Last week's opening night (athletics club night) was both wet and windy; the second night on Tuesday was just windy.
Thankfully the wind was not as strong as forecast and the heavy rain arrived two hours after the finish. The wind may have been strong but so were many of the performances.
Travis Bayler had offered to set the pace for the 800 metres and run through to 600 metres. He fell three seconds below the target at the bell and decided to run the whole distance and was rewarded with a good season opener of 1:58.01.
Liam Back won the race and the Collegiate title with a calendar year best of 1:55.95 giving a timely confidence boost in his preparation for NZSS 45 days from now.
Zach Bellamy was third with a personal best of 1:59.64 slipping under the two-minute mark for the second time. Andres Hernandez was just outside the two-minute mark (2:00.86)
The girls race also provided good racing and fast times. Rebecca Baker front ran for the first lap and a half and only in the last 200 metres that New Zealand under 18 400 metre champion Emma Osborne was able to outsprint Baker. Osborne's time of 2:18.61 was a pleasing season opener with Baker finishing in 2:21.29.
New Zealand Schools junior title holder Ana Brabyn was in third in 2:23.50 with a timely reminder of the work that lies ahead. Sarah Lambert and Ashleigh Alabaster stepped down a couple of distances and should be pleased with their respective personal bests (2:23.89 and 2:25.26) in less than favourable conditions.
The hurdles were hand-timed with the wind to allow the athletes a chance for good season opening performances. Maggie Jones, North Island silver medal winner (High School), won the 80 metres hurdles in an excellent 11.7 seconds from teammate Paris Munro, who ran a personal best 12.5.
Both came back five minutes later to run in the Collegiate Open Championships over 100m hurdles. Jones won the race and a guest medal in an excellent 15-0 with Munro second and 300 metre hurdle specialist Sophie Redmayne third to win the championship medal. Connor Munro (High School) took the visitors medal in the 100m Hurdles from Nonn Sunthornyanakit.
Perhaps the best performance of the evening came from Lucas Martin who race walked the 3000 metres to record a national class time of 13:51.88. This took 11 seconds off his own record and personal best set when winning the New Zealand under 20 3000 metre walk in March.
George Lambert won the actual running race by a very wide margin, frustratingly only a second shy of his personal best. Lucy Monckton was the first girl home with a pleasing first run on the track (11:56.23).
Genna Maples was a convincing winner of the 200 metres (26.30) from High School German exchange student Kyra Engel (27.29). Mapes would have liked the competition of team mates Sophie Williams and Tayla Brunger (injury).
Brunger suffered a calf strain following good wins at the weekend in Wellington over both 100 metres and 400 metres. Charlotte Baker and Elena O'Leary were winners of the non-championship races with Jonathan Maples winning the male race 23.74 into a strong head wind.
Harvey Meyers set a personal best in winning the High Jump with a 1.70 metre leap. Tadgh O'Conner was second (1.63). The girls event went to a countback with Emma McKelvie clearing the winning height of 1.40 metres on her second attempt with Emma Bedford clearing on her third, both failed to clear 1.45 metres.
Next week sees the second half of the championship programme (the Club A programme).
This will feature 1500 metres, 400 metres and 100 metres on the track and Long Jump and shot in the field.
The boys 1500 metres and girls 400 metres and 100 metres should be the stand-out events.
Next meeting is also the final club night before the first round of the Regional League to be held in Inglewood on Saturday, November 2. The second round is a week later at Palmerston North (changed from Cooks Gardens where a new Hammer and Discus cage is being installed).
The final meeting is in Masterton on Saturday, November 23 a fortnight before the New Zealand Secondary Schools in Wellington on the weekend of December 6-8.