spot but I also knew anything could happen on the day, so I was a little nervous,” Gill said. “The wind was a bit of a factor today but I’m glad to get around in a fast time. It is a sweet win and it shows the potential of the event for some sprinters to think about this event rather than just sticking to the 100m and 200m.”

After slipping in the blocks at the 2020 nationals and relinquishing his New Zealand title, Josh Hawkins returned to reclaim the men’s 110m hurdles with a typically dominant display.

The 27-year-old athlete crashed through the last couple of hurdles but could not be denied, stopping the clock in 14.16 (+2.5m/s) to capture his sixth national 110m hurdles crown. His fellow Aucklander Tom Moloney picked up silver in 15.27 – 0.04 ahead of the 2020 champion James Sandilands (Canterbury), who on this occasion earned bronze.

“After missing out on nationals last year, it was a motivating factor during the lockdowns,” Hawkins said. “Today the goal was to go for it from the start, I hit the ninth hurdle but I’m happy with how it went. It was nice to get my title back. I didn’t know how much it meant to me until after I lost it last year.”

Amy Robertson confirmed the domestic dominance she has shown all season to claim her maiden national senior title in the women’s 100m hurdles.

The 21-year-old is unbeaten in her speciality event and cruised to a comfortable win in 13.66 (+2.1ms/s), ahead of her training partner and seven-time former champion Fiona Morrison (14.20).

Robertson, who is coached by Fiona’s sister, Jill, and divides her time between Auckland, where she studies, and Christchurch, home of her coach, said: “I’m really proud, especially given the delay (postponement of the champs),” she said. “It took everything to keep going and re-peak. It was not the time I was looking for but I’m really happy to end the season on a national champs win.”

After winning eight silver and two bronze medals at past national senior men’s triple jump events, Scott Thomson finally snagged that elusive gold medal as he claimed a nerve-jangling 7cm victory from defending champion Andrew Allan.

Thomson took a second-round lead with a season’s best of 14.65m (+2.0m/s), although Allan of Canterbury challenged strongly with a 14.58m effort in round three. Allan finished with a 14.55m leap but Thomson held firm to finally bank gold. Nicolas Moratella (WBoP) earned bronze with 13.27m.

Antonia Martin wiped almost two minutes from her PB to claim back-to-back women’s U20 10,000m race walk titles. The 17-year-old Aucklander recorded a time of 1:01:01.76 to clinch the double after success yesterday in the 3000m event.

Liam Ngchok-Wulf followed up his bronze medal and PB performance in the senior men’s shot put by striking gold in the men’s U20 shot with the lighter 6kg implement. The 17-year-old Aucklander tossed the metal ball out to 15.97m to claim victory by more than a metre.

In a closely-fought three-way battle, Kaia Tupu-South (Auckland) added the national senior discus title to the New Zealand U20 discus and shot put titles she snared yesterday. The talented 18-year-old has been one the emerging stars of the meet and a second round toss of 52.87m earned her a narrow 48cm victory from fellow Aucklander Savannah Scheen. Waikato Bay of Plenty’s Tatiana Kaumoana (52.29m) secured national bronze for a second successive year.

Ettiene Du Preez (Auckland) completed the full suite of senior men’s pole vault medals (having taken silver in 2018 and bronze in 2020) to clinch gold with a best of 4.53m. National decathlon champion Max Attwell took silver on countback with 4.33m from fellow Cantabrian Charlie Cameron.

Further evidence of the strength in depth of the New Zealand Para programme was offered by World F37 shot put champion Lisa Adams, who hurled the 3kg shot out to 15.13m – within 37cm of her world record set here at Mitre 10 Park last September.

Elsewhere, rising able-bodied discus talent Connor Bell claimed his first national senior discus gold with the 2018 Youth Olympic champion saving his best until last with a 61.85m effort.

The gifted 19-year-old, who set his national resident record of 64.29m at this venue two months ago, was delighted to strike gold after having a troubled build-up to the competition.

“I’m really chuffed with how it went because it been a difficult last week with a bit of a back irritation,” said Bell, who added that the right head crosswind today represented ideal conditions.

