Illawarra Blue Stars team for the recently held Country titles was one of all round ages, talent and disciplines that enabled the club to produce one of the best performances at Country for some time. Combined with State title holders, (Chelsea Lenarduzzi - shot, Talissa Scott - Long Jump) and placegetters in State and Australian titles, along with the strong contingent of masters’ athletes and the talented group of up and coming junior athletes, Blue Star athletes were a dominant force in a lot of events the athletes contested.
Qualifying marks for Australian titles were met with promising jumper Nicholas Horton meeting the standard for long and triple jumps and high jump along with club Jye Shumack who also qualified in the high jump. Shot champion Chelsea Lenarduzzi was far too good for her opposition in the Open women’s shot as with long jumper Talissa Scott, while Masters athletes Mary Thomas, June Lowe and Gianna Mogentale were stand out performers in the women’s events. Mogentale had wins over the Australian champion, Julie Forster over the 100m and 400m, and will now clash again in the State masters titles.
In the men masters sprinters Darrin James took control of his 400m and 800m with the club’s Mick Daley and Colin Clarson making it a club affair over the 400m. Geoff Hynoski and Ian Smith took the double when they took out their respective age brackets to win gold in their steeplechase. The win by Stephanie Power in the open women’s 100m was a great result, who then took out 2nd in the 200m, whilst Connor Dymond ran a superb 200m to take the men’s 18/19 division adding to his gold in the javelin.
All Rounder Emma Mathews was not off the track taking home a bag of medals , whilst club mate Steven Harriman ran a superb 100m to take gold, and Margaux Chauvet running one of the best 400m to take the gold and then silver in the 200m. The open men’s relay was a challenge between friendly rivals Armidale and IBS, but this time it was the local team of Steven Harriman, Connor Dymond, Lachlan Parry and Kyle Grubnic who took gold just outside the Country record held by our own club team created some years ago.
Trey Barlow was outstanding in his shot and discus competing in his own age bracket then moving up a division to finish in the top three again whist the Meier girls Grace and Marie-Luise had one of their best championships taking home gold, silver and bronze medals in their shot, discus and hammer, with brother Beni taking out silver behind club mate Trey Barlow in the shot.
The “family affairs” were fantastic with the Smith Family winning 12 medals between them. Joshua Smith the youngest athlete at Country with sister Charlotte were both joined by mum Heidi and Dad Ian who also figured in the medals. The Cleverly family of Georgia and Thomas also brought home a bag of awards.
It was also pleasing to see people such as Lynda Douglass and Peter Shepherd pick up medals competing against quality fields in their respective events and along with Annette Mead, Cameron Chisholm and Josh Bell, all teaming in Blue Stars' relays to gain a medal or very high placing.
The overall performance of the club was outstanding and combined with a great support team and coaches; this year’s Country has certainly been one of the best. Combing with the outstanding success of the Illawarra Track Classic held the previous week, the club’s competitive side of the summer season has certainly set the mark for a very successful summer track and field season.