VRTA Gift carnival at Meadowglen Stadium 17th November 2013
The Victorian Athletic League officially opened the 2013/14 season at Meadowglen Stadium on Sunday with pleasant sunny weather, with little wind, good fields and minimal scratching's. The day also saw the first running of an under seventeen event as well as the first running of an under age 800 metres on the VAL circuit. The VRTA committee once again provided a fixture catering for all runners and included many events that do not appear at most other VAL carnivals. The day had a few problems, one of which was a power failure, resulting in the day running seriously late. Thank you to the athletes, coaches and spectators for handling the delays in such a patient way. As the Victorian Athletic League prides itself on punctuality hopefully this will be a "oncer". The VAL welcomes back all of last season's officials with Bill Sutton heading the team as chief steward. One additional member is Harley "Davo" Hill who will be the VAL video operator at many of the season's carnivals. "Davo" is the grandson of Joy and Ian Cox and a year eight student, making him one of the most educated VAL staff members.
Before going through Sunday's events, please note these reminders and announcements:
(1)Athletes are reminded that they must wear a singlet and not T-shirts, when competing in VAL events.
(2) Maryborough: Due to time and programming restrictions, the under 20s 800 metres event at Maryborough will be a straight out final of eighteen runners. The field will be selected on "first entered, first in" with the remaining nominations being emergencies. The emergencies that don't get a run will have their entry fee refunded.
(3) Facebook: Many of the clubs and gift meetings are now on Facebook.
(4) VAL back at the MCG: The VAL running is back on at the MCG for the Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes Big Bash Match on January 21st. The event will be an open 300m with heats (3 or 4) before the cricket starts and a final at the change of innings (approx 8.30pm). Hopefully, when sponsorship is finalised, it will be the richest 300 metre event of the season. As this event is recognised as a promotional event, the fields will be selected on recent form. Anyone as old as Bill Sutton will remember the atmosphere and excitement of running at the MCG in the 1980s.
(5) Zatopek: The VAL will once again be involved in the Zatopek carnival at Albert Park on December 12th. We will be running the usual 300 metres event but also this year we have included a 70 metres event. Both events are offering $1000 in prize money.
(6) Warrnambool: For the first time since the 80s, the VAL is back running at Warrnambool this season. The day is being run as a VAL day, as distinct from local club involvement. Entry is free to all, but it would be appreciated if runners would help with the viability of the day by buying a program. The Warrnambool Council have committed to this event for the next few years. However, for the event to an ongoing success, it will need the involvement of a local club. Any locals that believe that may be of some assistance please contact the VAL.
(7) Ararat has had a change of date from originally published. Their carnival is now Monday 30th December. Ararat has a great eight event program which includes a $5000 120m Gift, a nice prize for those that missed out at the Bay Sheffield.
(8) The Victorian Cross Country League is once again sponsoring a series of 1600m novice events throughout the season with a final staged at Stawell. To be eligible for the Stawell event, Victorian runners must have competed in at least one of the novice events. Interstate athletes do not have to fill this criterion to be eligible for the Easter final.
(9) SportzBiz will also be conducting their 400 metres novice series throughout the season. This series has proved extremely popular over the years and has seen the emergence of many talented athletes. This final is also conducted at Easter.
(10) The Victorian Runners and Trainers Association is sponsoring an under 20's sprint series (100m and 120m). This series is open to runners nineteen or younger as of the 1st of October 2013. The final is also conducted at Stawell in 2014.
The Victorian Athletic League is sponsoring events for athletes under seventeen year's olds during the season. No season final is held for these events. There will also be under twenty 800 metres events held at different venues throughout the season. These events will be sponsored jointly by the VAL and VRTA.
Runners racing at Warrnambool and Terang, please pick up your VAL pass at an assigned table. Those not collected at Warrnambool or Terang will be posted. Registered runners who don't receive their pass in the week following the double header, please ring the VAL office.
City of Whittlesea/Meadowglen international Athletic Stadium 70 metres Open.
In an event where the title is nearly as long as the race, Lawrence Coop (12m) opened his winning account in the VAL with an easy and comfortable win in the 70 metres final in the good early season time of 7.60. Lawrence won the last of the eleven heats in the quick time of 7.52, surpassing the time of 7.71 clocked by new talent Luke Stevens (4m). Coop with the time of 7.51 handled the semi final stage with ease and went into the final a firm favourite. The other semi final winners were Stevens (7.68) and Edward Ware (7.80). In the final, Coop, of his mark was never in trouble and won by over a metre from Edward Ware and Marty Sinclair (8.75m). Sinclair was the slowest qualifier but showed his recent win in NSW was no fluke with a good third. Dominic Hoskins (7.25m), recent winner of the Melton harness 800 metres final continues to display his versatility with his sixth in the final. Lawrence Coop is coached by Doug Armstrong and went close to recording a double later in the day.
VAL & VRTA under 17s 70 metres
A good turnout of three heats, with only a couple of scratching's, competed for the $300 prize money on offer for the inaugural under seventeen year old sprint. This is the first of a series of races that will be sponsored by the VRTA and VAL for the remainder of the season. The winner was the Todd Ireland trained Karlee Bailey (12m) from Ryan McNamara (4.25m) and Nicholas Repalust (4m). In a very close finish Karlee was given the decision by seventeen 1/1000s of a second in the time of 7.81, a similar time difference in their respective heats. The winner is coached by Todd Ireland, incidentally a member of both sponsoring committees.
