Superb weekend for Manawatu athletes at track and field nationals

Manawatu's Ben Langton-Burnell won the New Zealand men's javelin title at the national track and field championships at ...
Jeremy Ward /

Manawatu's Ben Langton-Burnell won the New Zealand men's javelin title at the national track and field championships at Hamilton at the weekend.

What awesome results from the Athletics New Zealand track and field championships in Hamilton at the weekend.

In past reports I have mentioned how Athletics Manawatu-Wanganui has previously been seen as a centre that produces lots of medals in age grades, but does not have a lot of success in the senior ranks.

This changed this year with the centre winning four senior men's titles, all won by members of the Palmerston North club.

It is very difficult to go for highlights, but being a track man, it was possibly Quin Hartley's win in the senior men's 400m which stands out.

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A little over three years ago, the possibility of Quin ever competing again in athletics was a real possibility and he suffered a serious head injury, following a high jump training accident.

Quin's recovery from this amazed most of us and to see him standing on the victory dais being awarded his gold medal by our club patron Arthur Eustace was a special moment.

Equally exciting was to see the centre relay team of Sam Merson, Brayden Grant, Zac Topping and Hartley win the 4x400 metre title.

Both Merson and Grant ran brilliant legs to put the team in a challenging position.

Topping exploded along the back straight to grab the lead and with Hartley running the final leg, victory was ours.

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A great effort by a club team competing against regional teams.

Ben Langton-Burnell gained his first national title, winning the javelin with a best effort of 76.59m.

His victory was not without difficulty as he was competing with a sore back and also had the frustration of not being able to use his favoured javelin after it was ruled to have a specification fault.

Although Ben now resides in Waikato, he has remained loyal to our club and competes for us.

Hamish Kerr was a class above the other high jumpers in winning the men's title with a 2.15m clearance and narrowly missed his attempts on 2.20m.

Kerr entered the competition at 2.01m, a height all the other competitors had failed at

Gold medals were not restricted to the senior ranks, with Braydn Popow walking a massive personal best to win the M18 3km walk and Wanganui's Richmond Wells winning the M18 pole vault.

Wells is very much a novice pole vaulter who has progressed well under the tutoring of Callum McConachy .

Jack Lewer won the gold medal in the para shot put and the silver medal in the discus.

He then competed in one of the meeting's highlighted event,s the senior shot put against Tom Walsh.

Although Lewer finished eighth I'm certain I heard the commentators indicating several of his attempts had bettered the New Zealand record.

A great experience for Jack to mix it with the world's best and respond with some great performances

The silver medal listing is also quite impressive.

Lea Muetzel had a busy championship, competing in all three grades of the high jump and quite surprisingly it was in the senior high jump she took the silver medal with a 1.66m clearance.

In the W20 competition her 1.60m clearance was the same as the third placegetter, but with more failures, she was fifth on countback.

She was also fifth in the W18 competition with a 1.62m clearance, only one clearance away from the medallists.

Ranae Savill  also cleared 1.62m and was sixth.

Tessa Webb ran a personal best 6m 59.36s for second in the W18 2000m steeples and was fourth in the 3000m race.

Harry Symes took silver in the M20 400m race, but injury prevented him starting in the 200m final and being part of the winning 4x400m relay team.

Lydia Bamford was one of the surprises for me.

She was part of the centre W18 4x100 relay team which took the silver medal.

She produced a massive personal best in the triple jump, leaping 11.10m to take the bronze medal.

Another personal best with a 5.07m long jump plus a sixth placing in the 100m final made it a great championships for Lydia.

Joseph Millar grabbed the headlines with his national record in the 200m and Manawatu's Zac Topping finished well here to take the bronze medal just behind former club member Will Smart.

Zia Macdermid ran a lovely race for third in the W20 1500m, a solid performance following and injury disrupted preparation.

Genna Maples, one of our rising stars who had to receive dispensation to compete because of her age, took bronze in the W18 long jump and was a member of the 4x400m team which also won bronze.

Keiran Pere took bronze in the M18 triple jump.

There are also those who just missed out.

Jordan Peters was fourth in the men's long jump, missing the bronze medal on the countback.

Pavinee Watson had big personal bests, in the long jump with 5.50m where she was eighth and 11.41m in the triple jump, where she was fifth.

Ariana Blackwood was fourth in the 400m hurdles.

The senior mens 4x100m relay was another to finish fourth.

Both Benjamin Wall and Alexander Hull reached the finals of the 1500m and 3000m races.

Jack Nesdale was fifth in the M18 discus with a best of 41.69m.

Vanessa Story also reached the finals of both the 200m and 400m and we wish her well as she travels to the world masters indoor championships in Korea.

The Manawatu secondary school championship are this weekend.

 - Stuff

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