Palmerston North athletes were well represented in the opening events on the athletics calendar for 2014.
The New Year's Day meeting in Tauranga saw most of the New Zealand relay squad together providing hot competition in the sprint events.
National champion Joseph Millar, on his home track, proved to be the star, comfortably winning the 100m, 200m and 400m treble with a series of top-class performances.
He ran the 100m in a classy 10.49sec, while Zac Topping finished fourth in 10.92sec.
In the 200m, Millar crossed the line in 21.13sec, with Topping chasing hard in third place, clocking 22.01sec.
Millar completed the treble with a 47.64sec in the 400m, obviously an athlete in form with hopefully more to come.
The men's relay squad put out a team of Ryan Howe, Joseph Millar, Zac Topping and Cameron French and they recorded a good time of 41.41sec for the 4x100m relay. However, it was well short of the 39.50sec expected to be the qualifying standard for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The meeting highlight belonged to the girls' relay team where the Tauranga trio of Abbie Goldie, Amy Robinson and Brooke Sommerville were joined by Taranaki's Zoe Hobbs. Together they smashed the New Zealand under-18 4x100m relay record with 46.77sec, significantly better than the previous record of 47.29sec.
Andy Kruy, who has had numerous injury setbacks in the first part of the season, ran in the B-grade 100m and finished second in 11.48sec with Andrew Matusoka Webber fourth in 12.11sec.
Jordan Peters continued his good form, clearing 2.05m to win the high jump with younger brother Matthew clearing 1.95m for second.
By far the busiest of Manawatu athletes were the Allen twins, competing in the girls' 12 events. They always seem to finish close together and their Tauranga results continued this trend.
In the 100m, 200m and 800m races, Frances finished fifth in each event with Caelan sixth.
The 800m was a combined age event with the girls being the second and third 12-year-olds to finish.
The shot put saw the girls in seventh and eighth place respectively, but they managed to reverse the order in the long jump with Caelan eighth and Frances ninth.
They certainly bring back memories of the Signal twins Brenda and Rachel, who I remember coming through the grades at the Feilding club and continuing on to win national titles.
It was also good to see two former club athletes Simone Small and Ariana Blackwood figuring in the results.
Small, now competing in Auckland, finished fourth in the 100m, then won the B grade 200m with Blackwood winning the discus and placing fourth in the javelin.
The first of the classic meetings was the Lovelock Classic in Timaru last Saturday.
Liam Woolford attended this meeting, which coincided with the national steeplechase camp, but he failed to finish the 3000m steeple, withdrawing from the event with 700m left to run, another disappointing result.
■ Our best wishes go out to Shaun Popow, Vanessa Story and the teams travelling to Whangarei to compete in the Colgate Games.
This event must be one of the success stories in New Zealand sport.
In 1979 the New Zealand Children's Athletics Association accepted sponsorship from Colgate Palmolive in support of a mini Olympics athletics meeting, later to be called the Colgate Games.
Thirty-five years on, the Colgate Games continue to represent the major athletics meetings on the NZCAA calendar. Held annually in January, firstly in the North Island, then the following weekend in the South Island, the Colgate Games remain popular and form part of the annual summer holiday plans of young athletes and their families.
January 7: Palmerston North club night A.
January 10-12: North Island Colgate Games, Whangarei.
January 14: Palmerston North club night B.
January 14: Palmerston North Manawatu Striders Super Seven.
January 17-19: South Island Colgate Games, Timaru.
January 17: Jump to Music, Hawera.
January 18: Sylvia Potts Classic, Hastings.
January 19: Children Trans-Tasman, Auckland.
January 20: Cooks Classic, Wanganui.
January 21: Palmerston North club night C.
January 21: Palmerston North Manawatu Striders Super Seven.
January 24: Wellington Capital Classic.
January 25: Auckland 14-U18 interprovincial.
- © Fairfax NZ News