Nathanial Kalsrap claims victory in the 2019 Norfolk Island “Gift”
On Saturday 9th February and for the first time in the more than 20-year history of the Norfolk Island Gift, Nathanial Kalsrap joined his brother Mark to become the first siblings to have both won this event. Posting the fastest qualifying time for the final, Nathanial looked in full control as he stormed through to finish more than a metre clear of a fast finishing back marker, TK Morgan with Paddy Eyre taking third spot.
With a strong Easterly breeze and a very dry track, times were expected to be a little slower than previous years for the running of this years Gift but that did not deter our athletes with over 75 entries being received across the 3 events for the afternoon. The Malcolm Champion Oval, a little worse for wear due to the dry weather and the recent installation scars from repairs to the track sprinkler system, welcomed a solid number of athletes, parents, friends and spectators to the 2019 Gift and a chance to enjoy the improved seating facilities installed by Athletics Norfolk Island in 2018.
The finalists in finishing order in the Gas Centre 100 metres, top 8 in the World Traders 400 metres and the first seven athletes across the line in the Middlegate Mile were:
Norfolk Island Gas Centre “Gift” 100 metres:
1st Nathanial Kalsrap
2nd TK Morgan
3rd Paddy Eyre
4th Sophie Pulsford
5th Ella Rogers
6th Zya Quintal
7th Cameron Rogers
8th Sy Jason
World Traders 400 metres:
1st Sophie Pulsford
2nd Zya Quintal
3rd Ella Rogers
4th Charlie Umlauft
5th Koszta Deszecsar
6th Daniella Randall
7th Chayla Williams
8th Nathanial Kalsrap
1st Vinnie Martinovich
2nd Sophie Pulsford
3rd Cameron Rogers
4th Jesse Schmitz
5th Siena Menghetti
6th Koszta Deszecsar
7th Charlie Umlauft
Athletes from 7 years of age through to almost 50 took part and were pitted against each other using a handicap system developed by World Masters Athletics that is designed to give everyone competing and equal chance of winning, with specific handicaps applied using age and gender factors. It is overall fitness, with a touch of strategy that usually separates the fields and determines the final placings.
Our regular sponsors were again very generous with their support for the Gift events and with $2000 in total prizes on offer across the 3 events there was clearly going to be some serious competition to make the prize list.
With the 100 metre heats leading the afternoons programme, the first four heat winners all progressed to the final on times including Paddy Eyre, Sy Jason, TK Morgan and Nathanial Kalsrap.
With the 100 metres “Gift” final scheduled for the last event of the afternoon, the World Traders 400 metres was the next event with 26 competitors placed around the track on their respective handicap marks before Starter, Tim Rogers, fired the gun to get the race underway. Last year’s winner Sophie Pulsford was back to defend her title despite a reduction in her handicap by15metres since last year. Sophie ran a very sensible race form the gun and set about the task of reeling in the front markers and staying well clear of those starting behind her. A very determined finish saw Sophie cross the line almost 4 seconds ahead of another rising junior athlete, Zya Quintal, followed by last years third place getter, Ella Rogers who posted a time a full second faster than her time in 2018, which considering the conditions and her own reduced handicap, was a great improvement. The smallest and youngest athlete on the day, Daniella Randall, in her very first appearance at the Norfolk Island Gift showed that she has future potential with a huge effort to take 6th place behind Charlie Umlauft ( 4th) and Koszta Deszecsar(5th).
The next event, the Middlegate Mile, is not for the fainthearted, with almost 4 full laps of the track and the mid afternoon heat to deal with, however that did not deter over 20 athletes lining up for the staggered start. The athletes lined up in single file with each athlete commencing running at specific timed intervals that are determined by the age and gender graded tables. First athlete away was Charlie Umlauft with the rest of the field starting at timed intervals right through to the back marker, Cameron Rogers, starting over a minute and a half after Charlie. With the absence of 2018 winner, Teva Evans, last years second place getter, Vinnie Martinovich, was keen to secure his first win during the Gift. His carefully planned run paid dividends as he crossed the line as a clear winner. With her win in the 400 metres only ten minutes earlier it was going to be a struggle for Sophie Pulsford to threaten Vinnie’s strong finish but she fought on strongly to cross the line into second spot.. Cameron Rogers, as the back marker had a lot of ground to make up in his efforts to find a spot on the podium but he was able to run down 20 other athletes in a fine display of running but was unable to catch Vinnie or Sophie, taking third only a few metres behind. 3rd in 2018 in this event, Jesse Schmitz again proved that he is a future force to be reckoned with finishing the final 200 metres in very quick time and overtaking a number of other athletes to take out 4th position. Siena Menghetti, in her first Gift outing placed 5th ahead of Koszta Deszecsar, Charlie Umlauft and Rocco Menghetti.
To finish the afternoon’s events it was back to the final of the main event, the Norfolk Island Gas Centre “Gift” 100 metres.
With the 8 finalists having progressed through the heats based on their handicap times it was Nathanial Kalsraps race to lose as he had easily clocked the fastest time of the heats and looked as though he still had more in reserve. However, some of last year’s finalists including Sophie Pulsford, Ella Rogers and Sy Jason had also made it through to this years final and were all looking to improve on 2018’s results. Running away from a fast finishing pack, Nathanial proved too strong on the day to take out his first Norfolk Island Gift title and the first prize of $400 and the Norfolk Island Gas Centre perpetual shield. The minor placings were very close with a strong run from the back marker, TK Morgan pipping Paddy Eyre into 3rd place with “Athlete of the Meet” Sophie Pulsford close behind, picking up her third prize of the day, running into 4th spot. Ella Rogers ran in 5th with Zya Quintal 6th, Cameron Rogers 7th and Sy Jason filling out the top eight.
Presentation of the prizes followed with Ian Anderson presenting prizes to the first eight finishers in the World Traders 400 metres and Brentt Jones, President of Athletics Norfolk Island presenting prizes and trophies in the 100 metres and the mile. The top eight in each event received very generous prizes provided by the following very supportive sponsors:
Norfolk Island Gas Centre
Air Norfolk Travel ( TravelWorld)
Norfolk Island Building Supplies
Norfolk Island Supermarkets
The Olive Cafe
Max’s Department Store
Paradise Hotel Resort
South Pacific Resort Hotel
Thanks to Tim Rogers for filling in as official starter and to Rose Evans and Brentt Jones for marshaling and recording and logistics.
Our grateful thanks to our sponsors for their continuing support and to all participants and family supporters and spectators for a great afternoons activity.