After three wins in the SA Athletic League this season, you could give forgive 27-year-old Neil Thomas for becoming complacent, however on Sunday at the Sacred Heart college carnival the Kurralta Park sprinter had an extra incentive to win his fourth sash. Thomas’s partner Ella suffered an illness this week spending some time in hospital.
“Yeah, it’s been a little stressful this week, so I was determined to cheer her up by winning the sprint today” Thomas said.
Running from the 6.75m handicap, Thomas won the 70m Open by half a metre from veteran Michael Cassidy (12.75m) and Camden’s James Cibich (5.75m) in 7.76secs.
Enjoying his best ever season, Thomas won despite incurring penalties for his previous wins and has emerged as a genuine contender for the Bay Sheffield later this month.
Grange beachies athlete Natasha Inglis 20, won her second 70m sash following her win at Flinders in October. The Peter Burdett coached sprinter running off 8m, defeated Whyalla Women’s Gift winner Hayley Openshaw (6.75m) and Ali Trewartha (7.25m) in 8.55secs.
In the 400m Open, a well-timed run by Camden’s Ashley Brown secured his first win this season. Brown (32m) was well back as the field entered the straight, but unleashed a furious sprint to the line to beat Michael Nitschke (24m) and Ben Wright (29m) in 48.50secs.
Running from the back mark of 27m, Kathryn Robb won her first race under new coach Michael Hane when she took out the Women’s 400m, beating the Anthony Tohl coached pair of Lucy Buckley (34m) and Tayce Fry (58m) in the relatively quick time of 53.84secs.
In a big field of 19 athletes, Flinders’ Connor McIvor (65m) won the Open 800m, beating Whyalla 800m winner Matt Fallon and state 400m champion Sam Russell in 1min 50.24secs.
By contrast to the 800m, the Open 3200m only featured six athletes with Flinders’ Jordan Harvey (250m) storming away with a lap to go to win from Rowan Hundertmark (250m) and Tim Earle in 9mins 19.62secs.
Royal Adelaide Hospital Doctor Bridgid Connolly showed plenty of patience as she bided her time from the back mark of 34m, to pick off each of her rivals one-by-one, finally passing frontmarker Cheryl Zeuner (185m) in the shadows of the post. It was the self-trained Connolly’s first win this season.
In a high quality race, the novice 550m was a showdown between two of the more promising circle runners within the SAAL in Josh Dawson and Murlin Remphrey. Starting from the back mark of 38m, Dawson rounded the field to lead into the straight before Remphrey (45m) came back to just beat Dawson on the line in 1min 9.75secs.
Camden’s Grainne Henry created some sort of record for an Under 20’s 400m event, running a “science fiction” time of 44.20secs.With most 400’s being run around the 48secs mark, long time supporters of the SAAL were hard pressed to remember a time for a junior event being this quick. Grainne (105m) won by 20m from her sister Niamh (100m) with Kyle Roberts (38m) completing a Camden trifecta.
In other junior events, Reynella’s Lachlan Burrows won the Under 14’s 70m while the Andrew Chandler coached 15 year old Zayn Butcher won his first race, taking out the Under 17’s 550m.
In the two veteran’s events, Team Townley’s Michael Cassidy won the over 35’s 70m by a metre with his five rivals literally in a line across the track behind him, while the middle distance veteran’s event over 1600m was taken out by McKinnon Parade’s Mark “Hollywood” Howson from stablemate Gregor Dingwall.
The next SAAL carnival is the traditional Pre-Bay Sheffield carnival at Colley Reserve Glenelg, this Sunday 8th December.