MOVING ON: Ararat’s Sarah Blizzard, pictured with father Neil at last year’s Stawell Gift, was the fastest loser in the heats of the women’s gift on Saturday and advanced to the semi-finals. Picture: PAUL CARRACHERARARAT runner Sarah Blizzard’s bid to go one better than her runner-up finish at last year’s Stawell Women’s Gift is off to a good start.
Blizzard advanced to the semi-finals of the women’s gift despite not winning her heat.
She finished second to Sophia Power in heat 13, which was the fourth-fastest of the 16 women’s heats.
Blizzard, running off 9.5 metres, nearly pipped Power on the line after starting a metre and a half behind her.
Blizzard’stime of 13.544 seconds made her the fastest of the non heat winners, easily sending her through to the semi-finals.
Last year’s women’s gift winner Holly Dobbyn became the first high-profile casualty.
Dobbyn was in the same heat as Blizzard and Power but ran fourth as the backmarker off a 6.5-metre handicap, eliminating her before the semi-finals.
The news was also not good for the Wimmera’s two other competitors in the women’s gift.
Debutant Anna Bush ran fifth in her heat after being given a tough 9.25-metre handicap and did not advance.
Her time was 14.002 seconds.
Crowlands’ Tiffany Boatman also did not make it out of the heats, finishing seventh after running 14.893 seconds.
Women’s drawcard Melissa Breen cruised to victory in the first heat of the day.
Breen looked untroubled as she won in a time of 13.974 seconds, easing off before the finish line.
Women’s gift favourite Grace O’Dwyer was also impressive in her 13.560-second heat win.
Another of the women’s big names, Ella Nelson, had to endure a wait to see if she would run in the semi-final after finishing fourt inher heat.
Her time of 13.675 seconds was good enough to send her through as one of the fastest losers.
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