Above: Eliza McCartney brought a big performance to the Potts Classic Commonwealth Games trial pole vault. Photo by Alisha Lovrich / Temposhot.
Eliza McCartney was in exquisite form in the women’s pole vault Commonwealth Games trial at the 2018 Potts Classic in Hastings on Saturday, clearing 4.70m off a short ten-step run-up.
Vaulting with ease off the shortened approach used in the very early stages of her build-ups, and in her first competitive outing since the World Championships in August, the Rio Olympic bronze medallist then had the bar raised to 4.83 which would have been a new national record and Oceania record. Two of her three attempts were very close which would have been an astonishing performance off a very short run-up.
The result has given the 21 year old the confidence to have a crack at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in five weeks, ahead of her first Commonwealth Games in early April.
The victory was all the more meritorious given that McCartney broke a pole in her warm-up, enough to give most seasoned vaulters a case of the yips, but the Olympic medallist took it in her stride, revealing later that it was the first time in her career that she had snapped a pole.
Olivia McTaggart cleared 4.30m for second ahead of Liz Parnov from Australia on 4.15m.
World Champion shot putter Tom Walsh was also in polished form, pushing the 7.26kg iron ball out to 21.14m for some early season success to confirm his unquestioned position in the Games team.
The Canterbury builder won over his young training partners Ryan Ballantyne on 16.97m and Nick Palmer on 16.33m, both having already qualified for the world junior championships with the 6.00kg implement.
Walsh will also be in action with McCartney at the World Indoor Championships, trying to retain his world title ahead of his Commonwealth Games campaign.
On the track, the feature race on the programme, the Sylvia Potts 800m for women went to Katherine Camp from Te Awamutu after she ran a strong second lap to win in a quality 2:05.81, over four seconds ahead of Lucy Jacobs and Ellen Schaef.
Camp was outside the 2:01.20 Commonwealth Games nomination standard but looked very accomplished in the absence of Angie Petty, multiple winner of the Sylvia Potts race.
James Preston’s 1:52.48 was enough to beat 17 year old Samuel Tanner’s 1:53.21 in the men’s 800m with Tom Moulai finishing well for third place.
Scott Walker took out the men’s 100m in 10.84, the same time as Zac Topping in second with William Smart in third place.
Zoe Hobbs was the victor in the 100m Games trial for women with 11.72, ahead of Abby Goldie on 11.84 and Symone Tafuna’I in a personal best 11.95.
Josh Ledger (48.75) and Alex Haye (48.94) had a good battle in the men’s 400m while Portia Bing ran an excellent 53.86 to take out he women’s race.
The New Zealand under 20 men’s 3000m title went to Isaiah Priddey from Hamilton who was forced to work very hard to hold off a determined Theo Quax while early leader Mitchell Small finished in third.
The under 20 women’s 3000m title went to Hannah O’Connor, making it three consecutive titles over the distance. The Taranaki teenager finished in 9:44.70, six seconds ahead of Phoebe McKnight with a big gap back to Tessa Webb.
Tobias Scherbath from Germany cleared 5.65m to win the men’s pole vault ahead of an ecstatic Declan Carruthers from Australia getting a personal best 5.55m. Kiwis James Steyn and Jack Henry cleared 4.65m while New Zealand champion Nick Southgate failed at his opening height of 5.00m having also broken a pole in his warm-up, like his training partner McCartney.
Torie Owers, in her first major competition in New Zealand after relocating from the USA, won the shot put for women, tossing 16.97m for her second best ever outside performance. The 23 year old who qualifies to throw for New Zealand through a Kiwi father fell just 0.23m short of the Games B standard. Maddison Wesche threw an impressive 16.37m personal best in second.
Nicole Bradley had a great competition in the women’s hammer, heaving a best of 66.07m to improve her personal best by 1.50m, falling just 1.43m short of the Commonwealth Games B nomination target. Lauren Bruce finished in second, also securing a personal best distance with 62.42m, ahead of Ella Pilkington.
