HAMILTON

Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships, Porritt Stadium - 9/11 March 2017

9 March: In her first competition since September 2016 and the first since the birth of her daughter in October, Dame Valerie Adams sent the shot out to 17.83m to claim her 15th New Zealand shot put title.

The 33 year old was very consistent in her six attempts and revealed after the competition that she was nervous during the event, not having been in competition mode for so long and having very different priorities in her life now.

She was pushed all the way by two young throwers, 18 year old Aucklander Maddison Wesche who hit a personal best 16.94m and 23 year old Torie Owers from Canterbury who had a best of 16.42m. Wesche had earlier in the day won her fifth under 20 shot put 20 title. To cap off the day, Dame Valerie was presented with the gold medal she should have been awarded at the 2010 World Indoor Championships but was denied by a drugs cheat.

Adams said she was uncertain how it was going to go.

"I didnt know what to expect today, its been 18 months since my last competition, its been a very full on last three months trying to come back to here and its been a rapid progression. Im glad I competed today, Im glad I blew off the cobwebs. I am in better shape that was shown today, and Im now looking forward to competing in Christchurch. Its getting back to basics I wasnt learning how to compete again but I was getting back into my groove.

"It was awesome.

"Training and technique has been really good, its just putting it all together now including the competition nerves and everything that comes with it. There was also the pressure of the Commonwealth Games selection and the criteria for today and there was quite a few things to tick off and then the presentation so its been quite full on but its been an awesome afternoon," she said.

Joseph Millar made it 100m title number five with a clinical display of sprinting, winning the senior mens 100m in 10.46 into a slight head wind from hurdler Joshua Hawkins (10.77) and Scott Walker (10.79).

In winning his fifth title, the Waikato BoP sprinter equalled the feat of current NZ 100m record holder Gus Nketia and Chris Donaldson who both won five titles.

Zoe Hobbs (Auckland) retained her senior womens 100m title in a smart 11.66 from rising sprinter Olivia Eaton from Taranaki and Livvy Wilson from Auckland.

Oli Chignell from Otago, the national under 20 cross country champion ran outstandingly to win the senior 5000m title in 14:31.53, just ahead of national 3000m champion Peter Wheeler (Auckland) with 14:31.64. Newly crowned 10,000m champion Craig Lautenslager from Tasman filled third in 14:40.65.

Olivia Burne led an Auckland trifecta in the senior womens 5000m in a personal best 16:19.10, ahead of Lydia ODonnell and Penny Peskett.

Phoebe McKnight (Wellington) and Mitchell Small (Canterbury) are the new 5000m under 20 champions.

Small speed over the final lap got him his first track title.

"Its been a long time coming so its good to finally get one after stuffing up a few times," he said.

The under 18 3000m titles went to Hannah OConnor (Taranaki) and Liam Back (Wanganui). Back clocked a PB 8:35.11 to lead in Murdoch McIntyre and Drew Cairney who also recorded their best time.

Siositina Hakeai celebrated confirming her spot on the Commonwealth Games Team two days ago by taking her sixth New Zealand discus title with a winning throw of 57.31m. Her Auckland training partner Te Rina Keenan threw 53.38m for second and Lauren Bruce (Canterbury) filled the third spot with 48.50m.

Marshall Hall (Southland) won his ninth mens discus title with a toss of 56.46m, short of the 61.00m he was looking for to confirm his Games team spot. Auckland thrower Alexander Parkinson came very close to toppling Hall with a throw of 56.06, while Nathaniel Sulupo (Samoa) came in third.

"Number nine for me and Im absolutely chuffed as its always great to come out and retain the title. Not the distance I was after but it was a great competition," said Marshall.

Matt Bloxham doesnt throw much these days, putting a lot of time into his work and study, but it didnt stop the 22 year old Auckland athlete taking his fourth consecutive mens hammer title, throwing 62.52m. Warren Button came in second with 58.51m, while 19 year old Anthony Nobilo threw a personal best 56.85m in third.

Bloxham was delighted to retain the title in only his third competition this season.

"Not the most incredible distance but happy to go for the four peat. I havent been training too crazily lately with work and study and things like that but its good to get out here and go for it again so I really enjoyed it," he said.

