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Geraldton athlete Nevaeh Hill wins bronze at national track and field Championships

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
From left Ella Batten, Nevaeh Hill and Sophie Batten at the Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney.
Camera IconFrom left Ella Batten, Nevaeh Hill and Sophie Batten at the Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney. Credit: Gary Clark

Nevaeh Hill created history this weekend at the Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney, becoming the first Geraldton athlete in 40 years to win a medal for the under 17 400m hurdles.

The Geraldton teenager followed in the footsteps of Stacy Tanner, who won gold in the same event 40 years ago.

Chairman of the Mid West Academy of Sport, Gary Clark, said Hill stormed home from about sixth and finished third in “probably the toughest event on the track”.

“So we’re all pretty stoked and of course so is she,” he said.

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Christi Bestry ran in the under 17 3000m track as well as the 2000m steeple race.

“There was 40 competitors in that so they graded them and she was in the top 20, she was in there most of the way and faded towards the end so she missed her place,” Clark said.

“She then ran the 2000m steeple, a similar race she was up there right till the death and probably finished fifth so she was just outside, but another personal best.”

Ella Batten competed in the under 17 high jump.

“She went over with an injury and didn’t jump as well as she normally would, she almost cleared 155cm which is right up there, so she missed out on a place.“

Meanwhile sister Sophie Batten took part in the under 20 400m hurdles.

“In the 400m hurdles she was in the under 20s, she’s only 17 so she’s got another year, she took two seconds off her best time and didn’t make the final but I would say next year she’ll be in that same event, she will medal next year,” Clark said.

“Pretty good meet really and we’re all excited, the girls worked very hard over the last few months and have reaped the rewards.”

The Mid West talents made the most of their trip to Sydney, mixing with some of the best athletes in Australia.

“I mean they were sitting there watching the high jump, our Olympic athlete (Nicola McDermott) that won the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics and they just learnt so much,“ Clark said.

“They were able to talk to the Australian title holder for the 400m hurdles and mix with them, it’s just a real learning curve for them. Just brilliant that they were able to get into the state team and be part of all that it’s something quite special really.”

Turning his attention to the 2023 Track and Field Championships, Clark said the future was bright for Mid West athletics.

“The other really big thing is the national titles are here in Perth next year, so we would expect all those athletes to perform really well together with some others and you know we might see some more medals coming home,” he said.

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