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Capital Classic Meeting 2014 - TheEd - 27-01-2014

Capital Classic Meeting, Newtown Park – 24 January 2014

Nick Willis won the men’s 800m, after a good battle with two times New Zealand champion Brad Mathas who set a personal best of 1:49.17 last weekend in Newcastle, Australia.

Mathas sat on the shoulder of the pacemaker through the first lap in 54 seconds with Willis a second back. Mathas poured on the pace, after the pacemaker dropped out, with the Olympic silver medallist chasing hard.

Willis closed the gap but didn’t get past the Christchurch based 20 year old until the last 50 metres of the race. Willis recorded 1:50.04, Mathas 1:51.19 and Ben Anderson third in 1:53.46.

Willis said that it was a test run for the new tactical approach to the world indoor championships in Poland in March.

“We’ve got the world indoor champs coming up in six weeks and traditionally it’s quite a tactical race with the last 600 metres being really fast. Doing an 800m is a bit of a shock to the system to remember how to sprint again,” he said.

“Anything around that 1:50 range is fine. My coach wanted me to run negative splits which means the second lap’s faster than the first and we were probably pretty spot on to doing that so it worked out.

“Today was more about the benefit of doing the training. I was out of the gate pretty slow because I’ve been working on endurance. It wasn’t easy. I was happy to hold my form, but most importantly as I crossed the finish line, although my legs were knackered, I was able to regain my breath quite quickly,” he added.

The women’s 800m went to Auckland’s Katie Wright in 2:07.86, after the 25 year old went through the first lap in 61 seconds. Her time was just outside her personal best set in 2011.

Pippa Trevella from Christchurch finished second in 2:12.56 with 16 year old Arianna Lord the New Zealand schools 1500m champion third in 2:12.68.

Camille Buscomb had the top performance with an resounding victory in the 3000m, recording a personal best 9:08.70.

Buscomb, the two times national 3000 champion from Cambridge, sliced nine seconds off her previous best, set in winning her second national title at the same track over the distance last season. She had been lead through the first 1900 metres by 2010 Commonwealth Games double medallist Nikki Hamblin. Georgie Grgec was second in 9:41.24.

The 23 year old Buscomb spent two years at Purdue University in the US but has flourished since her return and has her eyes on qualifying for the Glasgow 2014 games in the 5000m. She needs to run the 15:32.0 B standard for nomination.

Not to be outdone, Daniel Balchin from Canterbury trimmed six seconds from his best in the men’s 3000m race, winning by almost the length of the straight in 8:09.25 from Wellington’s Matt Harris (8:21.45). Balchin’s time was in part, due to Nick Willis in the pace-making role who lead the field through the first 2200 metres in just over eight minute pace after running in the 800m. Wanaka athlete Oska Inkster-Baynes finished third in 8:29.42.

The women’s high jump was an enthralling competition with three athletes clearing the bar at 1.80m. London Olympian Sarah Cowley from Auckland and Christchurch jumper Emma Sutherland could not clear the next height of 1.84m, but national champion Liz Lamb did clear the bar for her best height since her 10th place finish at the World Student Games in Russia in July 2013.

Jordan Peters had another good win over five times national champion in the men’s high jump, clearing 2.05 to Billy Crayford’s 2.00.

Pole vault sensation Eliza McCartney cleared 4.00m easily and had three good attempts at 4.15m, which would have been a new under 19 national record. It will only be a matter of time before the Takapuna 17 year old improves on her own record of 4.11.

McCartney has already hit the World Junior Championships B qualification standard of 4.10 and the Commonwealth Games B standard of 4.30 could be within her reach as well.

The men’s pole vault went to Auckland’s Pascal Kethers at 4.75 from German visitor Vincent Hobbie on 4.60.

In the men’s 100m Joseph Millar, the double sprint champion for the last 2 years and unbeaten over 100 in New Zealand since Feb 2012, had a very strong challenge from Waikato BOP team mates Ryan Howe and Kodi Harman. Millar took the win to keep his unbeaten streak alive by out-leaning Howe to record 10.52 (+3.5), with Howe on 10.60 and Harman at 10.63. The three would later combine in the 4x100m relay.

Millar then followed up with a more decisive with in the 200m in 21.35 (+1.9) from Harman at 21.64 and hurdler turned sprinter James Mortimer in 21.88.

Zoe Hobbs, at just 16 years took the women’s sprint double with 11.87 (+0.3) and 24.76 (-0.6).

The Glasgow relay squads had their first competitive races with selection for the Commonwealth Games and success at the Games the ultimate prize.

The men’s team of Howe, Millar, Harman and Mortimer had a solid effort of 40.24s, indicating that the target of 39.50 is within their grasp and they can approach further attempts over the summer with confidence.

The women’s team didn’t manage to get the baton all the way around the track after a failed changeover, but they also have more opportunities to chase the required time of 45.00.

Louise Jones ran a personal best of 54.07 to win the women’s 400m with fellow Aucklander Zoe Ballantyne also getting a best ever 54.66, indicating she should be ready for a breakthrough in her favoured 400m hurdles. Tama Toki won the men’s race in 47.44.

Hurdlers Joshua Hawkins and Fiona Morrison both impressed in their specialist events. Hawkins with a 14.55 (-0.7) clocking made a further improvement in his best time to move to number 16 on the all-time list, while Morrison's 13.48 (+1.0) is just 0.03 outside her best.

Although the distances were not great in the women’s discus, Siositina Hakeai had a good win over arch rival Te Rina Keenan 55.60 to 53.07.

Wellington triple jumper Scott Thomson was out to a respectable 14.88 (+1.6) in the men’s event, but his sister Anna was beaten into second by Jenni Scott from Auckland 11.82 (+1.3) against 11.53 (+0.5).

Junior 1500m runners Sean Eustace and Tannock Blair had one of the closest finishes of the night with Eustace prevailing in 4:00.53 by just 0.25s.