Challenge brings out the best

A Record number of competitors, a record number of people attending, and a record of 3 State titles for Abbie Taddeo, set the scene of the Illawarra Track Challenge held recently at the Kerryn McCann Athletic Centre.  Warm hot weather greeted athletes as they warmed up for the first event, the Open Women’s 60m and what a race it was.  Illawong’s Abbie Taddeo showed fine form to take the title for the third time, from UTS Norths athlete Gabriella O’Grady and Tavleen Singh of Sydney University in 3rd spot.  The excitement of the short fast sprint set the pattern for the night and the strength of the fields in all events kept spectators enthused as some of the best athletes in the State took to the track.  The men’s 60m was next with Sydney University sprinter Rohan Browning, recording a swift 6.83 to edge out Sydney Pacific’s Jake Lynch (6.93) and Campbelltown’s Anas Abu-Ganaba in 7.06, showing the speed that could place them in the upcoming State pen men’s 100m.  Local Blue Stars’ athlete Lachlan Parry performed well to finish in 11th spot overall whilst under 18 sprinter Steven Harriman finished a good 16th overall and was just edged out for third spot in the U20 age bracket.

The masters took to the track over 60m and again close finishes continued.  Blue Stars Gianna Mogentale was beaten by only 1/100th of a second whilst Mick Daly also had a good run.  But the star of the masters’ men was Ashley McMahon who took his division and then raced the open men over 100m to finish in the top ten - an outstanding achievement for a master’s athlete.

The short sprints set the scene and the men’s and women’s 100m again saw some good times recorded by both male and female athletes, with Taddeo and Browning taking the double.

A record 97 athletes took to the track in the men’s and women’s 400m, an event that always attracts attention.  Again close finishes with many stating a claim for the State titles later in the season.

Whilst the action was on in track events, field events were also highly contested with the shot and hammer being the throws for this year’s event and the long jump for both men and women.

The 3km was contested but due to a serious illness to long time masters athlete Les Gillies saw the postponement of the men’s and women’s mile.  Due to the nature of the illness, Athletics NSW, IBS and competitors decided to postpone this to a later date in respect of Les, who is admired by many in the athletic fraternity, along with his wife Penny.

For full results click here to go to the Athletics NSW website.


Our thanks go out to Blue Stars’ members and committee who did a tremendous job once again with preparation for the event to be conducted.  Tireless energy was displayed with members erecting tents, tables etc and ensuring the track was fine to allow Athletics NSW to commence the event.  Our thanks go to our officials, many of our club officials backing up to help out on the track after doing the preparation work.  We cannot conduct an event without these helpers so thanks to everyone who was involved. Athletes of the club changed their uniforms when people such as Rebecca Dos Santos became photographer for the night, Corey Hogg the drink man, Jessica Hogg our recording runner, Gianna Mogentale assisting with presentations, Geoff Hynoski assisting with presentations and also assisting as an official as with Ian Smith, Sue Sundstrom with officials meals and raffle, whilst Lynda Douglas was given the job of selling tickets in our raffle.  Technical officials Neville Fenn and Jodie Sundstrom, Ann Grimm were both allocated duties by ANSW.

Thank you everyone for a job well done, and one of the best and biggest meets the Illawarra has seen.