After running 2nd in the prestigious Thomas Wright Memorial Mile last year, Max Stevens vowed to return in 2014 to win the race. Stevens' disappointment was compounded by the fact it was to be his last race as a McKinnon Parade athlete. The McKinnon Parade stable hosts the traditional SA Athletic League meeting at the Pulteney Grammar Oval, each March. The 'McKinnon Mile' now named in honour of former McKinnon Parade athlete Thomas Wright who died in a car accident 9 years ago is the feature event of the carnival.
On Sunday Stevens now a member of Team Tempo, returned to Pulteney determined to win the coveted sash and in an emphatic display, achieved his goal recording the fastest time in the event's 14 year history.
Running off 110 metres, Stevens ran 4minutes 00.96secs to beat AFL umpire Shane Thiele (135m) and Tim Earle (120m).
Stevens said he has benefited with the opportunity to train with a number of quality middle distance athletes at coach Adam Didyk's Team Tempo squad.
"I was playing catch up and needed to find myself as an athlete" Stevens said.
"The biggest improvement has been mentally, working to prove myself in the squad".
Stevens will compete in the 3000m steeplechase at the national championships in Melbourne in a fortnight.
Promising Coastal's athlete Ben Syrus (6.50m) won his first open sash taking out the 70m open from veteran pair David Miller (9.50m) and Ross Nitschke (10.00m).
TMS athlete Hayley Openshaw (6.75m) concluded her best ever season winning her fourth sash when she won the Women's 70m from Hettie Driscoll (9.25m) and Yasmin Openshaw (8.25m).
Later in the day, Hettie Driscoll made up for her 3rd place in the 70m to win the Women's 200m. Driscoll (26m) just edged out front markers Demi Axford (29m) and Aimee Lane (38m) in 23.78secs.
State junior hurdles champion Connor Verrall enjoyed a winning double becoming the first athlete to win the 200m Novice and400m Under 20's at Pulteney.
The 200m was Verrall's first win with the SA Athletic League. Running from 16 metres the Coastal's athlete defeated Grange's Ryan Atkins (14m) and Camden's Ashley Brown (20m) in 21.44secs.
Verrall (20m) followed it up with a huge come-from-behind win in the Under 20's 400m, weaving his way through the field to beat Corey Watkins (30m) and Joshua Biggs (48m) in 48.77secs.
McKinnon Parade's Kostya Khudoshin won his second consecutive sash, adding the 400m Open to his Flagstaff Hill 550m sash won a fortnight ago. Off the back mark Khudoshin reeled in the field to win impressively in 48.62secs from stablemate Jarrad Dartnall (32m).
In the veteran's events, Camden's Trudy Schrapel won the Over 35 's 200m while McKinnon Parade's Mark Howson won his seventh sash for the season, taking out the Over 45's 800m.
The junior events saw Zayn Butcher easily win the Under 17's 800m from the diminutive Natassia Messent and Lachlan Burrows score his second sash in the Under 14's 200m.
The Pulteney Grammar students' 400m races were won by Victoria Cirocco and Matthew Vandersommen.