Emma Nuttall among Scots athletes in California

High jumper Emma Nuttall is aiming to improve her outdoor best. Picture: Greg Macvean

High jumper Emma Nuttall is aiming to improve her outdoor best. Picture: Greg Macvean

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At LEAST 20 Scottish athletes have entered the famous Mt SAC Relays meeting in Walnut, California tomorrow in search of the balmy, warm conditions which are so elusive in this country but can assist their quest for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games success.

For most this means achieving those vital qualifying standards which can secure their team places while in the case of a “chosen few”, who have already been named, it will be the start of their build-up to the Games themselves in July.

In the latter category are high jumper Emma Nuttall (Edinburgh AC), who will open her outdoor season against a 12-strong field in which she will only be ranked seventh, Scottish pole vault record-holder Jax Thoirs (Giffnock), who will be surrounded by high flyers and Scottish number one hammer-thrower Mark Dry (Burghead), who faces an equally strong field.

Nuttall, who has just completed her third year of a history degree at Trinity Western University in Vancouver, was due to drive from a training base in Arizona to Walnut yesterday.

She said: “I’m pretty fit but have been working very hard, so my legs are quite tired,” said Nuttall, who is looking forward to her first big test on US soil.

The Scottish indoor record holder at 1.88m, Nuttall will be looking to improve her outdoor best of 1.87m set in winning the British title at Birmingham last year.

Clubmate Emily Dudgeon was keeping her fingers crossed this week that her good 800 metres run at Phoenix last Saturday would guarantee her place in a fast heat tomorrow when the Games target of 2:02.80 will be uppermost in her mind.

Former clubmate Kris Gauson is just one of a number of runners chasing the 1500 metres target of 3:42.20.

The Musselburgh man was just outside it in his last race, while Andrew Butchart Central) is also confident he can find another two seconds to join Chris O’Hare (EAC) in the Scottish team.

Alex Hendry (Central) and Steve Lisgo (Shettleston) both go in the 3k steeplechase while Callum Hawkins (Kilbarchan) is in the 5k and Matt Gillespie (Shettleston) in the 10k for which Hawkins already has a time.