Crawford, running off 62m, blitzed the field in the 800m, with a trademark burst in the straight to record his seventh SAAL win, beating Flinders’ Richard McMahon (110) and Luke Stewart (146) in 1min 49.03secs.
His eighth win came two hours later when Crawford (240) won the 3200m after an intense battle with Damian Robinson (240) in the final lap. Robinson pursued Crawford and looked set to cause an upset with 300m to go, but as he has done all season, Crawford took off soon after and sped away from a gallant Robinson with third place going to backmarker Will McCann (200). Crawford’s time of 9mins-03.52secs easily eclipsed the meet record set by Riley Cocks in 2010 of 9mins-17.12secs.
The 120m Marion Gift was taken out by Coastal Districts’ Luke Buchanan, emulating his wife Lauren’s 120m win at the same venue in 2012. Buchanan finished 2m clear of Ryan Hancock (9.25m) and Daniel Flesfader (12.50m), winning in 12.94secs.
Former Western District amateur athlete Hayley Orman enjoyed just second career win when she took out the women’s 120m. Orman had previously won an under 20’s 120m at Whyalla, so this was first her win in open company. In a photo finish, Orman (7.75) just caught Ali Trewartha (10.75) on the line to win by one hundredth of a second in 14.91secs.
Camden’s Jakson Messent (14.75) had an agonising wait before he was declared the winner of the Under 20’s 120m. Messent (14.75) beat Natasha Inglis (25.75) by the closest margin imaginable – one thousandth of a second. It was Inglis’ second visit to the dais after she had earlier finished 3rd in the women’s 120m.
In a perfect lead in to this week’s Camden Classic, former Sacred Heart footballer, Ben Wright sent an ominous warning to his rivals when he easily won the 300m open in a meet record 32.89secs. Wright (26) took the lead soon after entering the straight to record his first win since 2009. Dual Loxton Gift winner Brad Letton (25) finished 2nd with Simon Thompson holding on for 3rd. However to win the Camden Classic, Wright will have to overcome the fact that no previous Marion 300m winner has finished higher than 6th at Camden.
The women’s 300m was a battle between the bookends with event frontmarker Anthea Kotyla (49) just beating backmarker Andrea DiPaolo (17) on the line. DiPaolo felt confident she had caught the Camden athlete but the judges found Kotyla had won by a few centimetres in 38.02secs.
The Under 17’s 300m was full of controversy with two athletes disqualified after the final. Lewis Abdul had streaked away from the field but was later found to have run inside he flags while 4th placed Ryan Atkins was disqualified for interference. Hayden Rothe (35) was awarded the race and delighted to win his first sash, while Bradley Harvey (42) and Riley Bonner (35) finished in the minor placings.
Another to win his first sash was under 14’s 300m winner Lachie Moran (66) who just held out Natassia Messent (62) after a stride for stride tussle up the straight. Lachlan Burrows (55) wasn’t far behind in 3rd place.
Over 35’s 300m winner Sue Turner finally got one back on runner-up Eugene DeVizio after DeVizio had narrowly beaten Turner over 300m at Whyalla in November. It was Turner’s second win this season following on from her 120m win last month at the Pre-Bay meet at Colley Reserve. Turner (80) beat DeVizio and the fast finishing David Miller (32) in the slick time of 33.82secs.