WA’s elite pole vaulters have starred at the weekend Perth Track Classic with a series of personal best performances recorded at the WA Athletics Stadium in near perfect conditions.
Vaulters Lauren Hyde-Cooling, Sasha Zhoya and Stephen Clough all ticked off new milestones, with Zhoya coming incredibly close to breaking an U18’s world’s best jump.
The precociously talented teen settled for a new best of 5.40m, which saw him take the national U18 record off his coach Paul Burgess – himself an icon of the sport as a triple Olympian.
Zhoya said post-meet that the Perth crowd had spurred him on.
"Amazing comp, (the) conditions were sick, crowd was awesome and helped me get over 40 which was Paul Burgess’ record - one of our coaches,” Zhoya said.
He was joined at the mark by training partner Stephen Clough who recorded a first personal best in two years which now qualifies him for this year’s World University Games.
The meet was won by Declan Carruthers who cleared at 5.51m for victory on countback from fellow WAIS vaulter Angus Armstrong.
This followed on from the earlier women’s pole vault competition which was contested against a stunning Western Australian sunset which bathed the stadium in a rich golden hue.
Nina Kennedy showed some strong form to clear 3.96m off a short run-up, but the best performance of the evening came from youngster Lauren Hyde-Cooling who earned a new personal best at her victory height of 4.12m.
Hyde-Cooling competed at the U20 World Championships in Finland last year and the 19 year-old is quickly establishing herself as the next contender to Australia’s existing women’s pole vault hierarchy held by Kennedy and Liz Parnova.
On the track, there were victories for Brianna Beahan in the women’s 100m hurdles, Ian Dewhurst in the men’s 400m hurdles and Alanah Yukich in the women’s 400m hurdles.
Those victories came against largely state-based fields and the finishing times reflected that point, as each athlete won comfortably without threatening qualifying times.
Aaron Bresland was fourth in both the 100m and 200m dashes, with the 100m won by Jack Hale in personal best time, whilst Rohan Browning saluted in the 200m.
Sarah Edmiston competed against the men in the mixed discus and she continued her consistent form with yet another qualifying standard for this year’s IPC World Championships. Barring injury, she is a certainty to be on the plane to Dubai.
Matthew Ramsden received a call-up for the 2019 IAAF World Cross-Country Championships last week and he celebrated that news with a virtual training session victory in the Herb Elliott Mile.
Against a club-runners strength field, his dominance was never in doubt and with the 21 year-old in heavy preparation for the cross-country championships, fast times were not on his radar as he stopped the clock at 4:07.51mins, well short of the sub-four minute times he is capable of.
The Szalek brothers enjoyed a two-horse race for the men’s high jump title with Grant (20) edging his younger sibling Sean (18) by nine centimetres, with the duo recording bests of 2.14m and 2.05m respectively.
Lara Ilievski claimed victory in the women’s javelin with a best throw of 46.33m whilst the men’s was won by Tasmanian Hamish Peacock (75.95m) ahead of WA’s Cruz Hogan (70.76m) and Jesse Schelfhout (66.35m).
The women’s mutli-class 100m saw Ella Pardy (13.15secs) edge T38 competitor Rhiannon Clarke (13.64secs), whilst T34 wheelchair racer Robyn Lambird hit 19.57secs as each chases selection for this year’s IPC World Titles.
Outside of the local action, the meet was highlighted by exceptional performances in the men’s and women’s long jumps.
Victorian Darcy Roper won the men’s competition with a wind-assisted 8.32m but his series also included legal jumps of 8.13m and 8.11m as he made a big impression on the meet. The A-Qualifying standard is 8.17m.
That effort followed a high quality women’s long jump where 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games representatives Naa Anang and Brooke Stratton put on a show.
Anang earned a new personal best with a World Championships qualifier at 6.63m, whilst Stratton was a mere centimetre behind on 6.62m as both women put themselves on the selectors’ radar for the IAAF World Championships starting in September.
A high qualify field was assembled for the men’s 800m with three of the top-eight in Australian history on the start line.
In his first 800m since the Commonwealth Games final, Luke Mathews was not feeling confident.
"Scary and daunting,” was his description but in the end he was a very impressive winner in a world championships qualifier of 1:45.51 – second fastest of his career.
It was a late turn of speed that won it for Mathews.
"It was not a tactic to win it late, it was how I had to run, because those boys are so quick over the first 400. So, I knew if I was going to lead it was probably only going to come until the last 100 and it ended up coming in the last 50.
"Goal was to keep my confidence up the whole way and coming down the home straight hopefully have enough to pass the boys as I knew they would go out real quick.”