Riverside High School Grade 9 Sam Clifford established himself as the Tasmanian under-20 10-kilometre champion with a blistering run in Sunday’s Launceston 10.
The Newstead Athletics member’s time of 31:33 won the under-20 title by more than four minutes, earned him 16th place overall in a field featuring several Olympians and, perhaps most impressively, took third place in the open men’s 10km state championship behind world championship-bound Josh Harris, of Launceston, and veteran Hobart middle distance champ Grant Page.
“It felt pretty good,” the 15-year-old said. “I wanted to go under 32 minutes so I was really pleased.”
Already an all-schools 3000m champion on the track, Clifford will compete in the School Sport Australia and Athletics Australia cross-country nationals, to be held at Rokeby and Wollongong respectively, in August looking to improve on his national silver medal from last year.
Held in conjunction with the Launceston Running Festival, the Tasmanian Road Running Championships saw Hobart’s Meriem Daoui (Northern Suburbs) win the open women’s and under-20 10km in 34:39.
The 5km titles went to Arabella Phillips (under-18, 24:25), Madison Brazendale (under-16, 19:01) and Jemima Lennon (under-14, 20:38) and in the men, Abbas Rajab Ali (under-18, 16:56), Sam Talbot (under-16, 17:31) and Tom Winkel (under-14, 17:34).
Newstead runners Bonnie Talbot (8:00) and Hamish Cook (7:39) claimed the under-12 2km titles.