Date: Saturday, 03 March 2012
Posted by: Cycling Southland

A marathon session of qualifying set up the final night's evening finals on the last day of the 2012 RaboDirect Age Group Track championships in Invercargill this afternoon.

Southland's Laura Heywood will face defending champion Kate Stewart from West Coast North Island in the battle for the Under 17 Girls sprint crown. Heywood qualified fastest in a time of 12.742and then won through to the final by beating team mate Mikayla Smith in the Quarter final and Amanda Rowe of Waikato Bay of Plenty in the semi finals. Stewart was pushed to a deciding third ride in her semifinal with Canterbury's Olivia Podwore before winning through to give herself a chance at backing up her victory last year.

In the Boys competition Southland will share gold and silver with Michael Culling and Nick Kergozou meeting in the gold medal ride. The pair topped the qualifying standing with Culling taking the top seeding into the final after his 11.428 second flying 200 metres - just 0.15 seconds off Sam Websters U17 national record.

Culling disposed of Jordan Castle of West Coast Island with comfort in the semi finals while Kergozou was pushed to three rides by time trial national record holder Quinn Karwowski of Tasman.

In other sprint events there will be a repeat of sorts of last night's ill-fated Team Pursuit final when Canterbury and Southland square off in the Team Sprint gold medal ride. 

Southland's Tom Beadle, Josh Haggerty and Jeremy Presbury will line up against Hamish Schreurs, Tayla Harrison and Dylan Kennett. The Southlanders recorded 48.089 to sneak in front of Canterbury's 48.130 and set up a thrilling ride this evening. Tasman and Auckland will ride for bronze.

Auckland's Paige Paterson and Racquel Sheath look unstoppable in the  Women's Team Sprint, qualifying fastest by nearly two seconds ahead of Canterbury's Alice Hay and Victoria Steel.  Southland and a second Auckland team will ride off for the third medal.

The Masters Men Keirin Semi finalists have also been found. Garry Smith, Russell Ownsworth, Andrew McKay, Craig Domigan, Michael White, Kerry Harford, Russell Scott, Scott Milne, Andrew Lienert, Andrew Thomson, Grant Toomey and Richard Eade will fight it out for places in the 1-6 and 7-12 finals tonight.

The last event on the Under 15 programme is the scratch race finals. Qualifying heats confirmed the start lists for the boys and girls races. Michaela Drummond, Emma Cumming, Jessica Read, Isobella Smith, Charlotte hadfield, Madeleine Park, Lauren Dalton, Natasha Dickison, Phoebe McCaughen, Aly Doherty, Michaela Kerr and Emily Shearman will ride for the girl's medals while Josh Carlier, Laurence Kerby, Sam Thorpe-Loversuch, Josh Carpenter, Tom Sexton, Campbell Stewart, Bentley Atkinson, Joshua Smith, Ben Sutton, Hamish Beadle, Brayden Stephens and Hayden Strong will contest the boy's final.

Large Under 17 fields in the team pursuits also dominated the qualifying programme today. In the girls West Coast North Island will ride Southland for gold while Auckland and Canterbury should have a great battle for bronze, judging by their qualificiation times.

The boys will see a composite team of East Coast North Island's Regan Gough, Luke Mudgway and Corbin Mason-Smith and Southland's Michael Culling ride for gold against Auckland's Hamish Jeffries, Charles Michel, Reon Sheath and Kurt Standen. Waikato Bay of Plenty will ride West Coast North Island for bronze.

The finalists in the Under 19 Men's Points race were also found after two heats. Hamish Schreurs, Tayla Harrison, Boris Clark, Matthew Zenovich, Tom Beadle, Daniel Rafferty, Blair Treymane, Josh Haggerty, Sam Friend, Luke Wieblitz, Liam Aitcheson, Paddy Daly, Tom Vessey, Mitchell Podmore, Max Beckert, Hayden McCormick, George Tutton, Dylan Kennett, Daniel Ellison and Hardy Michel. 

The championships' final session starts tonight at 6pm with each of the finals from today's qualifying and the Masters 2 and 3 Scratch race finals.

For full results, race video, photo galleries and live text track-side commentary updates click here.


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