Button has been over 60 metres recently on the Gold Coast in the Australian championships.

"But unfortunately I couldnt put it together today," said the Sydney based gardener.

10 March: Hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe (WaikatoBoP) only recently confirmed her selection for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and she dispelled all doubts about her fitness by throwing 68.39m, the best ever performance at a New Zealand Championships by 2.46m to win her fourth national title from defending champion Nicole Bradley (61.93m) and Lauren Bruce from Canterbury third with 57.83m.

Canterbury runners Angie Petty and Brad Mathas will be both be contesting 800m events at the Gold Coast Games. In retaining their New Zealand titles, their resounding victories indicated they will acquit themselves well at the Games. Petty, running from the front, won her seventh womens title by over seven seconds in 2.02.67 from Esther Keown and Ariana Harper.

Petty said the pressure was on even though the field was not as strong as last year.

"Nationals have a bit more pressure, you get more nervous for this kind of race than for the international events as everyone expects you to do really well. The field wasnt quite as strong as last year with Katherine Camp, Katrina Anderson and Ellen Schaef not being here but you still never know and the other girls still ran really well, so I still had to be on my game and go out hard and make it a fast race.

"I was hoping to go a little quicker today but it is hard on your own to push that pace," said Petty.

Mathas had a closer race, also winning his seventh title in 1:49.49 from Wellingtonian James Preston (1:50.10) and fellow Cantabrian Sam Petty (1m 50.39).

"I wanted to get out in front and control the race and then just go at 300, and see if you can break 40 seconds and I probably did that so I ticked the right box there.

"Everything is starting to fall together now for the Commonwealth Games, we didnt lighten up at all for today so Im still in a pretty heavy training block at the moment," said Mathas.

Holly Robinson won the womens Para javelin with a throw of 42.33m, just 0.35m short of her New Zealand record and looks forward to adding another international Para athletics medal on the Gold Coast.

It was an all Wellington finish to the senior 400m, Alex Haye the junior winner last year taking out the title in a personal best 47.63 from Josh Ledger PB 47.68 and Jacob Matson also a PB 48.08. Luke Mercieca in fourth ran a career best of 48.82. Samuel Gouverneur ran a PB 49.39 to win the under 20 title.

Brooke Cull from Auckland won a dramatic womens 400m final. Portia Bing held a good lead into the home straight, but a determined run by her Glasgow Commonwealth Games relay team mate saw Cull pip her on the line, winning in 54.65 with a margin of just 0.10s and 800m winner Angie Petty third in 54.91.

Joshua Hawkins from Auckland won his fourth 110m hurdles title in 15.19, slower than his three previous victories, but still a solid run. Second was Otagos Felix McDonald in 15.68 with decathlete Max Attwell (Canterbury) third in 17.03. Fiona Morrison and Rochelle Coster had yet another epic battle on the womens 100m hurdles, with the title again going to Cantabrian Morrison in 13.92 from the Aucklanders 14.16. Waikatos Ashleigh Sando taking the bronze in 14.61. Keeley OHagan won back the high jump title she first took in 2015 with a jump of 1.77m, while Kelsey Berryman retained her long jump title with a leap of 6.17m.

Jordan Peters from Manawatu Wanganui reclaimed the mens Long jump title he won in 2015, with a best jump of 7.32m and Tori Peeters (Otago) won the womens javelin championship title with 53.56.

Kelsey Berryman won her third long jump title with 6.17m.

"Its the best competition Ive had all season in terms of no fouls and consistent and the smoothest its been in all of my jumps. Wed always like a bigger jump but Im really happy to take the title again in three consecutive years is really nice," said Berryman.

Keegan Pitcher (Auckland) won a very close Para 400m against rival William Stedman (Canterbury), while Sunil Fernandez-Ritchie (WaikatoBoP) was the fastest in the Para 800m.

Rory McSweeney (Otago) tossed the javelin out to 51.91m in the mens Para event and Libby Leikis (Wellington) won the womens Para 400m.

