The girls’ sprints at last weekend’s NZSS Athletics Championships lived up to their billing as some of the most hotly contested events of the Timaru meet.
Leah Belfield from Te Awamatu College did the Junior Girls’ 100m-200m double. The Senior Girls’ 100m was won by New Plymouth Girls’ High School’s Zoe Hobbs, defending her title, with Havelock North High School’s Georgia Hulls second and Tauranga Girls’ College’s Brooke Somerfield third.
Marlborough Girls’ College’s Lucy Sheat took out the Senior Girls’ 200m final, in a strong field that also included Georgia, New Plymouth pair Zoe and defending champion Olivia Eaton and St Hilda’s Collegiate flyer Caitlyn George.
Lucy was rapt with her win, in a new personal best time of 24.38 seconds. “It was great to win and I wasn’t expecting it,” she told College Sport Media this week. “You never know how it’s going to go, there are so many other athletes running very similar times and it just comes down to the day.”
Also a 100m runner, Lucy explained her reasons to just concentrate on the 200m at Timaru.
“I just thought to lighten my load up a bit. I didn’t have the best build-up, including getting the flu. So I thought it would be best to focus on the 200m and it paid off.”
Lucy had three races. “I had a heat on Saturday and a semi-final and a final on Sunday. I won my heat and got second in my semi-final to 100m winner Zoe.”
In the final she lined up in lane 4. “Zoe was on the inside of me in lane 3, Olivia was in lane 5 and Georgia in lane 6, so it was a good lane to be in with the others all around me.”
Lucy has just finished Year 11, so she still has two years to go in the senior secondary school ranks.
She’s got a busy summer of racing to look forward to now.
“Coming up I have the Classic Series of meets, which is quite nice as I’ll be teaming up with Zoe, Georgia and Olivia in the New Zealand Junior Relay team. So that will be really nice to focus on that and try and qualify for the Junior 2016 Worlds [supposed to be in Russia]. It will be cool to run with my rivals in a team.”
Earlier this year, Lucy travelled to Australia to the Junior Australian Championships in Sydney and got a pair of silvers in the 100m and 200m events – with Georgia claiming gold in both events.
She then went to Samoa with the New Zealand team for the Youth Commonwealth Games and got fourth in both the 100m and 200m finals. In the 200m she dipped under the 24 second mark (23.99) for the first time, although this was wind assisted and didn’t count as a personal best.
Lucy said she got into athletics through family. “My brother and sister used to do athletics and I went along with them and enjoyed it and discovered I could run fast.”
Lucy was Marlborough Girls’ College’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2015. She also enjoys hockey, but this year had to put that on hold to concentrate on her running commitments.
In the classroom, she had just finished NCEA Level 1 where her favoured subjects include chemistry and maths.
She said her short-term goals are to train hard for the sprints and to see where the future takes her.
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