Queensland beach runner Ben Mispelhorn and WA's Kiara Reddingius are Bay Sheffield winners
By KYM MORGAN
SUNDAY MAIL (SA)
DECEMBER 28, 2013
A PAIR of 21-year-olds - one from Gold Coast and the other from a remote Western Australian town - stole the show during a thrilling Bay Sheffield athletics carnival at Colley Reserve on Saturday.
Queensland beach sprinter Ben Mispelhorn came off 6.25m to win the feature Bay Sheffield Gift, edging out Victorian Adam Coote and local star James Cibich in a photo finish in front of an estimated 8000 people at the Bay.
Minutes earlier, Kiara Reddingius, who grew up in a small town 80km out of Kalgoorlie in remote WA, won the women's gift from South Australian Natasha Inglis and Victorian Cara Boustead.
Mispelhorn, who was backed into favouritism by final time from $25 at the start of the carnival, described the win, which netted him $16,000, as the biggest achievement in his sporting life.
The Kurrawa Surf lifesaver, who is trained by club coach Ryan Hoffman, waged an epic battle with Cibich (7m) for much of the 120 race, with Coote (9.5m) fighting back late to split them.
The Queenslander, who is studying to become a doctor, revealed post-race the win almost didn't happen after he felt his calf cramp while warming up.
"I thought 'oh no, don't let this happen now','' he said.
"It was great race. He (Cibich) is a good runner and he gave me a really great contest … It's just a great feeling to win."
Reddingius, now based in Perth, only took up athletics 18 months ago and is training for the heptathlon.
She said the crowd at Colley Reserve lifted her to overcome Inglis, who had beaten her in the semi-finals earlier in the day.
"I did not expect anything like this,'' she said of Colley Reserve.
"It's such a great carnival. I had to fight hard for it (the win) but I felt like if I ran my best race I could do it."
Sub four-minute miler Brenton Rowe brought the crowd to its feet in the Selected Backmarkers 1600m when he won off scratch, outlasting Michael Marantelli in thrilling finish.
Rowe, who grew up in Naracoorte, will represent Austria at the European Championships this year because of his family lineage.
"It was pretty tough at there with 50kph headwinds, but it was great to win,'' he said.
Cibich's stablemate Jack Sutton, off 55m, made it a great day for the Camden stable when he beat Sam Russell to win the Open 550m.
Ryan Atkins won the Under-18 Bay Sheffield Gift, while 15-year-old local Gemma Plummer came off the backmark to win the women's 1600m handicap.
Saturday's 550m women's winner Lauren McHugh finished fourth in the 1600m and won the Frank McHugh Medal - named after her father - for athlete of the carnival.