Tasmania took out the 2007 Australian Schools Championships after a consistent performance in the relays on Friday. As in the individual event, their effort was led by Oscar Phillips, who spearheaded their victory in the senior boys’ when he came from two minutes behind on the last leg, and then held off a strong effort from NSW’s Josh Roberts to see his team home. Their victory was settled with solid performances across the other three age groups, with their senior girls coming second and both junior teams fourth.
Queensland won both girls’ relays, predictably in the junior division, where they were almost 30 minutes clear of the field, and memorably in the seniors. With the short post-JWOC day the third-leg mass start became a significant factor. Krystal Neumann and Aislinn Prendergast both started in it, with Neumann needing to catch a minute on leaders Tasmania and NSW, and then pull another ten minutes clear to claim victory. She had eight minutes on Catherine Hewitt at the final spectator control, and extended that further on the final loop to take the victory. Prendergast, who narrowly beat Neumann across the line, almost pulled off an even more sensational result, but fell four minutes short of the 29-minute gap she needed on NSW to snatch third.
Queensland’s challenge for overall victory was snuffed out by a mispunch on the second leg of the senior boys. They would have finished behind Tasmania anyway, but that result saw them fall behind NSW and Victoria too. Both those states had a good day. Victoria had a particularly good one, scoring the most points on relay day after their junior boys narrowly held off NSW after three close legs and an inexperienced junior girls’ team got an unexpected second, and took a share of second place. NSW joined them after Thea Richardson did just enough on the last leg to hold off Prendergast.
Final scores: Tasmania 44, Victoria and NSW 40, Queensland 37, ACT 28, SA 22, WA 6.
The Australian Schools Honour Team will be named on Saturday, and the team to contest to Schools Test against New Zealand in October will be named on Sunday.