City of Whittlesea/Meadowglen international Athletic Stadium 3200 metres. Fourteen athletes waited patiently for the final official event of the day over eight laps of the track. With power problems setting the carnival nearly an hour behind schedule, Luke Searle (190m) gradually worked his way through the field to hit the lead inside two laps to travel and was untroubled to win by a decisive margin in the time of 9.22. Diligently working his way through the field was Michael Marantelli, off the back mark of thirty metres who continued to make ground on Luke but was still twenty metres shy at the finish. David Spence (180m) was a further healthy margin away in third place. Luke, working on his own relay team, recently announced the arrival of baby number two, Lexi. Luke is coached by Peter Burke.
City of Whittlesea/Meadowglen international Athletic Stadium 1600 metres Women's and Veterans'.
In the event that last season slung Gary Blake into the athletic stratosphere was , this season, won convincingly by Greg Whitecross (365m) in the time 4.28. Greg settled in second place, a long gap behind the front marker Robert Kenshole (400m) and then further gaps to "Blakey"( 315m) and Martine Beer (295m). This leading group were always going to provide the winner although Lucinda Lopes (165m), a new runner to the VAL scene showed promise right from the start of the event as she set off determinedly after the out markers. She eventually worked herself into second place about ten metres from the winner and a few metres clear of Martine Beer. Kenshole and Blake were able to finish fourth and fifth , just holding out the fast finishing backmarkers James Deane (20m) and scratch man Justin Murphy. In recent years Whitecross has had success on the VCCL winter calendar but Sunday's win was his first track win in six seasons.
***After great consultation please be advised that for all future Women's and Veterans' events the apostrophes for these events will be as above.
400 metres SportzBiz Novice
The first round of the highly successful SportzBiz 400 metres novice series was held at Meadowglen on Sunday with the winner being the Darci Hughes. Darci set the tongues wagging with a sensational heat time of 46.6 off his handicap of 26 metres, only to prune that to a winning final time of 45.99. The field was strung out in the final with over sixty metres difference in handicaps but the field condensed on the home turn with Hughes storming down the outside to grab Lawrence Coop (48m) in the final thirty metres. Such was the winners finishing run that he cleared out over the last few strides to win by five metres, Alan Pooley (40m) held on for third. Shane McKenzie who is developing a stable of rising stars is the winners coach.
City of Whittlesea/Meadowglen international Athletic Stadium 550 metres Open.
Meadowglen has always given the 550 metre runners an opportunity for an early season hit out over the unusual distance. This year with three heats, the fastest heat time went to Ben Mason (49m) from Robert Keenan (47m) in 1.11.73. Not far behind that time was Lonain Burnett (33m) who scored from Michael Marantelli (33m) in a very close finish in 1.11.99. The third heat was won by Wayne James (69m) in the slower time of 1.13.6. In the final, the field bunched coming to the final turn as Keenan and Burnett pounced on the lead. Those two headed for home with cluster of runners jockeying for gaps in a tiring pack. Mason and Marantelli both went for a run along the rails after the leaders only to find that two heads are not better than one, causing them both to lose momentum and leave Burnett to hold out Keenan in 1.11.86. Lonain a late bloomer on the VAL scene, following his sister Kirrily into the sport, has developed handy record in circular events. Lonain is coached by john Knott in Bendigo.
City of Whittlesea/Meadowglen international Athletic Stadium 200 metres Gift.
The main event of the day, the 200 metres Open Gift, had eleven high quality heats with many heats ran in the low 21 second range. Fastest heat time was 21.01, posted by Nathan Riali (11m), with Shane Woodrow (16m) running 21.15 and Luke Stevens ( 10m & 21.11) both very prominent. These three athletes cleared out at the semi final stage with Stevens clocking a best time of 20.89, with Woodrow 20.97 and Riali 21.28. In the final, Woodrow held his form to win in 20.94 from Luke Stevens recording 21.02. Edward Ware once again improved on his semi final run to gain a placing in the final. Fourth home was Simon Fitzpatrick (13m) with Iain Douglas (10m) in sixth place. Shane Woodrow has been one of the VAL's most consistent athletes over the last few seasons winning races over all distances up to 800 metres. Shane was a finalist in this year's Stawell Gift. Shane is coached by another versatile Ballarat athlete, Rodney Matthews who is surely about to tackle the longer events this season.
City of Whittlesea/Meadowglen international Athletic Stadium Women's 200m.
The main event for the women was also over the 200 metre trip with five heats and $1000 in prize money. Jessica Payne (15m) won the first heat and set the standard with a handy 24.01, clear of Maddie Coates (6m) with a heat time of 24.65. However, in the final Cara Boustead (20m) improved remarkably on her heat time of 24.76 to win in 23.71. Cara finished the event nearly three metres ahead of Jessica Payne and Maddie Coates (6m).
City of Whittlesea/Meadowglen International Athletic Stadium 300 metres
David Woods (28m) won the first veterans event of the season with a handy run of 35.06, improving on his heat time of 35.71. Cameron Yorke (4m) stormed home to run second with Peter Biggs (36m) holding on for third. David competes regularly with the Victorian Cross Country League during winter and always comes into the VAL track in good form. Woods is coached by Ben Tancredi.
VAL & VRTA under 20s 800mts
Another event making its VAL debut was the under 20s 800 metres with two heats and 22 entrants in all. The first heat was won by James Parker (100m) who came with a barnstorming finish to run past Casey Moore (140m) in the final few metres in 1.57.4. The second heat was taken out by Ryan Bain (84m) who held on to defeat the fast finishing Ryan Antidormi (54m) in a slower 2.00.14. In the final Casey Moore, out in front, set a more solid pace than in the heat and always held a comfortable lead to enter the final 200 metres a sure winner. The winner's time was 1.55.43 with runner up James Parker repeating his heat time with a run of 1.57.7. Ryan Antidormi ran into third place, just ahead of Ryan Bain. Casey is coached by Nick Fiedler.