Athletes shine at state titles
FIVE outstanding Gympie athletes have helped Wide Bay assert its authority at the recent Queensland Athletics State Championships.
The Queensland event was held at Brisbane’s QEII Stadium from Thursday to Sunday last weekend and Gympie competitors included Tanika McClintock, Anton Kurtz, Shaun Lee, Liam O’Brien and Dean Bull.
Gympie athletics coach Keith Brown said the athletes would have a break from training until after Christmas and were deserving of the time off after their standout performances in Brisbane.
McClintock, 15, from Gympie State High School, competed in discus and set a new personal best mark of 35.81 to finish fourth. Also competing in javelin, she finished fifth.
“I was pretty happy with fourth and breaking my personal best mark,” she said.
“I didn’t place so I haven’t qualified for the nationals, but I will have another chance with some trials coming up.
“I’m just going to keep training and hopefully I will make it.”
Last year, McClintock represented Queensland at a national level and finished eighth.
Meanwhile, Gympie High’s Kurtz, 15, took part in sprint events including the 100 and 200 metres and relay.
The young sprinter finished 12th in both the 100 and 200 metres but tasted success in the relay, helping Wide Bay clinch bronze.
Brown said the result was exceptional as the only medal Wide Bay claimed in the relays.
“We got into position on the bend and held onto third,” Kurtz said.
“With my own sprints, I could have done better in the 100 metres,” he said.
Kurtz competed at a state level for the second time and improved on last year’s performance, finishing fourth in the relay.
The longer distance running saw James Nash State High School’s Shaun Lee again issue a reminder of his competitiveness on the track.
Lee, 14, claimed a bronze in the 1500 metres and shattered a personal best mark lingering over his head for almost a year.
The runner, who prefers longer distance than what he considers “a short” 1500 metres, shaved three seconds off his previous best mark.
“I was very happy with that because my old time I had for about a year and it was getting hard to beat it,” he said.
Lee’s result ensures he has made his second Queensland team destined for national competition. Last year at the nationals, Lee finished first in the 3000 metres and fifth in the 1500 metres.
With a break from athletics training now a reward for all his hard work, Lee says he is going to channel his energy into triathlons with the Tin Can Bay Cooloola All Schools Triathlon taking place this Friday.
The last two brilliant results from Gympie athletes at state competition came from Liam O’Brien and Dean Bull, both 14.
The pair finished first and second in javelin and qualified for the nationals.
O’Brien threw 49.66m, just shy of his personal best of 50.34m, while Bull managed 47.29m to collect silver.
Bull stole silver from his rivals on his last threw after dropping back temporarily to third.
“It was a great effort to jump up a place on his last throw,” Brown said.
National competition will be held in Sydney in March next year.