Athletics: Eventer slick over hurdles

Christina Ashton
Christina Ashton
Christina Ashton (Taieri) loves horses and enjoys eventing. She also shows athletics talent when she gallops over the hurdles.

Ashton (15) displayed her class when she dominated the women's sprints at the Caledonian Ground on Saturday.

She has quick reactions and was out of the blocks fast when she won the 100m in 13.12sec from arch rival Maddy Spence (Hill City-University), 13.41sec.

Ashton, the New Zealand secondary schools 80m hurdles champion, looked classy when she won the women's 100m hurdles in 15.78sec, 0.28sec ahead of Spence.

Her form impressed veteran coach Trevor Bent.

''Christina is quick and natural and has a brilliant lead leg,'' Bent said.

Ashton has been riding since the age of 5 and has a close rapport with her 15-year-old horse, Oakley.

Ashton has the potential to excel at both athletics and eventing and has been able to divide her time between both sports.

Daniel O'Shea (Hill City-University) produced the other top performance when he won the men's 400m in a personal best 47.35sec.

O'Shea (24), who intends to run both the 400m hurdles and the flat 400m at the New Zealand championships in Auckland, tops the national ranking list in the flat 400m.

Clubmate Robert Jopp came second in a season's best time of 50.98sec.

Paralympic athlete Rory McSweeney (Taieri) came close to his personal best when he won the men's javelin with 45.09m.

Christian Walker, in his first competition of the season, won the junior men's javelin with 43.73m.

Walker, a utility back in the Zingari-Richmond premier rugby team, was competing in athletics for the first time since leaving secondary school in Auckland three years ago.

Dean Rusbatch (Taieri) topped 50m with his six throws in a consistent display of hammer throwing when he won the Otago junior men's title.

He won with 51.93m from clubmate Todd Bates, 45.17m, and Bryn Jones (Hill City-University), 42.42m.

Rusbatch's sequence of throws were 51.03m, 51.09m, 51.93m, 51.75m, 51.33m and 51.56m.

Michael Scholten (Taieri) won the masters men's title with 37.13m. A week earlier, he set Otago aged 35 to 39 masters shot put (11.58m) and weight pentathlon (2514 points) records.

Mayce Ballantyre won the junior women's hammer title with 35.28m and Winifred Harding the masters women's title with 30.61m.

The Hill City-University 4 x 100m team of Chris McNoe, George Woodhouse, Zakary Watt and Sam Watson broke the Otago men's 17 record with a time of 45.04sec.

The team has been together for the last eight years and this was its 10th provincial record. It set seven records in children's athletics and this was its third in the open grades.

The previous record of 45.32sec was run by the Taieri team of Cory Innes, Paul Innes, Travis Shaw and Tom Davie, in 2001.

Julie Wilson (Ariki) broke the masters women's aged 55 to 59 1500m record with a time of 5min 33.04sec. A week earlier she set a new mark in the 800m with 2min 49.16sec.

Claire Giles (Caversham) broke the Otago masters aged 55 to 59 long jump record with a leap of 3.94m.