NSW All Schools Day 2 Review: Byron Bay shines
Two new stars of NSW distance running shone bright like the lighthouse which breams over their town of Byron Bay.
Remember these names as we will be hearing a lot more about them in the future. Elliott McGaughran won the 16 years 3000m defeating a high standard field, while Kate Giddy won the 12 year 800m by 10 seconds and just missed a 31 year-old record by one second. Both athletes are from the Athletics NSW club, Byron Bay Runners and are under the brilliant coaching of Caroline Bailey at the club.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going that quick,” McGaughran said after the race. “I was shocked that I wasn’t being smashed.” McGaughran was referring to the high qualify field including the outstanding Luke Young, Oli Raimond and Drew Fryer. But McGaughran is making rapid progression. He was a nine-minute 3000m runner last season and has slashed his personal best a number of times this season.
“It was 21 seconds quicker than I have every run,” as he clocked 8:26.68 slicing seven seconds off the record.
Can he explain his significant improvement?
“Coaching. I trained before but had no structure to my training. I would just for a run now and then. I previously played soccer but quit as I was injuring my leg.”
It was also the third fastest time 3000m in the 81-year-history of the NSW All Schools and fastest time for 37 years. Luke Young ran well himself clocking 8:35.04, just outside the old record. In third Oli Raimond, a little unwell, still managed a tremendous time of 8:53.47.
Kate Giddy was another of the Byron Bay Runners making significant progress at the carnival winning the 12 years 800m in 2:17.76. “It was my fourth real competitive 800m,” was the surprise admission from Giddy who was a former sprinter.
“I was doing 100m and 200m events at state. Then I started doing more and long distance runs and XC. I started to enjoy running more and where I live is a lighthouse and started running there.”
Her progress has been startling. “Today was a two second PB, and I ran 2:20 in the heat yesterday and before the carnival my best was 2:24 at CHS, so I have been improving a lot.”
Carline Bailey is one of a number of coaches at the club including Chris, Shaunagh, Simon and Ruby, who manage a junior and senior squad totalling 53 athletes. Bailey also shared her exciting news that she has been selected as a volunteer at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games where she will work at the athletics.”
Another athlete at the NSW All Schools on day two to enter the record books was PLC’s Abi Stevanovic who just broke the 15 years girls 200m hurdles record with a time of 27.46. ”The goal today was to get the meet record which I achieved.” The challenge for this event which Abi will more away from in a few months, is managing to run eight strides between the hurdles. This requires the athlete to learn to hurdle off both legs. “It didn’t come easy and I have been working on it a lot.”
She is also adjusting to a change of coach 12 months ago. “I had my first full winter season with Mick (Zisti) so have been working on sprints and hurdles. I’ve improved a lot since nationals (last March).”
The girls 14 years long jump was tipped to be one of the best at the championships and it lived up to expectations and more thanks to some great performances by the athletes.
QUOTE PEVIEW: One of the events with the best depth is the 14 years girls long jump. At the CHS, six athletes were over 5.20m, led by Katie Gunn with 5.40m. At the CCC, the winner Jessica Laurance was also over 5.20m. The other five who make this a tremendous event are: Tiahna Skelton (Wallsend), Cleo Dickie (Blayney High), Alyssa Lowe (Riverside Girls), Alyssa Parks (Figtree High) and Danielle Osifo (Cherrybrook Tech).
On Friday Katie Gunn opened impressively with a first round leap of 5.30m. Jessica Laurence was also strong with 5.16m and sat in second after round one. Round two was quiet, but the event started to pick up in round three with Gunn again out to 5.30m, put was under pressure from Danielle Osifo who also leapt 5.30m to now sit in second. For the last round the event was re-ordered with hurdler Tiahna Skelton striking first, leaping 5.30m. Laurence, who had slipped to fifth, nailed 5.33m and took the lead. But last to jump was Gunn and she was equal to the challenge, soaring out to 5.54m and the gold. What a competition girls!
There seems no stopping the improvement of western Sydney sprinter/jumper Laud Codjoe. He won the 14 years long jump in impressive style by 48 cm.
“I improved on every jump, except the last one,” he said. “6.50m felt good, but I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get the record. He fell just short of the 6.52m record. “But yesterday I ran a 200m PB of 22.98 and won my triple jump 13.04m.” Codjoe’s early season form is surprising as he has only just commenced his jumping and sprinting. “I don’t do off-season training as I do soccer in the winter.”
There was a record in the 14 years 3000m walk when national champion, Allanah Pitcher clocked 14:09.89 taking over 20 seconds from the previous mark. In the 14 years 200m hurdles, Trinity’s Theo Kidd was outstanding just trimming a record, held equally by a school mate. Kidd clocked 26.39, just under Byron Dessent-Hollingworth’s 26.42.
In the 15 years girls discus, Sally Shokry (Castle Hill High) just nailed the record by 7cm, with a distance of 45.95m.
There was a 3000m double for the Rockliff siblings, both winning by over 3000m. Abbey won the 16 years with 10:13.97 and Sam the 14 years 9:17.97.
There was an impressive throws double in the 12 years girls by Brianna Worsfold with marks of 39.70m (discus) and 12.41m (shot). Just as impressive was Ashlyn Blackstock in the same 13 years events shot (13.77m) and discus (41.58m).
“It was my best throw but not a PB,” said Blackstock after the shot put. “It was a good competition, which was long with the other age group but it was good to hang out with them. My first throw was the biggest and on the last I did pull out a big throw, but still not what I wanted.”
She combines the shot with the discus.
“In the past I have been performing better and better in the shot but my preferred event is the discus.”
Blackstock, a year 8 student at Belmont High and trains with coach Gerry Targett and really enjoys training with his squad.
“The squad is really good and friendly. They are supportive and involved with everything and just a great group of people to train with.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Elliott McGaughran winner of the 16 years 3000m (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)