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Katherine the great shines in Christchurch

Katherine the great shines in Christchurch (Jennian Homes NZ Track & Field Champs)

Katherine Camp brought to an end the seven-year reign of Angie Petty as senior women’s 800m champion to land her maiden national title with an inspirational run at the 2019 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships.

The Canterbury athlete, who is currently enjoying the form of her life, was content to stalk the front-running Petty for much of the race until launching her winning strike down the home straight.

Camp, who has held the upper hand over Petty throughout the domestic season, flashed past the finish line in 2:03.70 – 0.47 ahead of her fellow Canterbury athlete to strike gold.

“To have finally done it (win my first national senior title), I’m pretty stoked,” explains Camp, 27.

“To be honest, I went into the race very unsure of how I was going to run and how Angie was going to run. I’m glad that she (Petty) took the pace on as that it how I wanted it to play out.

“The endurance I’ve worked on during winter training has given me so much strength. I used to reach 600m and die but now the final 200m is the strongest part of my race.” Bronze was collected by Auckland’s Stella Pearless in 2:08.90.

In the senior men’s 800m, Brad Mathas created history to win an unprecedented eighth successive national title for the distance and match the accomplishments of Kiwi middle-distance legend Sir John Walker as an eight-time winner of this title (Note, Walker’s successes were not achieved consecutively).

In a slow-run final, Mathas was content to let his fellow Canterbury athlete Sam Petty set the pace before unleashing a decisive burst of pace over the final 150m to deliver victory in 1:52.54.

Former World U20 representative James Preston of Wellington produced an accomplished piece of two-lap running for silver in 1:53.29 with Petty hanging on for bronze in 1:53.98 – ten minutes after his wife, Angie, won silver in the women’s 800m.

“I come back every year (to nationals) because it means something to me and I want to keep that legacy going,” explains Melbourne-based Mathas.

“Today was all about winning. The conditions weren’t great because of the wind and with James (Preston) running well, I wasn’t going to risk missing out on the title to run a fast time.”

Mathas, who set a PB of 1:46.07 when placing fifth in the 2018 Commonwealth 800m final, will move on to Perth next week in pursuit of the World Championship qualification mark of 1:45.80.

Olivia McTaggart posted a PB of 4.46m with her third and final effort to win the senior women’s pole vault – in a competition unfortunately shorn of Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney because of a niggling hamstring injury.

The Auckland athlete also attempted the World Championship qualification mark at 4.56m, but narrowly missed out on the height with her second effort.

“I’m really happy with it, I’ve not had the best time of it recently; mentally, physically it hasn’t been going my way so to win the title means a lot to me, especially after no-heighting (at the Christchurch street meet) three days ago.

“My biggest goal for the year is to qualify for the Doha World Champs and to have a crack at it this early in the year is really encouraging for me.

“My second attempt was almost too close. I thought I had it, but the bar just came down.”

McTaggart, 19, returns to competition tomorrow in the U20 pole vault.

The joint New Zealand record-holder Rochelle Coster (Auckland) finally landed her elusive maiden senior national women’s 100m hurdles title in what is likely to prove her final season in the sport.

Coster, 31, who has won two silver and one national bronze medal in her pet event in the past, today edged a thrilling duel with long-time rival and six-time champion Fiona Morrison (Canterbury) by just 0.02 – stopping the clock in a slick 13.31 – albeit with the benefit of a 2.4m/s following wind.

“It is such a relief to finally win this title, adds Coster. “It has been a long time coming. But I guess that is the beauty of racing such a tough rival as Fi (Fiona Morrison).”

“I had nothing to lose as this is my last season, I just had to go for it and really attack the hurdles. In some ways it would be nice to run (next year) as defending champion but if this is the last big race, it is a good way to go out.”

Amy Robertson of Auckland in 14.13 completed the podium.

Josh Hawkins secured a fifth successive senior men’s 110m hurdles and let out a yell of joy post-race after posting a sub-14 second clocking.

The former World U18 silver medallist from Auckland for the past year has switched from eight to seven steps to the first hurdle and managed to clock 13.90 en route to victory with the benefit of a 3.5m/s tailwind.

“I’m very happy,” he explains. “We’ve been trying for so long to get under 14 (seconds) in New Zealand, it is such a huge task and getting it together for this race was huge.”

Hawkins will next move on to the Brisbane Track Classic and Australian Championships in pursuit of the World University Games qualification mark of 14.00.

Cantabrian duo; Jack Henry (14.64) and Max Attwell (16.01) secured the minor medals.

US Indoor champion Chase Ealey produced a top quality performance to clinch victory in the women’s senior shot with a best of 18.13m.

World U20 champion Maddison-Lee Wesche (Auckland) produced a solid display to regain her national title with a best of 16.32m with Victoria Owers (Canterbury) earning third and silver in the championship with 16.03m.

“We’ve tried to do some new things in training and I tried to put it out in the field today but it didn’t pay off as much as I wanted,” says Wesche. “However, I’ll take 16.32m. It is pretty cool to win the same title (for a second time) as Valerie (Adams), who is amazing.”

Teenager Josephine Reeves (Wellington) continued her exciting rise by landing the senior women’s high jump title with a new PB of 1.84m.

The exciting 17-year-old talent added 1cm to her previous best before just missing out on 1.86m – a height which would have earned Reeves the NZ U18 record.

Behind, the 2018 champion Keeley O’Hagan (Wellington) had to settle for the consolation prize of silver on countback from Emma Sutherland (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) at 1.77m.

Stephanie Wrathall unleashed the longest throw of her career to strike gold in the senior women’s javelin and defeat defending champion Victoria Peeters.

The Auckland javelinist’s sixth round effort of 55.26m dislodged Otago’s Peeters (54.98m) from top spot. Caitlin Bonne (Canterbury) with 45.97m banked bronze.

Teenager Georgia Hulls reaffirmed her rising one-lap status to trim 0.01 from her lifetime best to claim a decisive victory in the senior women’s 400m title in a time of 55.09.

Despite the windy conditions the Hawkes Bay Gisborne athlete unleashed a powerful final 200m to come home 0.87 clear of Mackenzie Keenan (Canterbury), who clinched silver. Sophie Napper (Otago) dug out a bronze medal in 56.81.

Oliver Miller became the first man since AH Holder in 1897 to complete the 400m and 400m hurdles double at New Zealand nationals (note, back then the distances were 400yds) as he secured the senior men’s flat 400m title.

Twenty four hours after taking the 400m hurdles crown the willowy Aucklander – running from the outside lane – produced a powerful late burst to stop the clock in a new PB of 47.99 – 0.23 ahead of Luke Mercieca (Canterbury) with Josh Ledger in bronze (49.03).
Paralympic 400m bronze medallist William Steadman (Canterbury) put on a great show for his home supporters to blast to victory in the men’s para 400m.

The 2018 T36 400m world number one stopped the clock in a world leading mark of 55.42 to finish clear of 2017 World T36 400m and 800m bronze medallist Keegan Pitcher (Auckland), who had to settle for silver in 56.58. Bronze went to Wellington’s Joshua Ward in 1:03.01.

“I’m pretty stuffed but it felt like a good run and I’m relatively pleased with how I ran the race,” he explains. “It was a slightly weird feeling to not have to travel for the competition but great my family got the chance to watch and support me.”

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