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Stonnington Gift 21st February 2014

A chilly head wind greeted the runners for the fourth running of the Stonnington Gift carnival at Toorak Park on Friday night. The track was in perfect condition with some of Australia’s best sprinters, male and female, chasing $40,000 in prize money. The organising committee led by Peter Norman and Andrew Muhlhan left nothing to chance and provided the scene for one of the best displays of professional foot running seen this season.

Note;  non registered VAL, junior runners, Don’t forget to enter for the Burramine junior events at Yarrawonga on March 15th. If you have a little brother, sister, daughter, son or you just married very young, events for both girls and boys with Sashes, trophies and prize money. Entry details on the VAL website, under “news”.

Goodlife Health Clubs Under 20s 100 metres, Girls division

Loryn Savoia (12m) captured her first VAL sash with a clear win in the under 20s final at Stonnington on Friday evening. And with a total prize pool of $1000 and a first prize of $500 it was a handy race for her to open her winning account.  Savoia with a run of 12.35 won the first heat of the night and with only Natasha McDowell (7.5m & 12.21) running a quicker heat Loryn went into the final with an excellent chance. Maddie Coates also qualified for the final with a great run off the scratch mark in 12.37. In the final, the winner always had a clear margin from her handicap and held a comfortable break on the line to defeat McDowell and the fast finishing Coates in the time of 12.21. Loryn provided her Kyneton coach Gordon Muir with his first sprint race winner. Gordon, usually associated with the distance brigade coaches a promising group of younger athletes from the Macedon Ranges area.

Goodlife Health Clubs Under 20s 100 metres, Boys division

William Kerr (10m) is enjoying a purple patch of form with another fine performance in the Stonnington 100m under 20s boys division. William scored a convincing win in the Trinity under 18s last Sunday and made it a running double with his win on Friday night. Kerr ran the quickest of the six heats with a run of 10.87, a clear margin over Troy Carey (11.75m), next best at 10.94. William improved in the final to record 10.79 but he needed to as his dangers also improved with seven of the eight finalists breaking eleven seconds. He defeated Benjamin Farrell (12.75), runner up to Kerr in the heat, and Nicholas Repalust in third place. Kerr is coached by Craig Mair.


City of Stonnington Women’s 100 metres Gift

With the huge prize pool of $15,000 available for the women’s gift a quality field assembled and another young runner amongst the growing list of quality female athletes in the VAL made her mark. Karlee Bailey (7.75m) came into the race as a consistent finalist in the women’s events but left Toorak Park as a future sprint star and $10,000 the richer. Karlee won her heat in the good time of 12.09 but there was plenty of opposition with similar times. The eight heats ranged in time from Natasha McDowell’s 12.02 to Rosamond Gilden’s 12.29, ensuring three very competitive semi finals. The first semi final went to Melanie Purkiss (4.75m) from Christine Wearne (0.25m) in 12.26. Bailey turned the pressure on in the second semi final with a clear win in 12.06, a metre to the good of Kendra Hubbard (1.25m). Kate Jones (7.25m) continued her good recent form by defeating McDowell with a solid run of 12.14 in winning the third semi final. In the final Bailey raced past McDowell early and settled down for a battle with Jones, only to see Hubbard emerge as a serious threat with twenty metres to travel. However just as Jones and Hubbard were closing on Bailey she gave a solid kick to land the prize. Her time of 12.06 was the same as her semi final run and gave her only a few hundredths of a second advantage over Jones and Hubbard. Not sure how far Karlee  lives from Berwick secondary college but surely with $10,000 the year eleven student will be making use of the Berwick limousine service over the next few weeks. Karlee is coached by Todd Ireland.

City of Stonnington 100 metres Gift

The seriousness of the Stonnington gift was evident by the “home bases” of a good percentage of the entrants. With thirty of the 112 entries coming from interstate the money was always going to be hard to keep in Victoria. The fastest heat time was shared by Gus Carty-Cowling (7m) and Matt Carter (0.75m) who both recorded 10.635. Not far behind that pair were Joel Bee (0.5m), David Afath (4.5m) and Edward Ware (6.75m) all under 10.70. Lee Forrest “snuck’ under the radar with a second place in his heat, behind Carter, but still managed a time of 10.69. The same could be said for Sam Jamieson (3.75m) with a second placed heat run to Carty-Cowling in 10.70. The semi finals sorted the chances a little with only six going through to the final. The first semi saw Brendan Matthews (5.25m) just hold out Afath and Ware in 10.51. The second semi final went to Sam Jamieson inches to the good of Forrest and Dean Scarff (4.5m) in 10.56. The final semi, the fastest, went to Carty-Cowling, clearly from Bee and James Vine (4.25m) in 10.50.The final was a “cliff hanger” with only a metre and half covering the field. Forrest and Carty-Cowling hit the line locked together with Forrest adding to his Maryborough Gift win on New Year’s day by 5/1000ths. In third place was David Afath inches to the good of Sam Jamieson and Brendan Matthews. The winning time was 10.576. The win was another major gift victory to Albury based coach Marcus Arnold.