11 March: Tom Walsh, still suffering the effects of travel after winning the world indoor title just seven days earlier was back in action in the circle winning his ninth New Zealand shot put title.

His winning distance of 21.58m, while below the 22.31m he threw in Birmingham a week ago, still would have won him the world indoor title and it was further than any of his previous eight national champs victories.

The good news for the future is that the two athletes behind him, Ryan Ballantyne (19) and Nick Palmer (18) both hit personal best marks with their 17.03m and 16.49m throws respectively.

"Im a little bit tired from the travel, it was a week ago that I threw in Birmingham and with that travel it was pretty tough but any time I get to come out and I throw over 21.50 metres in a comp its not a bad day," said Walsh.

"Not the type of power and energy that I had a week ago but that will come in the next in the next three or four days for these comps that are coming up," he added.

However although Walsh is the world outdoor and indoor champion his bucket list is far from complete.

"There are three things I dont have, I havent been named number one in the world for a year yet, I havent got an Olympic gold and I havent got a Commonwealth gold, so Ive got to tick those off and it starts in another four weeks time.

"Im bigger, faster and stronger than Ive ever been and my throwing is going up so Im in a great place at the moment and Ive just got to nail that technique when Ive got that freshness and the hardest part of it when I have the freshness is lining it up because Ive got all this force power and its new to me so I dont know what to do with it so expect big things over the next six months," said Walsh.

Hamish Kerr scaled 2.21m to win the mens high jump, becoming the second highest jumper in national championships history behind the national record of 2.30m held by Glenn Howard.

The mens pole vault went to Nick Southgate with 5.20m, preparing him for a first tilt at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile, the mens javelin was won by Ben Langton Burnell, also on target for the Gold Coast team.

Gold Coast-bound Cameron French won the mens 400m hurdles title with ease in 51.84.

"It wasnt an ideal time, I just didnt come home as smooth as Id like. But I did work through it for the title which is good," said French.

"Training has been going well so its a bit annoying not to show that in the racing for first up, but happy to get the title again," he added.

Portia Bing who has switched from the heptathlon to the 400m hurdles won the senior womens title in 57.86, from the champion for the last two years Anna Percy.

"Its such a new event with me and Ive had a lot to change with this year but Ive got nothing to complain about. Ive changed from the heptathlon to the four hurdles in the space of one season so Im very happy," said Bing.

The womens pole vault won some of its gloss when favourite Olivia McTaggart sprained her ankle in the warm-up, opening the door to Imogen Ayris to win the senior title at the championships in a new personal best of 4.15m.

Alana Barber showed her form is good, taking out the womens 20km race walk in 1:35:26. Alexander Brown set a personal best of 53:51 in winning the under 20 10km race walk.

Lucy Sheat who won the under 20 100m title on Friday stepped up to the senior 200m and showed real class in winning in 24.19 from the more fancied Olivia Eaton, fourth in the Australian championship and the defending champion Zoe Hobbs.

The mens 200m championship was won by Joseph Millar for the fifth time. The 25 year old now has a total of ten NZ sprint titles. Morrie Rae has six 100yd and five 220yd titles to his name. Millar also anchored Waikato Bay of Plenty to victory in the 4 x 100m relay on day one and the 4 x 400m relay.

Angie Petty had already finished first in the 800m and third in the 400m finals when the 1500m competitors toed the start line. She showed a clean pair of heels to the field, winning easily in 4:18.94.

Alana Barber showed her form is good, taking out the womens 20km race walk.

Hamish Carson (Wellington) went into the mens 1500m final having won five of the last eight championship titles, so it was no surprise when he emerged with another gold in the 2018 championship race ahead of young teammate James Preston and Matthew Taylor (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) who ran a PB 3:53.55 for third.

Anna Thomson and Ebuka Okpala both won their third triple jump title in a row.

The mens under 20 1500m race lived up to its promise in a tactical race. Last years title holder Theo Quax ran a canny race and seemed to be heading for a victory but he hadnt counted on the blistering finish from Samuel Tanner who came through to win in 4:02.54 from Quax 4:02.69 and Isaiah Priddey 4:03.79.

