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Weekend 1 of Tasmanian State Championships preview

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26 February 2009

Weekend 1 of State Championships Preview

The Tasmanian Track & Field Championships begin this Saturday, with a new format that has brought about a significant increase in entries.

Athletics Tasmania’s gamble to put the state titles on over two weekends appears to have paid off, with athletes supporting the concept in droves. Weekend 1 will be on this Saturday and Sunday in Launceston, with weekend 2 set down for March 14 and 15.

Perhaps inspired by Steve Hooker’s recent record attempts, the Tasmanian pole vault records are also under threat this weekend. North Launceston athletes Danielle Dwyer and Torin Philpott are the leading contenders to not only take the state crown, but attempt new record marks. Dwyer set the current Tasmanian record at 3.75m at these championships last season and her seasons best of 3.50m shows that with good conditions on Saturday afternoon, she could soar higher. The men’s Tasmanian record of 4.50m was set back in 1980 and will be firmly in Philpott’s sight as he looks to improve on his best of 4.30m from 2008.

The title of fastest Tasmanian’s is up for grabs and a changing of the guard is guaranteed. A long awaited showdown this season will eventuate between Abby Chapman of the North West Athletics Club and Western Suburbs Danielle Taylor. Both athletes have recorded personal bests this season, with each bettering the Australian Championships entry standard of 12.54sec. Chapman has had a sensational season, with victories in oodles of professional races and a state title would be a fitting highlight towards the end of the season.

The men’s 100m is wide open, with several athletes coming into the frame as unknown quantities. Monbo Jetoh heads the list from North Launceston as he boasts the seasons fastest time in the field at 11.09sec. Fellow club mate Jo Lowe at only 15 years of age is a prodigy in the making. After a scintillating victory at the Tasmanian Club Championships in Penguin a fortnight ago, he has shown he has what it takes to step up to the open age group and will have nothing to lose when the gun goes on Saturday. Mark Cooper from OVA only started running 2008 and has had an injury plagued season, however his raw ability over 100m cannot be disregarded and he may sneak under the guard of many athletes who have been regular competitors this season. A darkhourse will be Gareth Jubb from the North West, who will have his first run on a true track this season, after performing well in TAL races throughout the summer.

An example of the depth of juniors coming through the sport at the moment, is the under 18 men, where a massive 23 entries for the 200m alone has been received, with no less than eight of the athletes having represented Tasmania at national level recently. In a sign of the direction of athletics in the state, it is up on the eight who entered the same event in 2007.

Throwing excitement for the weekend will come in the men’s and women’s shot put. Australian under 23 champion Todd Hodgetts of Newstead Harriers will start the firm favourite for the men’s title and will no doubt set about intimidating the opposition with one of his monstrous grunts. The field will also include Peacock brothers Hamish and Huw, along with Australian University Games bronze medallist in the hammer Stuart Morse and Tasmanian representative James Guest. The women’s Shot Put could very well have one of the youngest Tasmanian open champions, with underage state record holder Rebecca Direen. The 14 year old has been on a record breaking spree this season and has the form leading into the competition to gain the upper edge over North West’s Victoria Lynd and Northern Suburbs athlete Nicky Ristrom.

The distance race of the weekend is likely to be the men’s 1500m on Saturday afternoon. Fresh from setting new personal bests at the Briggs Athletics Classic last month, Sam Ferguson (North West) and Josh Harris (Tamar) will have a battle on their hands to outdo one another. While this writer holds the fastest personal best in the field, his form has been average of late and is likely to struggle in the middle stages. Tom Beard has made an impressive return from injury over 400 and 800m races, and will provide depth to the field also.

A final timetable and current start list is attached. Results from the weekend will be available at

Contact: Richard Welsh – 03 6234 9551 or 0409 820 248

End of release

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