Winning partnership: Teen runner and his 84-year-old coach
Jack Watters, a 14-year-old Melville athlete, was an emphatic winner of the Livelighter Mullewa Gift.
Watters, a tall and economical runner with real potential, started the 120m handicap off 13.25m and rattled home in 12.843sec.
Almost a metre behind was promising junior Taylor Sharpe, who started off 7.5m (13.012s) with another young man, Josh Jones, also off 7.75m, third (13.144s).
Defending champion Bryce Teo was a late withdrawal due to other commitments at home.
His sister Carryne, runner-up last year, made the final but lacked the fitness to challenge.
“I started training seriously about two years ago aiming to attend meets like this,” a delighted Watters said.
“My coach is 84 but has given me a lot of very good tips and added to what I’ve learned from my dad.
“Sprinting is what I concentrate on, with some hurdling and the odd 400, but I need to improve my reaction time at the starts.
“Not sure where running will take me — it’s not something I’ve thought about — but I’d like to run in more Gifts and maybe at a national level.”
The day started in overcast conditions but blossomed into glorious sunshine and there was some top racing.
Plaudits to the West Coast Athletics League for their organisation. There was an issue when equipment failure affected the Gift’s first heat, but WCAL president Mandy Mason and her team found a solution in scheduling a repechage to decide the last two finalists.
This meant the program was extended — but it didn’t matter.
The event, which featured a $5000 prize pool, was a huge success.
Mullewa Gift (handicap and time): 1 Jack Watters (13.25m, 12.843s) 2 Taylor Sharpe (7.5m, 13.012s), 3 Josh Jones (7.5m, 13.144s). 70m Jim Wilson H’Cap: 1 Thomas Parker (7.75m, 7.944s), 2 Josh Jones (4.25m, 7.726), 3 Simon Crichton (9.75m, 7.753). 120m Novice: 1 Thomas Parker (13.5m, 12.992s), 2 Adam Hall (15.75m, 13.054s), 3 Katherine Sparrow (22m, 13.360s). Geraldton Bendigo Bank 550m: 1 Bailey Dawson (scr), 2 Jessica Huria (75m), 3 Emma Brook (115m).
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