News & Updates

11 February 2023 • Track and Field

Greene strikes back to take eye-catching 1500m win

Rebekah Greene avenges last week's defeat to Laura Nagel at the New Zealand 3000m championships to clinch an impressive victory over 1500m at Porritt Classic. (Credit: Alan McDonald).

Becky Greene reversed the finishing order with Laura Nagel from eight days ago at the New Zealand 3000m Championships to secure an eye-catching victory today in the feature women’s 1500m at the Porritt Classic in Hamilton.

In overcast and slightly chilly conditions, Greene, the national mile champion, made her winning move with 300m to go and accelerated to victory in a slick 4:16.10 – the third fastest 1500m time of her career – 1.72 seconds clear of Nagel, the reigning national champion over the distance.

Tillie Hollyer (Whippets) scalped more than four-and-a-half seconds from her lifetime best to finish an excellent third in 4:20.78.

Anneke Grogan crossed the line fourth in 4:23.45 with 16-year-old national U20 mile champion Boh Ritchie fifth in a time of 4:29.54. Camille French (nee Buscomb) returning to action after giving birth last year and following her very recent marriage to former national 400m hurdles champion Cameron French, placed sixth on her home track in 4:31.61.

Jenny Hauke, winner of the 800m earlier in the day, took on the pace for the first half of the race before exiting the race, leaving Nagel out front tracked closely by Greene followed by Grogan and Hollyer next in the train.

Nagel looked to increase the pace at the bell but Greene revealing her form and confidence kicked to the front with 300m remaining and gradually wound up the pace to deliver a sweet victory.

An elated Greene, who next competes in the mixed team relay for New Zealand at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst next weekend before competing in a stellar-quality 1500m race at the Maurie Plant Meet in Melbourne on 23 February, said: “You can never underestimate Laura’s kick, so today I went a bit early almost like I was running scared over the final 300m thinking she would come past.

“I knew we had a pacer, and I didn’t want to lead today, so I planned to sit behind Laura and it worked out quite well. With a lap to go I felt she pick it but with a nice tailwind down the back straight, that’s why I chose to go then.”

New Zealand’s powerful stable of female throwers impressed at Porritt Stadium with both javelin thrower Tori Peeters and shot put ace Maddi Wesche winning their respective competitions with season best performances.

Peeters, the national record-holder and Commonwealth Games fifth-place finisher, hurled the spear out to 59.53m in round one to surpass her 59.12m achieved in Wellington last week. In round four she added a further 7cm to her best for the season to impress at her home track.

Peeters said: “I’m pretty pleased with today. There are always a few things to work on but last week with a 59m and and 58m and today two 59s, I’ve got to be happy.

“There was a bit of a lapse in the throw and I need to find more consistency and work on that in training, so I can transfer that to the track. Usually there is tailwind here but today there was a headwind. I just struggled to really connect with a throw to utilise that headwind.”

Peeters next plans to complete against a quality international field at the Maurie Plant meet in Melbourne on 23 February.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Maddi Wesche left her best throw until last as she claimed a comfortable victory in the women’s shot with a sixth round effort of 18.68m.

In a heavy phase of training, the 23-year-old Aucklander struggled to find her familiar rhythm during the first five rounds – sitting with a best effort of 17.52m achieved with her third throw.

However, she unleashed a big bomb in the final stanza to better her mark by 10cm from the Potts Classic and was more than satisfied with her efforts.

“I’m training right through the full domestic season, so I’m perfectly happy with 18.68m,” said Wesche, whose throw was the longest outdoor mark in the world this year and fifth overall counting indoor marks.

“I wanted to see how I would compete under heavy training. It is always to get a competition under your belt, it is close to home (Auckland) with a good family atmosphere, which is what I love about athletics.”

Behind, New Zealand U20 champion Natalia Rankin-Chitar enjoyed a day to remember to set two new PB’s and smash through the 15m barrier on three occasions. Boasting a pre-event PB of 14.95m the World U20 Championships representative went on to 15.42m in round three before climaxing with a 15.56m effort.

Another world-class thrower in action today at Porritt Stadium was Paralympic champion Lisa Adams, who produced a best for the day of 14.87m in round one to win the women’s para shot.

The performance did not quite match up to her 15.18m recorded at the Sola Power Throwers Meet in Lower Hutt seven days again but coach, Dame Valerie, is happy with her younger sibling’s shape in training. Lisa returns to training to prepare for the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Champs in Wellington (2-5 March).

In a challenging wind, national 400m champion Rosie Elliott (Christchurch Old Boys) racked up another impressive one-lap victory, setting a meet record time of 53.15. The New Zealand champion was almost a second outside her PB of 52.16 set at the Pak’nSave Cooks Classic last month but was nonetheless satisfied with her performance, which dipped 0.28 below the previous meet record of Anneliese Rubie of Australia set three years ago.

“There was a wind down the first 100m and the final 100m, which caught me so off guard, said Elliott. “I thought after 150m, I’d gone far too fast.

“I’m feeling positive, I thought the perceived effort was a little higher than the time reflected. I definitely came here to run a bit faster, but it was windier than I wanted. We had that head wind everywhere and there wasn’t much of a tailwind down the back straight. But I’m still relatively fresh to learning about how the wind impacts your race in the 400m. I’m of the mindset that every 400m opportunity is a learning experience and today was one of those days.”

