Mingara Athletics Club capped off another successful summer season, winning Country Club of the Year at the 2019 Athletics NSW Awards Dinner last week.
At the Crystal Palace in Luna Park, Mingara’s accomplishments were celebrated amongst the state’s finest athletes, volunteers and coaches.
The accolades seemed endless for Mingara Athletics Club – in the 2018/19 season, they placed first in the Country Championships, were the leading country club in the Treloar Shield, had an athlete compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and were the second-placed country club in the coveted Winter Trophy.
Mingara Athletics Club Secretary and coach Margaret Beardslee admitted it was a busy 12 months for the club, but cited the annual Street Relay as a season highlight – it is a massive weekend for the club who also host the event, stretching their resources.
“We try and concentrate our efforts on the relays,” said Beardslee.
“At the Street Relays we fielded something like 35 or more teams, and that’s partly due to the willingness of everybody to get down and be part of the weekend.”
Race walker and Mingara athlete Tyler Jones was also a winner at the Awards Night – the 21-year-old received the prestigious Dorothy Dorsett Memorial Award for Male Distance Walker of the Year for his successful winter campaign.
Jones went to a new level over summer, placing third in two national championships – at the Oceania/Australian 20km Road Walk Championships in February and the 10,000m on track in April.
There is no doubt that Tyler is in the next wave of Australian race walkers who will continue our fine international tradition in the event.
“Tyler has been very decorated; he’s won many state championships over the distances from 5km to 20km, both road and track,” said Beardslee.
“He’s been nominated for our Athlete of the Year for the last five years… he’s a great talent and has a great backing squad and coach.”
Jones’s coach, Athletics NSW life member Frank Overton, has played a vital role in the development of numerous walkers in the Mingara Club.
71-year-old Overton started coaching during the 1960s in his teens was soon the NSW State walks coach, training internationals Anne Ryan and Mike Woods – as a competitor, he also won dozens of national championship medals.
“Walking is Frank’s first love – I think he held the walks world record at one stage early in his career,” said Beardslee.
“He’s a great mentor for Tyler and his squad.”
Furthermore, veteran jumps coach Matt Horsnell was awarded Country Coach of the Year for his ongoing contribution to Mingara Athletics Club and the wider sporting community.
Upon receiving his award, Horsnell praised Mingara Athletics Club for their commitment to developing world-class athletes in a regional environment.
“[We] work so hard together as a team – everyone backs each other up,” said Horsnell.
“We probably have the best environment to train athletes up on the beaches.”
Mingara Athletics Club recently renovated their track and built a grandstand for spectators, the modernised facilities encouraging the prospect of grander events in future seasons.
“We’ve had a huge facelift with the addition of a beautiful grandstand with seating in the shade, and we’ve now got the fast, soft blue, polytan surface,” said Beardslee.
“With a lot of help from the State government and local councils, we managed to convince people that it was a great facility to have here on the coast.”
Looking ahead, Margaret aims for greater engagement with the community, hopefully encouraging more locals to get involved, whether that be as a competitor, coach or volunteer.
“We’d like to see some big events here in the coming years,” said Beardslee.
“We’re looking forward to a really good year partly because of the rejuvenation of the facility – people have noticed, and they want to have a go on it while it’s in its prime.”