“Up until Thursday, I had done nothing for a week in training, so I’m really happy to come away with 61.85m. In a perfect world it is not quite what I would have wanted but, given the circumstances, I’m pleased with that.”

The 2020 champion Alexander Parkinson claimed his sixth national senior men’s discus silver medal with a best of 57.02m. Bronze went to Canterbury’s Jared Neighbours (42.74m).

27 March 2021 • TRACK AND FIELD

Buscomb secures rare hat-trick of medals

Camille Buscomb charges home to claim the honours in the women’s 1500m (Photo: Alisha Lovrich)

Camille Buscomb wrapped up her energy-sapping quest at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships in Hastings by securing a richly-deserved gold medal in a thrilling final of the senior women’s 1500m.

In one of the most entertaining races of the two-day championships, Buscomb produced a tactically astute piece of middle-distance running to add the 1500m crown to the 5000m gold and 800m bronze she secured on the opening day at Mitre 10 Park.

Understandably feeling fatigued after her exertions on day one, the Tokyo Olympic-bound 5000m and 10,000m athlete chose a more cautious strategy as 800m gold medallist Katherine Camp took the pace for the first two laps and bore the brunt of the blustery conditions at the front.

With two laps to go, Kara Macdermid, the 2020 silver medallist, burst to the front but by the bell it was Rebekah Greene, the 800m silver medallist, who had hit the front followed by MacDermid, Susannah Lynch with Buscomb (Waikato Bay of Plenty) holding fourth eight metres or so off the pace.

However, Buscomb’s patience was rewarded as she gradually picked off those in front of her and delivered her winning strike around the final bend.

Quickly opening up a clear advantage, she would not be denied what was her maiden national 1500m title having previously snared three national silver and two bronze medals over the metric mile.

Buscomb recorded a time of 4:19.78 to complete her impressive three-medal championship haul. Lynch (Wellington) in 4:22.45 added a silver to the same colour medal she won over 3000m in January and Macdermid grabbed bronze in 4:22.60. Greene had to settle for fourth in 4:23.30 with yesterday’s 800m champion and 2019 1500m gold medallist Katherine Camp sixth in 4:33.71.

“I am feeling very tired today and my goal was to run a hard last 150 and 200m dependent on how the race was going to be played out,” Buscomb explained of her win. “It was so windy and I was so tired, I was worried that if I front-ran like in the 800m and the 5000m I would run out of legs.

“With 450m to go Becky went ahead and I tried to stay there and hopefully come through with her. There was a bit of a gap (between her and Greene) but I didn’t want to use all of my energy right there. I needed to be able to sprint the last 150m – that was goal today. I was able to do this. I was pleased to get that win today. It has been a big couple of days.

Reflecting on her impressive swag of medals over the course of the two days, she said: “I’m definitely most happy with the 1500m. The 800m could have gone either way. I didn’t have a huge expectation to win it but I would have liked to run a PB. I am pleased I did all three races, although this morning I was feeling negative. Once I started I felt okay, I tried to stay relaxed and not put pressure on myself.”

Waikato Bay of Plenty also toasted success in the men’s 1500m final as Julian Oakley produced a tactical masterclass to claim a first national senior title.

In a slow-run final, Oakley, who last year finished just 0.05 behind Nick Wills in an exhilarating race, this time went one better after controlling the race from the front over the final 500m. Launching his winning assault with 450m to go, he gained a jump on the pursuing Hamish Carson and Eric Speakman and could not be stopped, posting a winning time of 4:01.35 for the gold medal.

Fast-finishing Speakman (Hawkes Bay/Gisborne) could not quite deliver the hometown victory the locals craved, settling for silver a further 0.35 back. Carson, the six-time former national 1500m champion, settled for bronze in 4:02.07.

“It was nice to come here and get the win,” said Oakley, a former World Indoor 3000m finalist who said he had an up-and-down season.

“I’ve not had the season I wanted to, so it was really good to come here and win at the right time. I would have liked it to be fast but that is hard in a championship-style race. I wanted to make sure I was in the first two or three the whole way and planned on going 500m out. Hamish and Eric have a fast finish, so I knew if I had the jump on them it would be an advantage and the aim then was to try and not let them past me.”

