Kiri Artz discovered her niche in competitive sport when she turned to running and broke through for her maiden win in the three kilometre Chris Blake Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.
Artz had struggled to find interest in any kind of sport until she placed second in a Stawell Secondary College cross country and realised she might have potential. She has since finished a creditable twenty-first in the cross country regionals.
Her timely win came in the final race of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club season on the North Park Athletic Track, the one race that can’t be described as cross country, but one over a manageable distance that befitted the winner’s inexperience.
“I train with a group at Central Park on Monday nights and my trainer tells me that I go out too hard and should relax into a race so that I am strong at the finish,” the fifteen-year-old rookie said.
She was again drawn into an early speed battle with faster runners and was soon in oxygen debt. But the youngster persevered and with the handicaps working in her favour she held on grimly to defeat the nearest chasers, Rebecca Hurley and Naomi Hunter, by a tidy margin.
This was the third all-girl trifecta in the club’s twenty-one race season during which males won eleven races and the females ten.
Many of the teenager’s female club mates aspire to half or full marathons and endurance events but Artz is content for the moment to focus on shorter races.
“I’m inclined to go flat out all the time which I know I have to watch out for, so for a while I’ll have to listen and learn.”
In the one kilometre dash for the Sub-Juniors, Nash Santuccione was the day’s second rookie to win for the first time, earning bragging rights over brother Kade who was next to finish ahead of Charlie Dunn.