Prahran Market Veterans’ 300 metres

Stonnington gives the veteran runners a handy prize pool of $1000 to run for and they didn’t let the club down by producing some very competitive heats and a great final. Andrew Drummond (34m), a winner at Maryborough on New Year’s day, ran the fastest heat time of 36.79 and maintained his advantage in the final to win in 36.20. Andrew defeated Robert Lehmann (3m) by two metres with  Craig Lancaster (51m) inches away in third place. Season 2013/14 is Andrew’s first with the VAL and he is coached at Ballarat by Peter O’Dwyer.

SportzBiz 400 metres Novice

With the business end of the season approaching, the events with Stawell finals are becoming hard fought affairs with final places still to be decided. Jarryd Wright (56m) moved his name closer to the Stawell program with a good win in the Stonnington heat of the SportzBiz 400 metres novice. As is always the case the heats on Friday night were well attended with the four heats having a total of forty two contestants. Wright defeated Brendan Glidden-Green (30m) and Charles McDonald ( 20m) in the time of 48.14. Jarryd also made the final of under 20s at Stonnington

Broo Women’s 400 metres

Another event with a grand final approaching is the Broo women’s 400 metre series. Friday night’s event saw the consistent Jessie Hart (46m) clock the fastest of the three heats with a run of 55.67 and defeated Katrina Buckingham and Jessica Payne in the process. In the final Jessie repeated the effort by again defeating Buckingham (54m) and Payne (33m). Karin Laidlaw (68m) continues to improve with racing and ran a close fourth. Hart is coached by Kerry McConnon.

Orrong Hotel 1600 metres

Whilst we are not aware of anything untoward in the water down at Sandringham beach we can be sure that there is definitely magic in the air. Sandringham’s and the VAL’s very own society couple of Angela Wilson and David Haigh have had a season to remember with either or both of them winning most weekends. On Friday night it was David’s turn to gallop around Toorak Park for a few laps, grab a cheque for $1800 from the Orrong Hotel and then take Angie around the corner to Chapel Street to celebrate with a chosen few from the “A” list. David who supplements his foot running income by telling David Thodey how to run, a business not a race, has won about 3 or 4 thousand VAL events from distances from here to there and sometimes over there. David’s first VAL victory was in the 1983 colour boy’s event at Northcote where he wore braces, not for his teeth but to keep his shorts up. Since then Haighy has pretty much “plundered” the vast VAL treasure chest with a constant stream of wins. On Friday night it was business as usual with David ( 175m) “sneaking” around the track for three laps and waiting for the commentator to say “ Here comes Haigh”. And then, as in the past, we see some poor soul who has trained and lived a Spartan existence since the turn of the century put his chest out to claim a victory only for David to sail past on the line. This time it was Cameron Clayton (120m) who ran a great race to charge past a tiring Wayne James (290m) before the 200 metres point and gain what looked like a winning break. Cam turned for home with a good lead but tired over the concluding stages to just miss, Arron Downes (175m) ran another good race for third. The winning time was 4.05.1.

100 metres Isaac Gnieslaw 100 metres invitation.

The invitation 100 metres for those runners, selected by the sprint handicapper, who failed to make the finals of the showcase events was a top class event in itself. The backmarker, running from scratch, was Joel Bee and the out marker was the long striding Maddie Coates (15.5m). In between Joel and Maddie were the two inform athletes of the  season, Luke Stevens (2.25m) and Nathan Riali (2.5m), with Stawell gift winner Andrew Robinson (2m) and Olympian Brendan Cole (2.75m) making a final field of six. Coates maintained her diminishing handicap advantage until the final few strides when Bee swamped her to take the $500 first prize. Luke Stevens grabbed third place and the winners time was 10.70 an outstanding run of two metres inside even time.