Track and Field with Valmai Loomes

The month of January was one of disruption for all Illawarra Blue Star athletes, but it has been a month of great results and excellent all round performances. Due to the fires, many of the club's members missed rounds of competition due to the quality of the air and smoke and health hazards, but they put their best foot forward when it came to the Illawarra Track Challenge, then followed by the Country titles. Held in Dubbo over three days, the meet presented wind, dust, heat and a little rain but athletes were not denied and some outstanding results were recorded by members of IBS.

The outstanding third place in the Hooper Trophy for most Points scored at Country, behind the very large Mingara club and our own local southern club, Nowra, was a great reward for the athletes who competed for the club. Some of the members had to withdraw due to fires close to their homes, but it was a team of determined and dedicated athletes who took to the wonderful facilities they have in Dubbo.

Outstanding efforts were recorded with the win of Lachlan Parry from club mate, Chris Devery to take out the men's open 100 metres in a classic event of the meet. Devery and Parry then teamed with Cameron Chisolm and Corey Williams to defend their open men's 4x100m relay title. Williams was one of the stars for IBS , recording two personal bests in the open high jump (gold) and open long jump (gold) and also making the final of the 100m.

Under 18 high jumper Brent Harriman kept the flag flying in country titles for our jumpers, when he took gold in the 17yrs event, whilst the javelin was also popular with Blue Stars' Alex Del Popolo recorded a personal best and is now heading to state titles. In the women's Charlotte Smith won her age javelin and then contested the open javelin to gain 2nd placing. Mary Thomas dominated her javelin in the masters event.

Great to see the return of middle distance athlete Rosie Davidson. In her first major meet for some time, Davidson was impressive to take out the women's open 800m, 1500m and then backed up to win the 3km, an outstanding performance for an athlete who has had very little preparation. She was joined by Rebecca Dos Santos who took gold in the steeplechase and silver behind Davidson in the 1500m.

Silver also went to 400m athlete Monique Byers in the 400m hurdles. She then backed this up with silver in the 400 with club mate Sarah De Vries who placed 3rd. Emma Matthews had virtually the state final and ran a gallant race to take bronze in the 100m but has since backed this up with a great 4th placing in the ACT titles to record a personal best time. Ashlyn Adams battled shin splints but still manager a national qualifying time, and a silver medal for the under 17ys 100m hurdles.

Our Masters athletes were once again superb with sprinters John Lamb and Andrew Rodda winning his 100, 200 and 400m setting himself up for a great attack at the coming state titles. Lamb was more than impressive winning his short and long run hurdles, the 100, 200 and 400m. He was joined by Rodda and female sprinter Gianna Mogentale with Athletics Wollongong athlete Rodney Tebbutt to take out the masters 4x100m for the South Coast.

June Lowe dominated her events with wins in throws, jumps, sprints and hurdles whilst breaking the state record for the women's hammer for womens 65yrs. Sprinter/jumper Gianna Mogentale had it all her own way dominating the women's 100, 200, 400, 800, long and triple jump whilst clubmate Sarah Guevara ran a great race to finish a very close third in her 100m, 3rd in the 200 and 3rd in the long jump.

All results cannot be shown here in this column, but will be recorded on our website www.illawarrabluestars.com. It is a proud club that has a great history at the country titles, with athletes now at their top heading into state titles over the February period.