Above: The 2017 NZ Champs men's 100m final. Photo by Alan McDonald / Macspeedfoto.
Joseph Millar will be all out at the Jennian Homes NZ Track & Field Championships this weekend in Hamilton to replicate his form of last year in his defence of the national sprint double ahead of his Commonwealth Games debut in April.
At Porritt Stadium last year he scorched over the track to win the 100m in 10.18 and the 200m in 20.37 to secure himself a place at the world athletics championships in London. Millar should make it title number five in both events and assist his Waikato Bay of Plenty team to victory for the second year in the 4 x 100m relay.
A formidable line up of Scott Walker, Zac Topping, Harry Symes and Joshua Hawkins will ensure a close race for the silver and bronze medals.
In the 200m Millar will face 2011 and 2016 champion Alex Jordan who is making his first appearance since the 2016 national championships, Walker, Topping, Symes and Alex Haye.
The 400m will produce a new champion from Josh Ledger, Jacob Matson, Brayden Grant and Haye.
Brad Mathas has dominated the 800m final for the past six years and the Commonwealth Games team member looks set to continue as he races against Michael Dawson, James Preston, Sam Petty and Hector Farmer for title number seven.
Hamish Carson just back in the country after competing in the 3000m at the world indoor championships now has his sights on his sixth 1500m title and his tenth overall national title. Peter Wheeler a surprise third last year has improved considerably since then and last month in Hamilton took out the national 3000m title. Simon Rogers, James Preston and Oli Chignell also in the field should provide a close race.
Craig Lautenslager will be aiming for his fourth national title since August last year, adding the 5000m to the cross country, half marathon and 10,000m victories in recent months. Peter Wheeler likewise will be keen to add the 5000m to his 3000m crown. Also with the potential to medal are Oli Chignell and Matthew Taylor.
Joshua Hawkins should have the 110m hurdles title in the bag for the fourth year in a row and Gold Coast bound Cameron French is aiming for his fourth 400m hurdles title.
Mathew Rogers third last year, Liam Woolford and last year’s under 20 champion Blair Pennell will line up in the 3000m steeplechase.
Mike Parker who won his first national title in 1978 and is the oldest New Zealand champion after winning the 3000m race walk in 2015 at aged 61, has entered in the 3000m race walk and the 20km road walk. He is up against David Smyth in the track race and Lyndon Hohaia on the road.
Cody Wilson will face last year’s under 18 champion James Guthrie-Croft in the under 20 100m and 200m, while Oliver Miller should pave the way in the 110m hurdles.
The under 20 1500m should produce an excellent race with four athletes who have been at the forefront all season, Theo Quax, Samuel Tanner, Isaiah Priddey and Nick Moulai going for it again.
Quax is the defending champion winning last year in 4:11.72. All four have set a personal best this season, with Priddey setting a New Zealand under 18 record of 3:44.34.
Max Spencer, Jono Ansley and Flynn Palmer are the leading contenders in the 800m.
Samuel Gouverneur second in the under 18 400m last year will want to go one better in the under 20 400m where he will be up against Rowan Blaikie.
Christopher Dryden the 10,000m champion will be out to add the 5000m title. Also in with a chance are Connor Melton, Mitchell Small and Kalani Sheridan.