Tasmania lead Australian Schools Championships after individual

blair2007 Archive

Tasmania take a one-point lead into the relays at the Australian Schools Championships after a good individual day on Tuesday, using the same area as the JWOC long distance the previous day. Four states are still in realistic contention, with Queensland only a point behind, and NSW and Victoria also within striking distance.

Tasmania were led by Oscar Phillips, who added a senior title to his junior title from last year. On probably the most technical area used for the Schools Championships, he slipped up to three minutes behind the lead around halfway, but ran a strong second half. He took the lead for the first time when Simon Mee, who had been the fastest to the spectator control, lost eight minutes at 15. At that point he was still in a close struggle with Joshua Blatchford, but Blatchford also lost 90 seconds there, giving Phillips a two-minute lead that he held to the end of the course. Oliver Crosato came third after a steady run, just ahead of Leon Keely and Lachlan Dow.

Aislinn Prendergast had a breakthrough win on Saturday when she took out W17-20E at the NSW Championships, and she showed it was no fluke on Tuesday. She lost a minute at the first control, but took command of the race on the long seventh leg and was never headed thereafter. Three others were within three minutes; pre-race favourite Krystal Neumann was just over a minute behind, whilst Tasmanian pair Catherine Hewitt and Claire Butler, both of whom had the lead at points early in the race, filled third and fourth.

Queensland dominated the junior girls as Glennie Nottle and Katie Doyle took out first and second. Nottle was not the fastest in the field, winning only one split, but she didn’t put a foot wrong and was in front by halfway. Doyle, who only got a run at the last moment when Lilian Burrill pulled out the day before the race because of injury concerns, closed the gap from a minute to 18 seconds over the last few controls, but was unable to quite make up the ground. Burrill ran anyway as a reserve and beat everyone else in the field, but the official third place went to Georgia Parsons, ahead of Helen Mason-Fyfe who lost her chance when she dropped two minutes on the long sixth leg.

It was also Queensland’s day in the junior boys after a great battle between Kurt Neumann andTasmania’s Sam Webb. They were never separated by more than 15 seconds, but the long seventh leg saw Neumann get just far enough clear to stay in front to the end, scoring by 10 seconds. James Robertson took third, just ahead of his more fancied Victorian team-mates Todd Neve and Dave Mallen.

The competition will conclude with the relays on Friday afternoon.

Team scores after individual: Tasmania 23, Queensland 22, NSW 20, Victoria 18, ACT 14, SA 11, WA 4.