The best of America saw what the best of Maribyrnong Sports Academy can produce on any given weekend thanks to some amazing performances by our team of 8 Athletes at the 2019 Simplot Games in Pocatello, Idaho.
Led by joint captain Angus Woods who won the Gold Medal in the Triple Jump the Marby team took it right up to the Americans in every event they competed in.
Day 1 of Competition saw the heats of the distance races. Both our 1600m runners Bianca Puglisi and Abigail Thomas were shuffled around a fair bit in their respective races with both girls finishing extremely well in positions 13 and 29 based on overall times. This qualified Bianca for the B final just missing the top 12 times required for the A final, while Abigail qualified for the C final. Angus Wood ran in the heats of the 60m dash and improved his time on last year by 0.14 of a second but missing the finals by 11 hundredths of a second. Meanwhile Janae Mackrell qualified for the A final in the 800m with a time of 2.24.29. A very successful first day of Competition.
Day 2, and the rest of the team got their chance to prove what they could do. 200m runner Matt Payne was first up and ran a blistering 200 metre race, finishing with the 10th fastest time of the morning, winning his heat and qualifying for the final. Ella Nickolaus was next up and she also won her heat of the 200m race with a time of 28.12. Ella finished in the top third times of 120 runners and while her time was not enough to get her through to the final, it does put her in great form for the medley relay. Kelera Ratu and Georgia Muller we're next up with the heats of the 400m. Kelera and Georgia both did extremely well in their respective heats with Kelera winning her race and Georgia finished second in hers. Their times of 31st and 37th fastest were not enough to get them through to the finals. Angus Wood qualified for the Triple Jump final with his first jump of the day and will now look to improve on his second place in the event of 2018. Janae Mackrell finished second in her heat of the 800m and in doing so qualified for the final with the 7th fastest time of qualifying. The last event for day 2 was the Girls Sprint Relay with Ella and Kelera running the 200m legs, Georgia the 400m and Abigail the 800m. Their time of 4.32.7 qualified them for the final with the 10th fastest time overall.
Day 3 and the final day of competition, and for the first time in our 5 year history at the event, all athletes competed on the final day. Abigail and Bianca won both the B and C finals for the 1600m events improving their time from day 1 by around 5 seconds. Next up was Angus in the Triple Jump. His first 3 jumps had him sitting in second place before a 13.96m 4th jump put Gus in the lead. He then recorded 14.17m on his final jump to ensure the Gold medal was his. An amazing effort by the co-captain of this team and our first Gold medal of the competition this year winning by nearly a foot. Our Girls Medley relay team also ran a spectacular race finishing in the 5th in the A final and medalling. Matt finished 7th overall in the 200m final missing a medal by 0.02 of a second while Janae finished 8th overall with a great run on the 800m final, topping off a great day for team Marby.
Coach Dave Battistella gave us his thoughts on the final day of competition. “I can’t say enough about today and this whole competition. Janae makes an A final and runs 8th, Bianca wins a B final, Abigail wins a C final, Georgia, Kelera and Ella who all ran strong races and then team up with Abigail first to qualify and then Bianca to come 5th in the medley relay. Matt finishes 7th overall and misses a top 6 podium by 0.02. Lastly, Gus, improves his silver medal from last year to win gold in triple jump. What a great team! These athletes/students have made us so proud and they should make you so proud too by the way they competed, by the way they conducted themselves and supported each other and by the way they represented themselves, their families and Maribyrnong Sports Academy. I am thankful and honoured that I have been able to play a small part in their success and experience.
MSA Sports Director Mark Mcallion who was a part of the Simplot team this year, spoke of his first experience at the Simplot Games. “ I am so proud of our students & the MSA staff that were on this trip. We have seen terrific performances at the track, some fun off it, some very interesting food including potatoes at every meal, and overall some experiences that we’ll all never forget. Special thanks to the MSA staff, Leigh and Amy Holmes & Coach Dave Battistella who led the group superbly, gave a shoulder to cry on at the right times & provided wonderful guidance to the team.
Congratulations to our team who are enjoying a couple of days of wind down time before making the 14 hour trip back to Melbourne later in the week.
Once again Maribyrnong Sports Academy would like to thanks their partners Simplot Australia, Linfox Australia, Oliver Wight and Orora for their support of this team.