There aren’t many better ways for an aspiring young sprinter to celebrate their 18th birthday than a fourth national title on the final day of the Vantage Windows and Doors Elite and Under 19 Track National Championships in Invercargill.
Levin’s Thomas Garbett has been the standout male sprinter in the under 19 ranks at the SIT Velodrome for the past week, winning the 1000m time trial, sprint and keirin before anchoring a composite side to an underdog victory against Southland in the under 19 team sprint final.
“It’s been awesome, to win four gold medals from four events – it’s unbelievable how good this week’s been. To win the team sprint with a composite team, coming in as the underdogs on my birthday, it’s been so good,” Garbett said. “The track hasn’t been roaring hot, but I’ve been happy with the how the (times) have been going.”
Garbett was selected for the junior world track championships last year but could not attend because of personal reasons. He’s determined to win selection again for the championships being held in Switzerland. “This time I’m definitely planning on attending if I get selected. Hopefully the selectors see (what I’ve done). Switzerland is a fast track and Bradly Knipe won the sprint championship two years ago and I’d like to do our country proud again.”
Garbett is part of a generation who have grown up watching the likes of Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell blaze a path on the international stage for New Zealand track sprinting. “I used to be quite worried about my size, I’m not very big for a sprinter, but talking to Sam Webster up in Cambridge one time, he mentioned that he was about 65kg when he went to his second junior worlds and won three gold medals. I’m about 70kg now, so hopefully I can do the same,” he said.
Meanwhile, Olivia Ray has shown her versatility this week, the Aucklander winning the elite women’s scratch race over 10km on the final day of the championships, to go with her fast-twitch gold in the keirin and silver medals in the sprint and 500m time trial.
The Southland combination of Sophie-Leigh Bloxham and Nicole Marshall took out the under 19 women’s team sprint from a composite combination, breaking a championship record which had stood for eight years. Waikato’s Tess Young and Jaymie King took out the elite women’s team sprint, while the Wellington combination of Lee Evans, Russell Pepperell and Maxwell Uivel won the elite men’s final over Canterbury.
Jessie Hodges backed up from a silver in the elite women’s scratch race earlier in the session to combine with Emily Shearman and take out the open women’s Madison. Brad Evans continued a good week with a third national title, pairing up with Josh Scott to lap the field and win the open men’s 25km Madison.
Results, Vantage Windows and Doors Elite and Under 19 Track National Championships, Day five:
Women 10km scratch race: Olivia Ray (Auckland) 1; Jessie Hodges (Waik-BOP) 2; Georgia Danford (Auckland) 3.
Women 500m Team Sprint: Waikato-Bay of Plenty (Jaymie King, Tess Young) 35.955 1; Composite (Olivia Ray, Rhiannon Brown) 36.475 2.
Men 750m Team Sprint: Wellington (Lee Evans, Russell Pepperell, Maxwell Uivel) 47.783 1; Canterbury (Hugo Jones, Max Jones, Josh Scott) 48.147 2; Demo (Sam Dakin, Jackson Ogle, Callum Saunders) 45.683 3.
Open Women Madison: Waikato Hub (Jessie Hodges, Emily Shearman) 1; Waikato BOP (Ally Wollaston, Mckenzie Milne) 2; Canterbury (Kate Smith, Elyse Fraser) 3.
Open Men Madison: Mobius (Josh Scott, Brad Evans) 1; Skoda (Bailey O’Donnell, Finn Fisher-Black) 2; Waikato BOP (George Jackson, Kiaan Watts) 3.
Men 15km Points race: George Jackson (Wai-BOP) 1; Jarred Treymane (Wai-BOP) 2; Felix Donnelly (Canterbury) 3.
Women 500m Team Sprint: Southland (Sophie-Leigh Bloxham, Nicole Marshall) 35.547 1; Composite (Emily Patterson, Shaane Fulton) 36.625 2; Southland 2 (Madeleine Gough, Tayla Lumsden) 36.850 3.
Men 750m Team Sprint: Composite (Caleb Moyle, Angus Claasen, Thomas Garbett) 47.623 1; Southland (Nepia Ruwhiu, Conor Shearing, Ewan Syme) 47.934 2; Canterbury 1 (Henry Smith, Felix Donnelly, Bailey O’Donnell) 49.164 3.