Long jump winners were Kelsey Berryman in the women’s contest with 6.29m and Thomas Rawstron in the men’s competition with a best leap of 7.28m.
The New Zealand athletics team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will be announced on Friday 2 February.
100m: Scott Walker (Chch) 10.84s 1, Zac Topping (PNth) 10.84s 2, William Smart NHB) 10.95s 3.
400m: Josh Ledger (UHutt) 48.75s 1, Alex Haye (Wgtn) 48.94s 2, Brayden Grant (Pal/Nth) 49.91s 3.
800m: James Preston (Wgtn) 1m 52.48s 1, Samuel Tanner (Tga) 1m 53.21s 2, Tom Moulai (Papanui) 1m 53.93s 3.
3000m U/20 championship: Isaiah Priddey (WBP) 8m 29.79s 1, Theo Quax (Akld) 8m 30.06s 2, Mitchell Small (Cant) 8m 33.52s 3.
5000m: Matthew Taylor (Hastings) 14m 50.83s 1, Sean Eustace (Chch) 14m 54.60s 2, Ieuan van der Peet (Chch) 15m 00.09s 3.
Shot put: Tom Walsh (Sth/Cant) 21.14m 1, Ryan Ballantyne (Chch) 16.97m 2, Nick Palmer (Hastings) 16.33m 3.
Discus throw: Alexander Parkinson (NHB) 55.58m 1, Nathaniel Sulupo (L/Hutt) 50.00m 2, Brent Newdick (Hib Cst) 44.67m 3. 1.5kg; Sean Howe (Karori) 48.18m 1, Kaleb Sola (U/Hutt) 31.14m 2.
Long jump: Thomas Rawstron (Tga) 7.28m 1, Jordan Peters (Pal/Nth) 7.13m 2, Matt Walsh (Chch) 6.72m 3.
Pole vault: Tobias Scherbath (Germany) 5.65m 1, Declan Carruthers (Aust) 5.55m 2, James Steyn (NHB) 4.65m 3.
4 x 100m relay: New Zealand under 20 42.15s 1, Senior men 42.21s 2.
100m: Zoe Hobbs (NHB) 11.72s 1, Abby Goldie (Tga) 11.84s 2, Symone Tafuna’i (NHB) 11.95s 3.
400m: Portia Bing (NHB) 53.86s 1, Brooke Cull (Tak) 56.62s 2, Amanda Fitisemanu (Nelson) 56.97s 3.
800m: Katherine Camp (Te Awmtu) 2m 5.81s 1, Lucy Jacobs (NHB) 2m 10.30s 2, Ellen Schaef (Wgtn) 2m 10.87s 3.
3000m U/20 championship: Hannah O’Connor (Taranaki) 9m 44.70s 1, Phoebe McKnight (Wgtn) 9m 51.42s 2, Tessa Webb (Manwtu) 10m 27.37s 3.
3000m steeplechase: Amanda Holyer (NHB) 11m 28.73s 1, Jenna Tidswell (Hastings) 13m 59.92s 2.
Shot put: Torie Owers (Chch) 16.97m 1, Maddison Wesche (Wait) 16.37m 2, Amania Mafi (U/Hutt) 11.76m 3.
Discus throw: Siositina Hakeai (Mang) 58.32m 1, Te Rina Keenan (Wait) 53.62m 2, Lauren Bruce (Sth Cant) 49.13m 3.
Hammer throw: Nicole Bradley (NHB) 66.07m (Auckland record) 1, Bruce 62.42m 2, Ella Pilkington 52.36m 3.
Long jump: Kelsey Berryman (Chch) 6.29m 1, Corinna Minko (Pal/Nth) 5.86m 2, Ashleigh Bennett (Hawera) 5.68m 3.
Pole vault: Eliza McCartney (NHB) 4.70m 1, Olivia McTaggart (NHB) 4.30m 2, Elizabeth Parnov (Aust) 4.15m 3.
4 x 100m relay: Open women 45.77s 1, Mixed women 48.68s 2.