Elliott next competes in the 100m and 200m at the International Track Meet in Christchurch next Sunday.

Isabel Neal (NHB), the 2022 New Zealand 400m silver medallist, had the satisfaction of registering a seasons best of 54.03 in second with Elliott’s club-mate Emma Osborne in third (56.71).

Tommy Te Puni maintained his domestic one-lap superiority with a commanding victory in the men’s 400m, clocking 47.67. The time was 0.44 shy of his PB recorded at Potts Classic three weeks ago but given the far from perfect conditions, it was another demonstration of the exciting potential of the 20-year-old Aucklander.

Josh Hawkins looked razor sharp as he completed an impressive men’s 100m and 110m hurdles double to hint he could be in the mood to lower his national record in the latter event this season.

The Ellerslie Athletics athlete defeated five-time national 100m champion Joseph Millar in the men’s 100m – running a respectable 10.82 into a 2.4m/s headwind. The seven-time New Zealand 110m hurdles champion later returned to the track to win his speciality event by a near two-second margin in 14.21 (-1.2m/s).

Hawkins said: “I am happy with how things are going, for me personally the last couple of years with Covid has been tough but I’m happy with my hurdles and how my season is going despite the wind today.

“The goal for this season is to get a PB in the 110m hurdles (his national record is 13.69). I’ve run multiple times low 14 seconds and when I race those Australian boys, hopefully it will go well.”

Brooke Somerfield reaffirmed her excellent early season form by completing the women’s 100m and 200m sprint double – the former an open event and the latter holdin permit status.

The Athletics Tauranga athlete completed victory in the former race in a handy 11.85 (-1.4m/s) holding off the challenge of the talented 17-year-old Collette twins – Chayille (11.90) and Addira (12.08) – who finished a tick outside of their respective lifetime bests. It was the same finishing order in the 200m as Somerfield in 24.13 (-1.1m/s) – by a margin of 0.08 – held off the strong challenge from Chayille Collette.

National champion Mariah Ririnui found her groove to take a comfortable victory in the women’s long jump. The Athletics Tauranga athlete powered out to with a season’s best effort of 5.92m in round three before cladding 1cm on this mark with final effort. Ashleigh Bennett (Athletics Hawera) with a leap of 5.68m had to settle for second.

We were treated to some high-class Para sprinting. On the women’s side, double Paralympic sprint medallist Danielle Aitchison battled the wind to complete at impressive 100m and 200m double, clocking 14.59 (-1.5m/s) before securing the latter in 30.41 (-2.5m/s).

Meanwhile, in the men’s 100m, Mitch Joynt T64 in a time of 12.32 (-1.4) narrowly shaded his North Harbour Bays team-mate Joe Smith T37 (12.83) and Jaxon Woolley T38 on percentages (12.95) – the latter pair given exactly the same percentage mark to share second.

Four-time Paralympic medallist Will Stedman was too strong for the rest in the men’s para 200m – stopping the clock in 25.93 (-2.1).

Caelan Harris of Hamilton City Hawks posted a national open and U20 shot put F44 record with a best of 7.03m. He finished second in the competition behind F12 exponent Corran Hanning (Kiwi) who pounded the shot out to 12.91m.

Hamish Gill, who set a 100m PB of 10.40 at the Capital Classic, cruised to victory in the men’s permit 200m, clocking 21.56 (-2.2).

Hamilton City Hawks athlete Mia de Jager enjoyed a day to remember by claiming victory in the women’s high jump, adding 3cm to her lifetime best to win the senior event with a first-time clearance at 1.78m. The 15-year-old athlete revealed her hugely exciting versatility by also winning the open women’s 200m in 25.83 (-1.6).

Lexi Maples (Christchurch Old Boys) went out to a 29cm PB to win the women’s hammer with a third round effort of 57.67m. In the men’s equivalent, in-form pre-event favourite Anthony Nobilo (North Harbour Bays) unleashed a best of 66.49m.

In the men’s long jump, Shay Veitch (Ariki) soared out to a best of 7.35m to win by a 29cm margin from Lewis Arthur (North Harbour Bays).

Jenny Hauke (Papakura) logged a season’s best to claim a dominant victory in the women’s 800m in 2:06.97 – by a 0.99 second margin from Stella Pearless (NHB).

In the men’s permit two-lap race, Dominic Devlin confirmed his excellent shape during the 2022-23 campaign to win the men’s permit 800m in 1:50.01 ahead of the gifted 17-year-old New Zealand U18 champion James Ford, who took more than a half-a-second from his PB to record a rapid 1:50.35.

Whippets dominated the men’s 1500m bringing the first four athletes led by Russell Green, who claimed victory in 3:45.92 by 0.80 from Jack Paine – who set a near four-second PB.

Douw Botes (Papakura), the New Zealand U18 champion, maintained his winning streak to bank victory by a 57cm margin from Nathan Buckley (Pakuranga) in the senior men’s javelin with a best of 59.67m.

In the men’s high jump, Rafe Couillault, the New Zealand U20 silver medallist, would not be denied in the men’s high jump finishing 2cm ahead of Mate Poduje with a first time clearance of 2.02m.

Results here