RUNNERS TO WATCH: Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors preparing for this weekend’s Somerset Gift: Patrick McCarthey, Kerryn Ryan, Jack Vine, Elizabeth Melrose, Madison Wells, Leah Clark, Lily Vine, Savannah Bucknell and Mikaela Doneley. Absent: Hayley and Erin Wright and Danhniella Pedroni.
BEING called “Vic’s stable stars” is proof enough the talent is of a high standard.
Any athlete backed by Vic Pascoe and the Ipswich and District Athletic Club coaching network has immense promise.
That commitment to improving and competing at major competitions continues with the Ipswich club sending a contingent of experienced and rising sprinters to Saturday’s Somerset Gift on the Gold Coast.
The latest stable of stars are club captain Elizabeth Melrose, Patrick McCarthey, Madison Wells, Kerryn Ryan, Leah Clark, Mikaela Doneley, Jack Vine, Lily Vine, Savannah Bucknell, Dahniella Pedroni, Hayley Wright and Erin Wright.
As Ipswich and District Athletic Club president and coach Pascoe accurately suggested: “To have 12 runners at this meet is a great way to get fitter and possibly win some cash”.
“It’s usually a fabulous fun day of competition under handicap conditions.”
The Somerset Gift was first held in 2017.
It is similar to the prestigious Stawell Gift with runners handicapped by the Queensland Athletics League.
Former Ipswich sportsman Damian Flint is manager for the Gift. He said one of the big differences was how the sprinting is contested on a tartan track.
Flint said a prize pool of $23,000 was being offered with the addition of a pole vault competition for the first time.
“So far this year we’ve received the largest registration in our three years of hosting the event so it’s shaping up to be a great day,” Flint said.
Flint was pleased to see last year’s Open Female winner Hilal Durmaz, from Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School.
Ipswich and District Athletic Club captain Elizabeth Melrose.
Melrose heads the excellent field of Ipswich regional contenders this year.
Melrose is in the Open Women’s 100m and 300m.
Based on her past few professional races, Pascoe expected the 2019 Mulgowie Gift Women’s winner (120m) to be competitive. Melrose came second in the 300m Pittsworth Open Gift this year.
Melrose also finished second in the Open Women’s 400m and third in the Open Women’s 100m at the recent North Queensland Championships.
McCarthey is lining up in the Open Men’s 100m on Saturday. He’s a winner of the 2018 Somerset Gift over 100m.
“Patrick should be competitive as he seems to find that extra bit required in professional running as he has finished in the final of various gifts in the past few years,” Pascoe said.
Wells is in the Open Women’s 100m and Open Women’s 300m.
She has been successful the past two seasons winning the Pittsworth 300m Open Gift and winning the 100m Open Women’s event at Mulgowie in 2018.
Open Men’s 100 and 16 years entrant Ryan has been a finalist in the 120m Open Mulgowie and 75 yard Arthur Postle Pittsworth Gift.
“He will make his presence be known as he has been training hard and running quite fast times,” Pascoe said.
Clark is in the Open Women’s 100m, 14 years and under 100m, 15 years 100m and Open Women’s 300m.
She was a finalist in the Mulgowie Open (120m) and Open 400m, also placing third in the 14 years race and coming second in the 300m Open Gift at last year’s Somerset Gift.
“There’s lots of races for her to become a finalist,” Pascoe said.
“She has the unique opportunity to win money.”
Doneley is in the 14 years and under and the Open Women’s 300m.
Doneley was second in the U/18 300m at Pittsworth, the first time she had won money after trying several times.
At the North Queensland Championships, she finished fourth in the U/16 heptathlon.
That was a terrific effort after she got no points in the high jump.
Jack Vine is in the 15 years 100m and the Open Men’s 100m. He won the 120m U18 Gift at Mulgowie at his first professional race.
Jack’s sister Lily is in the 13 years and under 100m and Open Women 100m Gift. She came second in the U/18 300m Pittsworth Gift.
“She is just realising if you train hard there is money to be won,” Pascoe said.
Bucknell will get her first taste of professional running in the 12 years and under and the Open Women’s 100m Gift this weekend.
Pedroni is in the 17 years 100m and Open Women Gift.
Pedroni was second in the 16 years Somerset Gift last year at her first professional race.
Hayley Wright is in the Open Women’s 100m Gift. She won the inaugural 100m Women’s Gift at Somerset in July 2017.
After overcoming injuries, she is expected to be fitter for the Somerset Gift.
Hayley’s sister Erin is in the 16 years 100m and Open Women’s 100m Gift.
Erin has been a model of consistency after running second in the 14 years and under 2018 Somerset Gift.
The Ipswich club competitor just missed the finals at this year’s Pittsworth Gift.