Netley distance runner Max Stevens made the most of his annual trip to the SA Athletic League's Flinders carnival winning the feature event, the David Abbott Memorial 3200m for the second consecutive year. The Team Tempo athlete rarely competes with the SAAL these days as he focuses on the 3k steeplechase but he ensures he attends Flinders due to its strong distance running history.
"This is my fifth season with the SAAL and I've made sure I always run at Flinders" he said.
Despite being 60m back from last year's winning mark, Stevens 19, was well in control through out, taking the lead with 3 laps to go to win by 20m from his stablemate Matt Ferber with event backmarker Jacob Cocks a further 40m away.
All three placegetters paid tribute to Flinders master coach Toby Schreier who is battling Motor Neurone Disease with young Jacob Cocks holding back the tears as he spoke of his gratitude to Schreier.
After a 12 month rest from the sport for family reasons, Coastals' Luke Buchanan returned with a bang, winning the 70m Open. Buchanan, running from 7.75m beat West Beach's Sebastian Baird (5.25m) and Grange's Lyall Weir (5.75m) in 7.74secs.
The judges took a long look at the photo finish to separate Flinders stablemates Amie Mittiga and Jessica Macolino in the women's 70m. Mittiga (6.00m) won by five thousandths of a second from Macolino (9.25m) 2nd and Katie Jury (8.50m).
Mittiga's stablemate David Gross made it a double for the Tony Tohl squad, when he won the 200m Open. Gross (16m), a dual Bay Sheffield finalist looked strong going through the line with a metre to spare from Southern's Jake Stangewitz (17m) and 2014 Stawell Gift finalist Chris Innes-Wong (13m) in 20.25secs.
Modbury North's Lauren Edwards showed the benefit of a solid winter preparation when she won the women's 200m. Edwards (19m) caught 15yo Caitlin Francis (26m) just before the line to win in 22.71secs.
Henley 400m winner Dylan Stenson demonstrated his versatility with another strong run off the back mark to take out the 800m Open. Stenson (24m) stormed around the field to beat McKinnon Parade's David Girolamo (105m) and Camden's Brad Kitto (79m) in 1min 50.08secs.
Camden enjoyed a 1-2 finish in the women's 800m with Lauren McHugh (95m) holding off Jenni Partington (84m) after they went stride for stride over the last 50m.
Two athletes who enjoyed their first SAAL sash were Coastals' Joe Hosking winning the Under 17's 200m and Reynella's Taylah Stallan (Under 14's 70m). Hosking (24m) had 7 metres to spare from Molly Farmer (30m) and Jared McDougall (20m) while Stallan (14m) just pipped Madi Blight (10.50) and Sebastian Jurado (16m).
The Under 20's 800m came down to a dual between McKinnon Parade's Corey Watkins (40m) and Flinders' Aidan Miller (50m) before Watkins proved too strong to win in 1min 57.77secs.
Geoff Troiano enjoyed a return to form with a hard fought win in the Over 45's 800m beating Mick Abbott and Tim Callahan.
The Over 35's 200m saw the closest race of the day when the judges couldn't separate Ben Martin and Peter Biggs, declaring a dead heat.