A short history of the Australian mens 4 x 100m state teams record

A new Australian State Teams 4 x 100m record was set last week in Taiwan when the NSW quartet of Nick Hough, Jarrod Geddes, Anthony Alozie and Isaac Ntiamoah combined to record a time of 39.06s. The mark slashed 0.40s off the former record set by a Queensland Academy of Sport squad set 18 years ago in 1995. The record recognises the fastest relay squad where all athletes hail from the same state.

The finds of the last two seasons Nick Hough and Jarrod Geddes, confirmed their outstanding domestic season form to join their older teammates Anthony Alozie and Isaac Ntiamoah to win the Taiwan Championships and regain the record for NSW, only the 5th time the record has changed hands in 40 years.

The former record was set in a fiercely contested race in Melbourne in 1995, arguably the best state versus state 4x 100m ever. It is recalled by Australian statistician Paul Jenes in his 2001 publication Fields of Green, Lanes of Gold – The Story of Athletics in Australia.

The NEC Classic in Melbourne drew a crowd of 16000 people to another high class meeting….
Curtin University’s Paul Edmiston, Paul Greene, Nick Ward and Dean Capobianco ran an Australian club record of 39.51 secs but still finished behind the strong Queensland quartet of Pat Birgan, Ricky Nalatu, Darryl Wohlsen and Damien Marsh (39.46secs).

Fields of Green, Lanes of Gold – The Story of Athletics in Australia.

Marsh, the Australian record-holder with 10.19 at the time, received the baton from Wohlsen who, as always had run a great curve, and was level with Capobianco when the duo began their anchor legs. The battle of the then last two Australian 100m champions was something to relish. Barrel-chested Marsh and Capo with his broad shoulders and high stepping action were dead-even down the straight. The Queenslander, at his career best in 1995, pulled away ever so slightly in the final 20m to record a memorable win by 0.06s.

Relay records as published in Athletics Australia Relay Records List – As at 26 May 2013

[Edit: If I close my eyes I can still see Marshy taking that baton from Wohlsen and taking off next to Capo. I had earlier run up the back of Nalatu at the first exchange and whilst I had looked across to Ryan Witnish (Victoria) on my outside and saw we changed first I remember thinking it wasn’t pretty. I came to a stop mid-way down the back straight, as Wohlsen in his breakthrough season (20.67w in 1995) stormed the bend, and then watched in awe as Marshy pulled ever so slightly clear of Capo to take victory and the record.]

Tim Goldie brought home the classy Victorian squad of Witnish, Andrew Murphy and Steve Brimacombe in 39.61s. All three squads set state records that still stand today.

A surprising 4th in 40.55s that day was the NSW foursome of Adam Ross, Tim Jackson, Mike Weiner, and Peter Vassella. Surprising because just two years earlier they had ran exactly one second faster to set a new Australian State Team record, albeit with a much stronger squad. Andrew Richardson, Tim Jackson, Paul Henderson and Fred Martin combined to win the Australian title in 39.55s.

Richardson, a stalwart of NSW sprinting in the 90s, was an impressive bend runner (21.27 in 1993 but 20.93 3 years later) and with Jackson and Henderson at the peak of their powers in 1993 (10.26/10.15w and 10.28/10.27w respectively) and 1984 Olympian Fred Martin it was no surprise to see the mark taken to new territory as it bettered the 1978 standard of 39.8s set by Victoria.

Another Victorian squad with some very famous names (Lewis, Haskell, Minehan and Olympic silver medallist Norman) had held the record for 6 years to that point.

Progression of Australian 4 x 100m State Teams relay record

Recent best times (ie., the domestic season when the record was set) for athletes indicated in brackets.

40.1 Victoria Brisbane Greg Lewis (10.3), D Minehan 10.4, Graeme Haskell (10.3), Peter Norman (20.5) 11 March 1972
39.8 Victoria Brisbane Fred Lehmann, Colin McQueen, Barry Besenko and Peter Van Miltenburg. 18 March 1978
39.55 New South Wales Brisbane Andrew Richardson (10.65), Tim Jackson (10.26), Paul Henderson (10.28), Fred Martin (10.58) 6 March 1993
39.46 Queensland Academy of Sport Melbourne Pat Birgan (10.6), Ricky Nalatu (10.33), Darryl Wohlsen (10.54), Damien Marsh (10.16) 23 February 1995
39.06 New South Wales Taiwan Anthony Alozie (10.28), Isaac Ntiamoah (10.40), Nicholas Hough (10.39), Jarrod Geddes (10.37) 27 May 2013

Author: patbirgan

Australian living in Italy and managing the AIS European Training Centre. In my spare time I like to watch, write, tweet, commentate, manage, immerse in all things athletics.

3 thoughts on “A short history of the Australian mens 4 x 100m state teams record

  1. This takes me back to some halcyon days for sprinting generally, and Queensland in particular. That 4th relay position was hotly contested if I remember… 😉 Marshy and Ricky at max velocity – awesome. And Darryl on the bend were poetry in motion.

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