Hobbs speeds to 100m title to start season in style

Sprint star Zoe Hobbs opened her 2024 campaign in style by scorching to victory in 11.39sec in the women’s 100m final to light up the 25th anniversary edition of the Potts Classic in Hastings on Saturday.

The 26-year-old, who last year became the first woman in Oceania to run a sub-11sec 100m mark, had earlier cruised to top spot in the heats in 11.24sec.

Making her blistering trademark start, Hobbs quickly bolted to the front and was unstoppable as she blasted to the top of the podium to claim her seventh 100m victory at the meet.

"My focus coming into today was to get those first races under my belt and to make it feel as smooth and relaxed as I could,’’ Hobbs said.

"I head overseas shortly with world indoors in the mix then I’ll be back to New Zealand for nationals, which I’m really looking forward to."

James Preston produced a dazzling early-season performance to record a stunning meet record of 1min 45.89sec on his way to a fourth successive victory in the Allan Potts Memorial 800m.

It was by some margin the fastest time Preston has recorded in New Zealand and shattered the previous meet record by more than 2sec.

The marquee Sylivia Potts Memorial 800m served up a shock as Laura Nagel revealed her extraordinary versatility to dethrone Holly Manning courtesy of a near-3sec personal best of 2min 5.37sec.

Nagel, the national 1500m, 3000m and 5000m champion, stayed patient when Manning and Stella Pearless (North Harbour) opted to follow a rapid pace set by pacemaker Lucy Jacobs.

Nagel timed her challenge to perfection to kick past Manning to a memorable win.

World championship finalist Connor Bell backed up his outstanding display at the Pre-Potts Classic just five days earlier to set a meet record mark of 64.78m en route to victory in the men’s discus.

Bell, who registered 65.39m at the Pre-Potts event, could not quite match that display but a 64.78m effort in round six repelled the strong challenge of French athlete Tom Reux, who achieved a PB of 58.72m for second.

Tokyo Olympian and Oceania record-holder Lauren Bruce produced another encouraging early-season performance to clinch a comprehensive victory in the women’s hammer.

Bruce, who earlier this month breached the 70m line with a 70.15m effort in Brisbane, unleashed a solid series at Mitre 10 Park with her best effort of 68.21m.

The Olympic entry-standard mark the Australian-based athlete is chasing is 74m.

Lex Revell-Lewis (Waitakere) was rewarded for his aggressive approach to post a meet record and PB of 47.34sec as he dominated the men’s 400m. The national champion over the one-lap distance quickly caught the stagger on Fergus McLeay (Hill City) and simply ran away from the opposition.

McLeay, the 2023 national 400m silver medallist, grabbed second in 49.05sec with Jackson Rogers (Aspiring Athletics) third in 50.20sec.

Portia Bing executed a composed performance to claim a commanding victory in the women’s 400m.

Bing, a world championship and Commonwealth Games representative in the 400m hurdles, finished strongly over the final 150m to complete a comprehensive win in 53.76sec.

Cody Wilson (Mana) won a tight men’s 100m in 10.71sec. Hayato Yoneto (Remarkable Runners) clocked 21.54sec to pip McLeay by 0.07sec in the men’s 200m.

— Staff reporter