A squad of 11 MattyB DEPT. athletes will will travel down to Stawell this Easter for a long weekend full of racing.
The squad will be lead by World Championships representative Brendan Cole who will use this weekend as his final preparation leading into the National Championships to be held in Perth from 16-18th April which also double as the Commonwealth Games trials. Cole who already has an “A” standard in the 400m Hurdles will look to gain automatic selection with victory in 2 weeks time.
Cole has 6m in the Stawell Gift but will be aiming primarily on the 200m where he made the final last year. He has the same handicap of 9m so is sure to be competitive.
18 year old Brendan Matthews will return to Stawell on a mission after making it through to the final last year only to be struck down with a hamstring injury depriving him an opportunity to run off for glory. Unfortunately Matthews has only 5.75m which is 1.5m less than last year but with some improvement in his sprinting and a recent personal best of 10.72 in the 100m he is sure to be in the mix. He will also run in the 70m event and possibly the 200m.
Luke Storta (6m) the 2009 Queanbeyan Gift winner will run in a new race at the carnival that puts 6 of the major gift winner throughout the year in a Gift winners gift. Luke will also run in the Gift and 70m events.
Derek Collinge (8.25m) the 2010 Burramine Gift winner will have a busy weekend competing in the Gift, 400m and 550m events.
Tom Burbidge (8.75m) the 2009 Temora Gift winner will return to Stawell where he made the semi final last year hoping to go even better this year.
Ramona Casey will fly the flag for the females. After an outstanding year in the NSW gifts including victories at Macksville Women’s Gift, Queanbeyan 70m, Gilgandra Women’s Gift and Gardens 300m she will compete in the Women’s Gift and 400m and also the open 70m event.
Other finalists from gifts this year running from the squad include
- Jesse Matthews – Finalist in the 400m Bendigo Black opal will run in the Gift, 70m and 400m.
- Grant Billingham – Winner of the Canberra Gift Novice will run in the Gift and 200m
- Stephen Sheppard – Winner of Queanbeyan Novice and Northcote 70m will run in the Gift and 70m.
- MattyB – Finalist at Canberra Gift will run in the 70m and 200m events
- Kevin Matthews – Multiple finalist in 70m and veteran events will run in the 70m, Vet’s 100m and 300m
- Michael Rutter – Winner of Canberra skins will run in the 70m, 200m and Vet’s 100m
Squad Best Chances
- 70m – Brendan Matthews, Stephen Sheppard, Kevin Matthews
- Women’s Gift – Ramona Casey
- Stawell Gift – Brendan Matthews, Tom Burbidge
- 200m – Brendan Cole, Grant Billingham
- 400m – Derek Collinge, Jesse Matthews
- Women’s 400m – Ramona Casey
- Vets 100m and 300m – Kevin Matthews, Michael Rutter
- 550m – Derek Collinge
The finals will be shown on Channel 10 and oneHD on Monday from 12-2pm so make sure you tune in and cheer for the MattyB DEPT.