Harry Dixon's moment of glory launched a flurry of medal and near-medal winning performances for Tasman Tigers' athletes at the weekend's New Zealand track and field championships at Mt Smart Stadium.
Dixon, often cast in the shadows of his more renowned team-mates, blew away a strong field in Friday's men's 19 and under 5000m.
He clung to the lead pack of five runners for 11 laps and chased Wellington's Brendon Blacklaws on to the final lap before sprinting past on the final curve. Dixon easily withstood a late charge from Auckland's Aaron Jackson to win by 8m in 15min 16.64sec in his second-ever effort over 5km. Dixon's team-mate Peter Meffan finished fifth in 15min 32.13sec.
Dallas Bowden, running his first final in the U19 grade, regained the lead from Auckland's Michael Whitehead 200m from the finish of Saturday's 800m final and then held him off in the home stretch by 2m to win in 1min 53.62sec.
Whitehead was later disqualified for running out of his lane in the first 100m. It was Bowden's 11th national title, and he just missed out on two more medals.
He followed his 800m triumph by winning his heat in the 1500m two hours later.
The next afternoon Bowden towed the 1500m finals field through the first 200m, fell back into the pack, and then went back to the lead with 500m to go.
He lost the lead after bumping shoulders with Wellington's Hamish Carson, who along with Auckland's Matthew Mildenhall surged away on the final turn.
Mildenhall passed Carson in the final 10m for the win in 3min 56.39sec.
Tasman's Julian Matthews closed strongly with a 55-second last lap to nab the bronze medal in 3min 57.01sec.
Bowden was fourth in 3min 58.24sec.
Alex Jordan finished his first New Zealand track and field championships with two medals and two Tasman Centre and Athletics Nelson club records. He finished third in Friday's M16 100m final in 11.54sec and second in Sunday's 200m finals in 22.46sec.
Garry Creegan-Almond just missed medals in the M19 400m and 4 x 400m relay in his first nationals. He finished fifth in the 400m in 52.29sec, three-hundreths of a second off third place. Creegan-Almond led off the fourth-place relay team, which finished fourth in 3min29.41sec. Matthews ran the second leg, Jordan the third, and Bowden ran the final leg in 50.6sec.
Hazel Bowering-Scott came within two-hundreths of a second of earning her first New Zealand track and field title on Saturday. She came from behind on the final home stretch of the W16 400m, almost running down Canterbury's Abigail Watson with her personal best 56.50sec.
Meghan Kirk repeated her feat of two shot put medals. She finished third in Friday's W16 shot put with a 10.99m effort and followed on Saturday with 10.94m for second in the W19 competition.
Other near-medal efforts came from fourth-placed Cameron O'Neill, who held third in the M19 javelin with a personal best 52.47m until the final round. Cam Richards finished fourth in the 100m hurdles in 16.56 and was vying for a medal in his first-ever 400m hurdle race before tumbling over a hurdle 100m from the finish line.
Defending champion Belinda Wimmer ran 16min 48sec for fourth in the 5000m, an event won by New Zealand record-holder Kimberly Smith in 15min 19.61sec. Ewoud Noordeloos threatened for a bronze medal on the final turn of the M16 1500m before settling for a personal best 4min 7.56sec in sixth. Andrew Moore finished sixth in the M16 and M19 high jumps, clearing 1.85 in each event.
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