Athletics Returns to the Track
An unprecedented number of coaching changes during the winter has added an element of intrigue to the South Australian Athletic League’s opening carnival at Henley Oval this Friday night.
The Grange Beachies squad that has produced three of the past six Bay Sheffield winners, has seen a split in the ranks after coaches Peter Burdett and Charles Sheffield opted to go their separate ways.
Sheffield has started up the Western Adelaide Sprint squad (WASPS) with several athletes formerly under the guidance of Burdett, including Bay Sheffield contenders Ryan Atkins, James Cibich and Lachlan Sheffield.
Sheffield said the split was amicable.
“Athletes chose of their own accord to stay with Pete or seek a change,” Sheffield said.
“I didn’t approach any, I was just happy to start afresh with whoever was interested.”
Under 18’s 120m backmarker, Helena Schwerdt has also left the Grange Beachies to train with the wife/husband team of Sharon Ward and Michael Hane.
Schwerdt will be looking to defend her junior sprint title at the state All Schools later this month.
Last start winners Brian Wilson who prevailed in the 200m at Pulteney and Connor Verrall (Flagstaff Hill 400m) have moved to the CTC squad coached by 2014 Bay Sheffield finalist Dylan Hicks. Wilson was formerly coached by Steve Butler who moved to Melbourne for work, while Verrall has left the Glenelg based Coastals Athletic Club.
Following their good form at the end of last season, both Wilson and Verrall will be among the favourites for the 120m Gift on Friday. Wilson is well placed to win a rare double as he is the fastest athlete in the 400m Novice field.
2009 Bay Sheffield finalist Alex Saliu and former state junior sprint champion Jack Pannuccio have also joined the Hicks’ crew.
Dual Women’s Bay Sheffield winner and Henley 120m backmarker Lynette Viney will line up with the Coastals AC which is headed up by SAAL coach of the year, Luke Buchanan.
2014 Bay Sheffield runner-up David Gross has commenced coaching, recently adding former Flagstaff Hill athletes Mikayla Round, Czenya Cavouras and Josh Biggs to his squad.
The Henley Gift carnival is on Friday, starting at 6.00pm.