St Patrick’s pair Ella Boxhall and Will Blackaby take championship glory

CONSISTENT PERFORMER: Launceston club champion Ella Boxhall races through the transition area at Sunday's triathlon at George Town. Picture: Paul Scambler
CONSISTENT PERFORMER: Launceston club champion Ella Boxhall races through the transition area at Sunday's triathlon at George Town. Picture: Paul Scambler

Two St Patrick’s College teenagers have taken out the Launceston Triathlon Club championship.

Sixteen-year-old year 11 student Ella Boxhall and 17-year-old year 12 student Will Blackaby secured their club titles with solid performances at Sunday’s sprint race at George Town, where they both finished on the podium.

Boxhall’s third-place finish behind Kate Pedley and Catelyn Turner came as a worthy endnote to what has been an impressive season for the rising talent. 

“The swim is my strongest leg and I had a good swim which set me up for a good race,” Boxhall said.

“I really like the bike leg, it’s a bit undulating in George Town and I had a pretty good average speed and I finished off my run pretty well, that was about the fastest run I've had there this season.”

Boxhall said she had steadily improved throughout the triathlon season. 

“At the start of the season there weren’t many improvements or anything and I was really focused on school and exams,” Boxhall said.

“But after having holidays and time off I got a lot of good training in and finished off the season really well.”

Fellow new club champion Blackaby saved his best until the last race of the season, putting in a huge effort to outrun Andrew Watson for the first time and claim first place.

I just want to try and smash next season.

Will Blackaby

“I was pretty happy with how I raced,” Blackaby said.

“Normally in a race I’m really good at the swim and then in one of them I’ll drop down a bit but today I was strong in all three.”

Next on Blackaby’s agenda are races in Coles Bay and St Helens, with nationals to come in April.

“I want to finish in the top 10 at nationals and then after that I’m not sure – I just want to try and smash next season.”

Former age group world champion James Hodge also made a return to competition at George Town, teaming up with Olympic rower Ali Foot and Annabel Gibson to take out the teams event.

Junior prospect Ethan Stretton and Monique Clark took out the super sprint events on what LTC president Oliver Cook called a “fantastic” day of racing.

“It’s an absolutely fantastic venue down there for triathlon because you can sight the whole swim leg and run leg, so it’s very engaging and we had a big crowd down there,” he said.

Cook said participation numbers had jumped 20 per cent from last year.

“The series as a whole has been fantastic, there’s been a real cultural shift in triathlon in Tasmania so it’s a very open, welcoming and supportive atmosphere now.

“Everyone there is enjoying the event and having fun and there’s a smile on their face so its a credit to the athletes that are involved.”