Thornton’s Tim Eschebach and former Maitland athlete Josh Ross remain in the running to take out the Stawell Gift heading into today’s finals.
Both are through to the semi-finals after Eschebach ran second in his heat, with Ross taking out his race.
Ross is one of four former champions still in contention to take out the title, with Aaron Stubbs, Sam Jamieson and Mitchell Williams-Swain also taking out their respective heats.
Former 100 metre world record holder Asafa Powell is out of the 2013 Gift after suffering a hamstring injury in his heat, meaning Ross has every chance of becoming the only man to win the Stawell Gift three times in its 132nd running.
And the former Maitland man appeared to have plenty in the tank after cruising to victory in his heat, winning in 12.49 seconds.
“That’s exactly what I did when I won from scratch in 2005, shutting it down,” Ross said. “I am really happy to be in the semi-final and I believe I have a good chance to do this.
“It’s a massive advantage that I am one of the most experienced, if not the most experienced sprinter here.
“This thing is a whole mind game, you know guys can come out and run 11.7 in the heat and run 12.3 in the final.
“It comes down to experience and can you handle the pressure? It’s a pressure game and I perform well under pressure – that’s what I am known for.”
The semi-finals and final will be run today.
Check out the video of Josh Ross' 2005 Stawell Gift victory from scratch
... And his 2003 win