16 January 2012
Clark and Ricketts win state fives
Strong cross country exponents, Milly Clark (Bankstown) and David Ricketts (Asics Wests) were last Saturday night crowned NSW 5000m champions for 2012.
As Clark chases the Olympic standard of 9:43.0 in the steeplechase, she has been slashing her bests across all events. In recent weeks she has run lifetime bests in the steeplechase and 1500m and now she turned her attention to the 5000m.
“All races are fantastic opportunities for learning experiences and so I was just trying to focus on running my own race of course. Every race is different so I just try to go into each one with a positive and happy state of mind,” Clark said.
From the gun, two-time World Junior cross country representative, ACT’s Emily Brichacek, led the race, while Clark sat in second ahead of a small group. Clark was lapping comfortably around 80 seconds, but on the second last lap she stepped up the pace to under 75 seconds and crossed the line second in 16:40.21 behind Brichacek’s superb 15:38.10.
“I was very happy with my run despite the rain and the wet track,” she said. “I really wanted to run under 17 minutes this time and ended up with a 42 second personal best, so I really cannot complain.”
Clark has extra motivation with a special guest in the stands.
“I was just excited to pull out my best while my mum (who had come over to visit all the way from Indonesia) was there to watch as she does not get to see me run that often.”
The NSW minor medals were won by Anita Keen (IBS) in 17:18.30 and Jess Mitchell (Mingara) 17:26.23.
The men’s race was a very close event with eight athletes still in the pack with two laps to go. This was reduced to four at the bell with Ricketts (Asics Wests) leading from Liam Ridings (Randwick Botany), Mitchell Williamson and ACT’s Michael Chapman. With a stunning last lap of 57 seconds, Ricketts sailed away to victory in 14:42.02, four seconds ahead of Ridings. Frank Torok (Randwick Botany) moved up from fifth to snatch the bronze in 14:51.00, just 0.04 seconds ahead of Williamson with 14:51.04
Personal bests in Club Premiership
For the second consecutive week, World University Games competitor, Nicole Fagan (Sydney Pacific), achieved a quality race walk performance. Last week, she won the NSW 10,000m track walk title and on Saturday, competing at the Kings Sport Store Club Premiership, Fagan clocked an eight second personal best time of 5000m, 22:32.76. Second was Commonwealth Games medallist Cheryl Webb (Blacktown) 24:07.71.
Samoan international, Emmanuele Fuamatu (Bankstown) putt an excellent 18.81 not far short of his recent personal best of 19.40m. He beat masters athlete Stuart Gyngell (Athletics Wollongong) who putt 16.60m.
Pole vaulter Jack Hicking (Bankstown) continued his progression this summer. On Saturday he raised his personal best by 10cm to 4.60m as he strives towards the NSW under-18 record of 4.95m, held by Blake Lucas and the World Junior championships standard of 5.00m.
``My jumps in the warm up felt good and I was hoping for a pb,’’ Hicking said. ``My earlier jumps in the competition weren't so good but it all came together on my attempt at 4.60m.
``I had three attempts at 4.70 and I only narrowly missed the last jump.’’
World Junior semi-finalist, Ella Nelson (Illawong), 17, clocked the fastest 200m of the day, 24.54, while in the open race, another World Junior semi-finalist, Karlie Morton clocked 24.70. In the men’s James Grimm (Athletics Wollongong) was the fastest of the day with 21.68.
In a good warm up for the Hunter Track Classic, next week in Newcastle, Macquarie-Hunter athlete David Bradney won the 800m in 1:52.25, ahead of Robert Lister (Illawong), 18, who ran 1:53.07 and is within reach of the World Junior Championship standard (1:50.48) in a fast race. Bridey Delaney (St George) took the women’s race in 2:07.98.
Nathan Connor (Sydney Pacific), 25, leapt a personal best of 7.25m in the long jump, while Sydney-based German Maren Schuermann (UTS Norths) cleared a good distance of 5.69m to lead the women.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Milly Clark (Image courtesy of David Tarbotton)