Liv in the fast lane collects $40,000 gift

EASY WIN: Matthew Rizzo wins the men's Stawell Gift final on Monday.
EASY WIN: Matthew Rizzo wins the men's Stawell Gift final on Monday. TRACEY NEARMY

ATHLETICS: For the third year in a row a teenage schoolgirl has gatecrashed the Stawell Gift and left town with the $40,000 winner's cheque.

Liv Ryan, a 16-year-old from Donvale, in Victoria, was the subject of a massive betting plunge on Saturday when she was backed from $31 into $2 before the heats.

Running from the outside mark of 11m in Monday's final, Ryan was never threatened to win in 13.74sec from Bridget Powell (9m).

"I cannot believe it, I'm so happy,” Ryan said.

Fifteen-year-old Talia Martin won last year and 16-year-old Grace O'Dwyer in 2015.

The men's event was a walk in the park for odds-on favourite Matthew Rizzo, who was in a league of his own off 7.5m, clocking a slick 12.10sec.

Rizzo, who finished fifth in last year's final, took time out from his job at Bunnings in Langwarrin to fulfil his dream of winning.

He was well clear of the fast-finishing Nathan Riali and third-placed Kyle Grubnic.

"All the hard work has paid off. I'm lost for words,” Rizzo said.

"I walked away last year from that final a little bit disappointed. I wanted to take it out this year and I just did it.”

with Herald Sun

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