Muddy conditions test runners

TASMANIA's largest junior sporting event wrapped up yesterday with about 1150 runners providing the horsepower at the home of the state's motor sport.



A week after 1950 finishers were recorded at the primary all-schools cross-country, their secondary school equivalents also got to explore the extremities of Symmons Plains.

A total of 56 schools signed up for the second day of Athletics Tasmania's biggest event on its busy schools program.

AT president Mike Gunson was delighted with a total participation of more than 3000. 

``After the outstanding primary school championships we are pleased with the progression of kids who continue running in secondary school,'' he said.

``The primary event is very much about participation where kids just love being involved, whereas this tends to become more competitive so numbers drop a bit, but to still get over a thousand is fantastic.''

Twelve races were contested over 3000, 4000 and 6000 metres after which a Tasmanian team will be selected in the under-14, under-16, under-18 and under-20 age groups to compete at national champs in Albany, Western Australia, in August.

``There are some absolutely outstanding elite runners here,'' Gunson added.

``We encourage all students to participate but at the pointy end we have national champions as we saw in the under-20 event where national 3000m champion Kale Adams beat national 1500m champion Hugh Nicklason. For them to meet in a cross-country shows the quality we have.''

Tina Auckland provided some early home-town success when the Scotch Oakburn student led home Guilford Young's Lisa McConnon and Grammar's Georgie Scott in the under-20 girls.

``I was second last year and fourth the year before but that's the first time I've won it so I feel pretty good,'' said Auckland, 17.

``It was pretty muddy and a bit cold, but a good track. It would be pretty good to go to nationals.

``Last year they were in Launceston so there's a bit further to go this time.

``If I do go I just want to enjoy it because there's some serious competitors on the mainland.''

Deloraine's Jesse Stafford was also delighted with a maiden win after leading home Dominic College's Tedros Gebrehiwot in the under-17 boys.

``That's my biggest win by far and I'm stoked,'' said the 16-year-old.

``It was tough conditions and very slippery and hard to keep up.

``They took off strong but halfway through the second lap I went past and just tried to stay strong.''

Launceston Church Grammar's James Curran provided another Launceston success in the under-14 boys.

Full results will be posted on the AT website.


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