Hometown favourite Georgia Hulls (Hawkes Bay/Gisborne) delighted the home spectators to strike gold and defeat defending champion Zoe Hobbs in a memorable senior women’s 200m final. Running with the aid of a +3.7m/s tailwind, Hulls, who is unbeaten over the half-lap distance this season, flashed past the line in 23.21 complete with a beaming smile.

Hobbs, who yesterday equalled the national 100m record on her way to the New Zealand title, recorded 23.73 for silver with Briana Stephenson (Auckland) backing up her long jump silver from yesterday with bronze in 23.86.

Raised in nearby Havelock North, Hulls said: “I’m feeling a bit relived and happy to run on a fast track against fast people. I had a good bend and I tried not to lose my form, which I probably did a little bit. I love running here and all the people here so it was great to be able to win.”

Cody Wilson (Wellington) went one better than in yesterday’s senior men’s 100m final to take out the 200m race in a time of 21.30 (+2.4m/s).

In a field missing several leading names, Bailey Cotton (WBoP) edged silver in a photo finish from Saravee Sos (Wellington) after both athletes were credited with the same time of 22.03.

Elsewhere, Harry Ewing (University of Canterbury) succeeded Ieaun van der Peet as senior men’s 3000m steeplechase champion, clocking 9:18.00 with Van Der Peet, the 2019 and 2020, settling for silver in 9:33.06.

Aimee Ferguson of Waikato Bay of Plenty battled to the women’s national senior 3000m steeplechase title, the 19-year-old recording 11:25.22 to dethrone 2020 champion Amanda Holyer (Auckland), who had to settle for silver in 12:04.32.

In the field, Anna Thomson matched older brother Scott to be crowned a national triple jump champion as the 25-year-old produced the competition of her life. Four times the Wellington athlete exceeded 13m – twice with jumps beyond the allowable legal wind limit and twice with legal jumps. Her best of 13.06m achieved in the final round added 20cm to her pre-event PB as she secured her fourth national senior triple jump crown.

Boasting 73 years between them, the other medals went to Helena Dinnessen, who added 39cm to her lifetime best with a 12.49m leap, and Sarah Cowley-Ross (12.22m), who added a 17th national senior medal to her highly accomplished career.

Josephine Reeves once again proved the woman with the Midas touch in the senior women’s high jump to claim a hat-trick of national titles. The 20-year-old Wellington athlete enhanced her season’s best by 9cm to secure gold with a third clearance at 1.83m. Two-time former New Zealand champion Keeley O’Hagan edged silver with a 1.79m best on countback from Josie Taylor (Waikato BoP), who was rewarded with bronze.

In a closely-fought three-way battle, Kaia Tupu-South (Auckland) added the national senior discus title to the New Zealand U20 discus and shot put titles she snared yesterday. The talented 18-year-old has been one the emerging stars of the meet and a second round toss of 52.87m earned her a narrow 48cm victory from fellow Aucklander Savannah Scheen. Waikato Bay of Plenty’s Tatiana Kaumoana (52.29m) secured national bronze for a second successive year.

Ettiene Du Preez (Auckland) completed the full suite of senior men’s pole vault medals (having taken silver in 2018 and bronze in 2020) to clinch gold with a best of 4.53m. National decathlon champion Max Attwell took silver on countback with 4.33m from fellow Cantabrian Charlie Cameron.

Southlander Anton Schroder went one better than at 2020 nationals to win senior men’s javelin gold in 62.10m. Michael Mitchell (Otago) 59.06m grabbed silver with the final spot on the dais secured by Jared Neighbours (Canterbury) with 58.60m.

Tommy Te Puni offered further evidence of his rich talent as he romped to victory in the U20 men’s 200m final in a time of 21.46 to complete the U20 100m and 200m sprint double.

Aucklander James Harding earned an impressive victory in the men’s U20 1500m courtesy of a PB of 3:50.30 to complete the middle-distance double. Will Anthony (Wellington), an eye-catching winner of the men’s U20 5000m yesterday, was also in PB shape for silver in 3:51.01 in a photo-finish from Luke Hitchcock (Auckland).

Belle Browne added U20 women’s 1500m gold to her U20 3000m bronze from yesterday, clocking 4:31.19.

Photos – (Athletics NZ – Alisha Lovrich)

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