The most prolific athlete at the championships was Waikato Bay of Plentys Kayla Goodwin with a hall of four individual golds, along with a silver and bronze, as well as two relay minor medals for a total haul from the championships of eight medals. Goodwin had a personal best triple jump of 12.19m. It took a personal best of 44.98 by Tara McNally to head off Goodwin in the 300m hurdles.

Liam Back was one of the young stars of the championships winning an impressive three golds in distance races in the under 18 grade. His 1500m, 3000m and 2000m steeplechase wins indicate an exciting future for the 16 year old. He set a personal best of 6:11.94 in the steeplechase.

Back credits his early success to the coaching he receives in Wanganui from Alec McNab.

"I do plenty of speed work and guts it out and I run the hills to build up the legs," said Back.

"In the 1500m I knew I had to stick myself off second place, just watching some of the Olympic finals and stuff I felt I positioned myself quite well and didnt get into too much trouble and thats what paid off at the end of the day," he added.

Nicholas Kini from Northland went home with four medals (two of them gold) in the under 20 and 18 throws, while Genna Maples won two golds and a silver in the under 18 100m, 200m and long jump.

AUCKLAND

Auckland City Athletics meeting, Mt Smart Stadium, 7 March 2018: Siositina Hakaei DT 60.54m PB (56.25, x, x, 60.54, 58.47, x), Te Rina Keenan DT 54.65m. Marshall Hall DT 58.91m (55.21, x, x, 52.56, 55.44, 58.91).

AUSTRALIA

Queensland Junior Championships, QSAC Brisbane, 22 February: Nelson McCutcheon of Race Walking Auckland set three national age group records in the 5000m track walk. McCutcheon set U/17, U/18 and U/19 records with his winning time of 21:45.01. This broke Braydyn Popows 2017 U/17 record of 30:51.99, Jared Frees 2014 U/18 record of 25:08.4 and Jared Frees 2015 U/19 record of 22:01.78.

Victorian Championships, Albert Park Melbourne, 2/4 March: Ellen Schaef 1500m 4:23.24 PB (1), Katrina Anderson 1500m 4:24.19 PB (3), Portia Bing 400m H 57.51 PB (1). Mackenzie Keenan 400m H 61.75 (3H1). Sarah McSweeney 3000m steeplechase 10:45.65 (3). Kayla Goodwin U/18 heptathlon 4783 points (3), Andrea McDowell 3532 (12).

Garry Brown Shield, QSAC Brisbane, 3 March: Katrina Robinson 800m 2:08.86 PB (3).

VMC Meeting 5, Melbourne, 8 March: Caden Shields 1500m 4:00.36 PB (12RB), Joshua Maisey 1500m 4:02.15 (2RC). Phillippa Trevella 1500m 4:43.58 (2RB).

USA

Rock n Roll Marathon, Washington DC, 10 March: Rochelle Sceats-Basil won the womens marathon in 2:54:59. Meanwhile on March 11 Camille Buscomb paced the field over the first half in the Nagoya womens marathon in Japan in 1:11:32.

USA INDOORS

NAIA, Pittsburg CA, 3 March: Joseph Beamish 5000m 15:09.33 (10).

ECAC-IC4A, Boston MA, 2 March: Holly Manning mile 4:51.88 PB (4H2).

OBITUARY

Well known Canterbury official John McTaggart (Jock) of Christchurch died on Tuesday 6 March 2018 aged 68.

John has contributed to the sport for over 40 years. He was a life member of the Kaiapoi Athletic Club and the Canterbury Childrens Athletics Association. He was a member of the NZ Secondary Schools Athletics Association and was deputy Chairman of the Athletics Canterbury Track & Field Committee. John was recognised as "Mr. Secondary Schools Athletics" in Canterbury and stepped up to become meeting manager for the NZ Secondary Schools Championships when they were held in Timaru in 2009. John was recognised for his exceptional knowledge of the sports rules and also for his innovative solutions to equipment challenges. Up to his retirement he was a teacher at Kaiapoi High School.

He received an Athletics Canterbury merit award in 2010, an Athletics New Zealand merit award in 2011 and was made a life member of Athletics Canterbury in 2017.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand