The North Beach Athletics Professional running team has come from no where to claim the 2016/17 WCAL Championship Title.

Starting the day with 0 points from the first pro meeting in Mullewa, the Blues had a home ground advantage and lot of serious running to do in the handicap racing format. The Championship leaders Curtin (13) needed 6 more points from today’s events to secure their first ever WCAL Championship victory. Amazingly North Beach won all four events and gained enough points (17) to draw with leaders Curtin Athletics Club (17) for the shared victory of the prestigious shield.

Multi event athlete Leah Richards (16m) won the Dave Dilley U16 Junior 120m Gift and collects a $120 first prize from team mates and fellow all rounders Etienne Rousseau (7m) and Caden Barnett (20m) who filled the minor placings.

William Reinicke (23.25m) burst out of the blocks with a fast start and held on to win the $300 first prize in the George Strickland Novice 120m Gift. An excellent sprinting effort from Courteney Hall (29m) saw her finish in 3rd place.

In the Tony Krstisevic MLA 550m Gift Adam Kopp (20m) blazed home to become the first male ever to win the race and earned himself $300 in the process. His very impressive run and time also matched the performance of 2016 Rio Olympian, WA 800m Open State record holder & 2013 Peel Gift 550m winner Peter Bol (21m). It was a sensational win almost 4 year’s ago when (then 18yo) Bol powered home off the 21m handicap to just beat home North Beach’s Shane Saltmarsh in the 2013 Peel 550m Gift (earning Bol $1500 first prize and the 2013 WCAL Hightlight of the Year Award). Both Bol & Kopp  ran 1.13.80sec for their 550m wins with Adam’s run coming from 1m further back (and aged 1 year younger than Bol).

Peel resident and long time Blues member Rhys Davies wins the major race of the day and $1250 first prize in the 2016 Hamersley Open 120m Gift Final. It was his third title win at Charles Riley Reserve previously winning the (George Strickland) races in January 2014 & 2015. Stable mate and captain Courteney Hall (28.5m) held on strongly again in the end to finish 3rd in the final.

“Incredibly proud of our team today”, explains Head Coach Paul Edmiston “There were a lot of quality runners here, and I’m really proud of the way we dug in and gave it our best shot”.

“I had honestly thought winning the championship was beyond us after Mullewa, but it just shows what can happen when you don’t give up (win or lose). Sometimes people forget, losing is part of winning and professional running highlights this more than amateurs, I think athletes are missing a very important experience if they don’t participate in the Pro’s! It can make them MUCH tougher”, says Edmiston.

Full Results: http://wcal.com.au/uncategorized/2016-hamersley-gift/

Photo L-R: Said Shah, Kobi Evans, Adam Kopp, Courteney Hall & Leah Richards.