2019 #OceaniaTrack Championships: Sprint Preview

For the second year in a row New Zealand dominated the elite men’s sprint category winning the sprint, keirin, time trial and team sprint. While in the women’s events it was Australia who were the dominant force with Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch. With Olympic qualifying underway expect the competition to be hot with both Australia and New Zealand looking to impress.

2018 Champions
Men: Sam Webster (New Zealand)
Women: Stephanie Morton (Australia)

Since the 2012 Championships only two people have won the men’s sprint – Sam Webster (New Zealand) and Matthew Glaetzer (Australia) and both are back to chase another title. Webster has won the last two and with another Commonwealth Games medal to his name will be looking to make it three in a row. Fans will be treated to rainbows with Glaetzer in action having claimed his maiden elite sprint crown earlier this year. The pair will not have it all their own way though with Edward Dawkins (New Zealand), Jacob Schmid (Australia) and Patrick Constable (Australia) among the names to watch. Along with rising stars Matthew Richardson (Australia), Bradly Knipe (New Zealand) and Conor Rowley (Australia) looking to make a name for themselves.

Stephanie Morton (Australia) will be hunting a fifth title on her home track following gold at the Commonwealth Games in August. Fellow Australian Kaarle McCulloch will be looking to grab a third sprint title and Natasha Hansen (New Zealand) will be looking for a first. Young guns who will be looking for the podium include Holly Takos (Australia), Olivia Podmore (New Zealand), Caitlin Ward (Australia) and Emma Cumming (New Zealand).

2018 Champions
Men: Jordan Castle (New Zealand)
Women: Stephanie Morton (Australia)

After claiming the biggest win of his career upstaging a number of better known rivals Jordan Castle (New Zealand) returns looking to go back to back. With three other former winners in Dawkins, Glaetzer and Schmid the field will be hotly contested and with Webster, Constable and Thomas Clarke (Australia) the battle will be fierce.

In the women’s four former winners Morton (2018, 2016, 2015 and 2013), Holly Takos (2017), Hansen (2012 and 2009) and McCulloch (2008) will we see a return winner this year? New Zealand’s Podmore and Cumming will be looking to add their name to the honour roll as will Australia’s Ward.

Time Trial
2018 Champions
Men: Zac Williams (New Zealand)
Women: Kaarle McCulloch (Australia)

The most successful rider in the history of the event Kaarle McCulloch with seven including the last three will be looking for another. Commonwealth Games medallist Cumming will hope to claim a maiden elite title and with Podmore, Ward and Lara Tucker (Australia) the young up and comers will be contenders as well.

Much like McCulloch, Zac Williams (New Zealand) has made the event his own with gold the last three years. Will 2019 bring a fourth? His biggest challenge may come from 2018 junior world champion Thomas Cornish (Australia) make a smooth step up to the elite ranks with gold? Though with former junior worlds medallists Jackson Ogle (New Zealand), Bradly Knipe (New Zealand) and Cameron Scott (Australia) the young challengers will be looking to take the gold.

Team Sprint
2018 Champions
Men: Edward Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster (New Zealand)
Women: Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton (Australia)

Defending Champions McCulloch and Morton return with both regular medallists at all levels in the event and tasted Commonwealth Games success on the Gold Coast in April. New Zealand last won the event in 2013 when the Championships were also in Adelaide will the return be a golden one for Natasha Hansen and young teammates Podmore and Cumming?

New Zealand have taken home the last five men’s team sprint titles with the trio of Dawkins, Mitchell and Webster the last three. After dominating the event globally the last five years including Olympic silver and Commonwealth Games gold they will be tough to beat. Australia’s Glaetzer, Constable and Hart will be looking to reclaim the title for Australia on their home track.