Eleanor Patterson (Vic) has equalled her own national under 20 high jump record to win GOLD at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships today, as Jack Hale (Tas) reigned supreme in the boy’s under 18 100m.
Competing in what was a hot field that included her Glasgow 2014 teammate Hannah Joye (Qld) and IAAF World Junior Championships representatives Cassie Purdon (Qld) and Nicola McDermott (NSW), Patterson’s winning leap was a mere two centimetres shy of the national record last achieved in 1994 and a better performance than her gold medal winning leap at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
“It all went really well, I was happy with that jump. I trained my hardest coming in, and have done all the preparation with my coach and it’s great out there because I just love to do it. I just take each jump as it comes, I try to keep my calm and the 1.98 ones felt very close. Who knows what is to come?” Patterson said.
“It was a really good competition, the level was really high, it was great to have those girls out there doing really well too. And I have to say thank you to all my supporters, my coach and my family, they’ve just been amazing.”
Patterson was the last to enter the competition at 1.88m, and made first attempt clearances at this height and 1.90m. On her second jump she went over 1.92m, before making light work of the IAAF World Championships qualifier of 1.94m and her winning height.
Joye was the next best, with the 18-year-old improving her PB to 1.92m to win silver. It is her second improvement on her career best in as many weeks, and gives her great confidence ahead of the Australian Athletics Championships in two weeks’ time.
“I’m so happy. My last juniors and another PB. It’s great,” Joye said.
“Everything is up in the air now. Beijing might be there. I want to keep improving on my personal best and see where that takes me. And I can’t wait for the Nationals. They are in my home town so it is going to be great.”
The bronze medal was won by McDermott after she cleared a career best of 1.88m, while Clare Gibson (WA), who is the Australian under 18 champion, ensured her automatic selection for the IAAF World Youth Championships by clearing the qualifying mark of 1.77m for a second time in as many days.
The boy’s under 18 high jump was also a fantastic event, as Josh Connolly (Qld) secured his selection for Cali 2015.
Duelling with Grant Szalek (WA, second, 2.09m) and Brenton Foster (Qld, third, 2.09m) across the course of the competition, Connolly entered at 1.96m boasting two qualifiers for the IAAF World Youth Championships already under his belt. He missed his first jump, but responded with a second attempt clearance before making light work of 2.00m, 2.03m, 2.09m, 2.11m and his winning mark of 2.14. He stumbled at the meet record height of 2.17m.
“I’m stoked, it was massive jumping today, it’s good. The goal today was to get the spot for Cali and everything else was a bonus. I wanted to get one big jump this season and I got that today as well. I’m very happy,” Connolly said.
Foster’s performance of 2.09m provides him with a second IAAF World Youth Championships qualifier. This means he can now be selected at the discretion of the Athletics Australia Selectors.
On track, it was sprint sensation Jack Hale (Tas) who shone the brightest, with the 17-year-old confirming his automatic selection to the IAAF World Youth Championships in the boy’s 100m just days after doing the same in the 200m.
Stopping the clock in a wind assisted 10.38 (w: +2.8), the now three-time Australian Junior Athletics Championships medallist here in Sydney (NSW) blitzed the field in the closing stages to take out the win from Brandon Herrigan (Qld, second, 10.55) and Jordan Shelley (NSW, third, 10.56).
Hale has experienced a meteoric rise in profile since breaking the Australian under 18 100m record last year and taking out the Australian All-Schools title in a stunning time of 10.13 (w: +3.4). His mission here in Sydney (NSW) was to deliver on the hype and ensure his selection for Cali 2015, and he’ll now head home happy in the knowledge he has the chance to compete in both short sprints in July.
“I just had to come out today and produce. I think I ran a half decent race, conditions wise, the track surface being wet and stuff, I’m pretty happy with it. There are still a lot of things I can work on, but I’m happy overall with the performance. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to sound like I am making excuses but I’ve only had about a week’s worth of real preparation so it’s good,” Hale said.
“I won’t be going to Nationals this year, I’ll save that for next year when I am a bit older and hopefully faster. I have my state champs next week and then I’m going to run Stawell then there are a few months to really get ready for World Youths.”
In the girl’s race, Nicole Kay (Qld) took advantage of a huge tailwind to win gold in 11.80 (w: +4.6) from Nana-Adoma Owusu-Afriyie (Vic, second, 11.85) and Kirra Womersley (Qld, third, 11.98).
In other highlights on the final day at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships:
- Hurling a new meet record of 75.04m, Rhys Stein (NSW) was victorious in the boy’s under 20 javelin throw. Liam O’Brien (Qld, 66.05m) won the silver medal, and Matthew Rees (NSW, 63.71m) the bronze.
- Ryan Patterson (Vic) ran 1:53.38 to win the boy’s under 20 800m from Mason Cohen (NSW, second, 1:53.44) after they duelled throughout the two-lap race, while IAAF World Junior Championships finalist Georgia Griffith (Vic) won the girl’s event in 2:07.02 to improve on the silver medal she won last year.
- Trae Williams (Qld) added the boy’s under 20 200m crown to his trophy cabinet after taking victory in the 100m yesterday. Crossing in 21.77 (w: -5.6), the 18-year-old shared the podium with Adam Ramsdale (NZL, second, 22.18) and Taylor Burns (Qld, third, 22.36). Maddie Coates (Vic) won the women’s race in 24.69 (w: -1.5).
- The IAAF World Youth Championships bound Ned Weatherly (Vic) added the shot put gold medal to his Australian Junior Athletics Championships tally with a personal best mark of 19.47m. He also won the boy’s under 18 hammer throw at this event.
As the Australian Junior Athletics Championships draw to a close, attention now shifts the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge at Lakeside Stadium next Saturday 21 March. The 93rd Australian Athletics Championships will then bookend the domestic athletics season on the last weekend in March in Brisbane (Qld).
The Athletics Australia Selectors will meet in the coming days to determine the Australian team headed to the IAAF World Youth Championships. It will be announced shortly.
For more information on the Australian Junior Athletics Championships, please click here.
For more information on the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge, please click here.