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Watkins storms into form at Sacred Heart (Meet review)

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Watkins storms into form at Sacred Heart

2005 Bay Sheffield champion Clay Watkins running off the back mark of 3.75 metres, finally found the form that had deserted him in the previous two seasons, winning the Sacred Heart Gift on Sunday.

Watkins’ last 120m Gift win was the prestigious Burnie Gift (Tasmania) on 1st January 2009 and his last sash win was the Whyalla 300m in November 2009. The last two seasons he has been a shadow of the athlete that represented Australia at the 2009 World University Games in Belgrade and in 2010 was the fifth ranked 400m athlete in the country boasting a personal best of 45.95s.

A restructure of his program during the winter has a revitalised Watkins back in contention for the Bay Sheffield, a race he hasn’t contested since 2009.

Watkins broke the tape ahead of dual Bay Sheffield finalist Ryan Hancock (9.25m) and Coastal track squad’s Luke Buchanan (13.00m) to record a time of 12.59secs.

After seven seasons competing on the SA Athletic League circuit, Yasmin Openshaw had not won a race over a distance less than 300m. On Sunday the Coastal track squad athlete, won her second 120m event in as many starts when she added the Sacred Heart 120m to the 120m sash won at Henley four weeks ago.

Openshaw (13.50) recorded a scintillating 13.98secs to win by 2m from Flinders’ Lucy Buckley (12.50m) and Camden’s Megan Letton (13.25m).

In her first start back after attempting to make the Olympic 4 x 100m relay squad, Alicia Wrench-Doody (1.00m) made the 120m final after earlier making the 70m final off only 0.50m.

Tjimarri Sanderson-Milera (5.50m) contested three finals at Sacred Heart, winning the 70m open before finishing a close 2nd in the Under 20’s 70m and 5th in the 120m Open final.

In a tight contest, Camden’s Jame Cibich (5.75m) and TMS athlete Shaun Ryder (8.75m) tied for second place behind Sanderson-Milera in the 70m Open.

The Women’s 70m was won by state heptathlon champion Lauren Foote (4.50m) in a photo finish from Anthea Kotyla (15.50m) and Lucy Buckley (9.50m) in 8.57secs. Kotyla looked the winner until Foote flew across the line to touch her out by 0.004 sec.

Veteran athletes Mark Beveridge and Richard McMahon fought out the finish of the 800m Open, with Beveridge (90m) just edging McMahon (112m) to win in 1min 49.70secs. While in the Women’s 800m, backmarker Bridgid Connolly (40m) hauled in frontmarkers Courtney Ryder (110m) and Isabella Partington (160m) to record her first win under new coach, Wendy Abbott. Connolly’s time was 2mins 09.93secs.

In a stellar start to the season Flagstaff Hill’s Ben Crawford won his third race in 15 days when he took out the 3200m to add to his 800m and 1600m sashes from Whyalla. Crawford (290m) beat home Flinders’ 3200m winner Tasmin McMahon (450m) and McKinnon Parade’s Max Stevens (300m) in the good time of 8mins 52.86secs.

In the Novice 550m, Camden’s Jack Sutton (52m) demoralised the field to win in a canter from McKinnon Parade stablemates Corey Watkins (45m) and Damian Robinson (32m). In one of the fastest times ever recorded in a novice 550m, Sutton ran 1min 10.53secs to pitchfork him into favouritism for the rich 550m at the Bay Sheffield carnival.

Aldinga flyer Murlin Every won his second under 17 sash this season when he added the 550m to his Port Adelaide 300m sash. Every (40m) beat Jacobi Ponbury (40m) and Aidan Norbury (40m) in 1min 14.96secs.

In a tight contest, Alex Martini (15.50m) just beat Madi Blight (21.50m) and Lachie Moran (24.0m) to win the under 14’s 120m in 13.79secs.

In the two Over 35’s events, backmarker David Palmer (4.50m) swept pass the field to win the 120m while Andrew Wright came back over the top of scratch man Shane Thiele to take out the 1600m.

St Michaels College student Chelsea Gilbert (26.0m) easily won the SAAL Independent School’s race in 13.22secs. Cornerstone student Lucy Mayo (17.0m) and St Michaels’ Cassidy Dorian (19.0m) were 2nd and 3rd.

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