24 December 2017
Starc and Armstrong close year in top form ahead of GC2018
Two field event athletes, Brandon Starc and Angus Armstrong stole the show at the third annual 2017 Albie Thomas meet last evening in Bankstown, as Jordan Gusman won his third consecutive mile.
For the second occasion in 2017, Angus Armstrong (SYU) has raised the NSW pole vault records at Bankstown’s Crest Athletics field. In March he cleared 5.45m, then last night he compiled a near perfect record clearing 5.10m, 5.25m and 5.40m at his first attempt, before nailing a new record of 5.50m on his first attempt. It added four centimetres to his own state record. He also took three attempts at the Commonwealth Games A qualifier of 5.60m.
He remained number 11 on the Australian all-time list, but over the last eight years only Steve Hooker and Kurtis Marschall have negoiated that high.
“I’m very happy and a bit tired. A small PB but close to the A qualifier. I felt the hunger a bit. It was my first full run up competition and it is good moving forward,” Armstrong said.
“This year we have refined the last part of my run up and trying a few new things and it is starting to pay off. “
He looked in total control from start and cleared the heights comfortably, compiling a clean sheet until 5.60m.
“5.40m - I was happy with that, ironically, technically it was not great, however I was a happy I committed because that is important.
“5.50m - was great and not expected to be honest. Then when I went to 5.60m the three attempts were shaky. Never been in that territory before but it was good to get a taste and excited to be there.”
Australian pole vault is making a resurgence, behind Kurtis Marschall’s brilliant 2017 season.
“It is great to have depth of talent. It is all going to come down to the Australian Champs, as it should. I can’t tell the future, but I hope everybody is jumping big, myself included, and really go out there and give it our best and enjoy ourselves and put it on the line.”
Armstrong, is goes into his final year of a Science degree in 2018 at Sydney University
“Now I’m talking this time to focus on my training and get a good foundation for next year and keep building.”
It was welcome sign to see one of NSW’s finest athletes and Australia’s best male high jumper for the last two decades, Brandon Starc (PAR), back top-form and positive about the season ahead. He cleared 2.24m and just missed three attempts at a Commonwealth Games A qualifier of 2.28m.
“Things are looking good. I’m in good form and the runup if feeling comfortable and I think coming out next year we should see some high heights.”
Due to injury, he missed the London 2017 World Championships, his first major championship he has missed since 2013.
“I was a little disappointed to miss London. I had a bit of a shin problem, but we have that now cleared up with the help of a physio.”
Yesterday’s jump was his second B qualifier in as many weeks.
“Last week was my first comp in Australia since December 2016 so it was a while between comps in Australia, but it is nice to jump big now.“
Also in the high jump, London world championships competitor, Nicole McDermott (SYU) was it great form and so close to clearing 1.90m. On her third attempt the bar rattled, but eventually fell. She had to be satisfied with her eighth Commonwealth Games B qualifier of the season, clearing 1.85m.
Jordan Gusman (BAN) won his third consecutive Albie Thomas Mile in a PB time of 3:57.29. His two previous winning times of 3:59.47 and 3:58.87, were both outside of Albie’s best of 3:58.3, but last night he was quicker, as Gusman moved from 34th to 27th on the Australian All-time list. He was pushed all the way to the line by Tasmanian James Hansen who ran 3:59.32.
“I knew Hansen had a good finish and could feel him closing on me and trying to pass me with 100m to go, but I held him off and I’m glad I was able too,” said Gusman.
“Hopefully I can run well at nationals and anything can happen there.”
The Bankstown Club do a great job of inviting Albie’s family who have VIP seats trackside at the meet.
“It means a lot to win three here and in front of Albie’s family. Also, my family are here too.”
The usual conversion between mile and 1500m for the elite men is about 17 seconds so for Gusman to pass 1500m is 3:41.2, highlighting his very strong last 100m.
In sixth place, Blue Mountains junior international, Jackson Sharp destroyed the NSW under-18 mile record, slicing four seconds from James Kaan’s 10-year-old mark of 4:09.22, clocking 4:05.13.
After six years of injury frustration, Robert Lister (ILL) was back on the track winning the 800m. He defeated a strong field in 1:48.56.
Special thanks to Colin Whitbread and his large and hard-working team at Bankstown for a very successful evening and important event for athletes to achieve performances this summer.
View the full results here.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Brandon Starc in the high jump (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)