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Tanner brings the curtain down

Tanner brings the curtain down on the Jennian Homes NZ Track & Field Champs
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A star was born at the 2019 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships as teenager Sam Tanner joined some of the legendary names of Kiwi athletics to be crowned national 1500m champion.

Tanner stopped the clock in 4:08.97 - the slowest winning mark to take out this title since the event switched from a mile event to 1500m in 1970 - but the ferocious speed demonstrated by the 18-year-old prodigy to hunt down and pass the six-time champion Hamish Carson was a joy to behold.

After a pedestrian early pace – the first lap was covered in a sluggish 74 seconds – Carson later assumed control and made his strike home at the bell with Tanner back in sixth.

However, the teenager refused to panic and by midway down the back stretch latched on to the back of the Wellington athlete.

Around the crown of the final bend the Waikato BoP athlete made his winning move and was simply unstoppable as he kicked decisively clear of Carson - his senior by 12 years - to bring the house down at Nga Puna Wai.

Carson, who was bidding to match Sir John Walker as a seven-time national 1500m champion, had to settle for silver in 4:10.90 with Jacob Priddey (Otago) earning bronze in 4:11.99.

“I am stoked. I came in with the win as the goal and to achieve it feels awesome,” says Tanner who this season has secured the New Zealand U19 1500m record and also become the youngest ever Kiwi to break the four-minute barrier for the mile. “It is an honour to compete and race against the big dogs.”

“I had a little moment when I thought I need to close this gap but I did and as soon as I got in his (Carson’s) tail in the back straight I had full confidence in my kick. I made my move at 180m to gain, pulled out and slingshot off the bend.”

Tanner, who is coached by Craig Kirkwood, believes a more professional approach to the sport and greater recovery has contributed to his rich vein of form as well as a passion for surfing.

“The surfing has given me greater lung capacity and a better aerobic base,” explains Tanner who lives on Papamoa Beach and plans to attend the University of Washington from August. “I surf every day apart from the week before a race or on the day of an important session.”

Zoe Hobbs matched her achievement of two years ago by bagging the 100m and 200m double with a hugely impressive display in the half-lap event.

The Auckland-based athlete powered through to a time of 23.22 – within just 0.03 of her lifetime best in cold, chilly conditions – albeit with the benefit of a 1.8m/s tailwind.

In a tight battle for silver, Georgia Hulls (Hawkes Bay Gisborne), the national 400m champion, edged Olivia Eaton by 0.02 with a PB of 23.65.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more than to take the double,” says Hobbs. “It was just a bonus to come away with a good time. The 200m is an event that hasn’t been my focus this season, so to run the time I did was really cool. I’m starting now to think I can focus more on the 200m my time in Canberra (her PB of 22.19 set last month) would have been a B qualifier for Rio.”

Katherine Camp completed the middle-distance double to defeat defending champion Angie Petty with a confident performance in the 1500m.

Kara Macdermid of Manawatu Wanganui took up the mid-race pace but with 300m remaining Camp purposefully accelerated to the front.

Petty threatened the New Zealand 800m champion but in a repeat performance from yesterday’s two-lap final, Camp proved too strong, stopping the clock in 4:20.96 to claim a narrow win by 0.29 from her Canterbury team-mate. Rebekah Greene (Otago) picked up bronze in 4.26.75.

Camp, who was buzzing from her 800m success and only enjoyed three hours sleep the night before, said: “It is huge. I’m absolutely stoked. I came here to take the 800m, so to win both is pretty awesome. If the pace was slow the plan was to go with 300m remaining. I was confident I could do it.”

Jordan Bolland rounded out an eye-catching championships with gold in the 200m. The Aucklander, who struck silver in the 100m on Friday repelled his team-mate Hamish Gill in 21.39 (+2.7m/s) by 0.11 seconds to earn top honours. Ethan Holman (Waikato Bay) clinched bronze in 22.07.

Ieaun ver der Peet (Canterbury) was a surprise winner of the senior men’s 3000m steeplechase crown in 9:22.65. The 22-year-old, who had only made one previous steeplechase appearance, finished well clear of the minor medallists; Joss Barber of Auckland in 9:34.82 and Michael Sutton (9:41.09) of Waikato BoP.

Marshall Hall held off a strong challenge from Alexander Parkinson to earn his tenth national discus title. Hall’s 58.93m toss in round three helped the Southlander to top spot with Aucklander’s Parkinson settling for silver – albeit with the consolation of a PB of 58.01. Also in PB shape was Youth Olympic champion and national U20 discus victor Connor Bell (Auckland), who hurled the discus 56.41m for bronze.

Meanwhile, in the women’s senior discus, Commonwealth Games fourth placer Siositina Hakeai secured a seventh national title with a best of 53.67m from her fellow Aucklander TeRina Keenan (51.88m).

Jordan Peters of Manawatu Wanganui mounted a successful defence of his men’s senior long jump crown with a best of 7.54m (3.0m/s) comfortably clear of Otago duo; Rogan Ross (7.22m) and Felix McDonald (7.14m).

Just 24 hours after securing the senior national pole vault crown Olivia McTaggart added the U20 crown to her growing swag of titles.

The Aucklander, who yesterday posted set a PB of 4.46m, cleared a best of 4.30m today before advancing to the World Championships qualification height of 4.56m. However, for the second successive day she frustratingly just found the height beyond her. Completing an Auckland clean sweep of the podium were Imogen Ayris (3.97m) and Hannah Ayde (3.37m).

Kayla Goodwin completed a dazzling New Zealand Track & Field Championships by adding her sixth national title of an unforgettable three days of action.

The 17-year-old Waikato BoP athlete bagged U20 triple jump and senior women’s long jump golds on the opening day before adding three further titles on day two with U20 crowns in the long jump, 100m hurdles and 4x100m relay.

Today she began her day by matching her national U18 and U19 triple jump record of 12.74m – en route to gold in the senior women’s triple jump.

“I can’t really believe it, it’s been pretty crazy,” explains Goodwin, who also helped her Waikato BoP quartet win a 4x400m bronze.

“I came here wanting to do my best and have fun. it has a long season, I’m really pleased.”

The 2018 senior women’s triple jump champion Anna Thomson (Wellington) had to settle for silver with 12.55m with Canterbury’s Greer Alsop (Canterbury) in bronze with a best of 12.44m.

Paralympic T36 400m and 800m bronze medallist William Stedman stepped down in distance but still impressed in the men’s para 200m sprint. Twenty four hours after blitzing to a world leading mark in the 400m, the Cantabrian powered to a 25.22 clocking over the half-lap distance for championship gold.

In the women’s 200m para event, Danielle Aitchison trimmed 0.15 from her New Zealand T36 record to clock 29.49.

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