We knew spring had certainly sprung as glorious rays of sunshine beamed across the beautiful blue athletics track at Lakeside Stadium on Monday the 17th of October, welcoming our twelve strong GWSC Athletics Team to the ‘School Sport Victoria’ 2022 State Track & Field Championships.
With a spring in their step our determined dozen set about preparing for the fierce competition that lay ahead…. talking tactics, formulating race plans, warming-up, dynamically stretching, hydrating, practicing their baton changes, refuelling, tightening their spikes and even tucking in their singlets to enhance their aerodynamic profile (such a Glenny thing to do!)……Then it was time for our GWSC athletes to make a real STATEment at States!
We had three students qualify for individual events at State Athletics this year with Kai Nielsen (Year 11), Daisy Robinson (Year 9) and Sandil Chinthamani Hettige (Year 8) representing our College and taking on the best junior athletes in Victoria, both on the track and also in the field.
Daisy was first out in the field for the day, competing in the U14 Girls High Jump competition. She was calm under pressure and successfully cleared the first 6 heights that the judges raised the crossbar up to, seeing off all but two fellow competitors as the height progressively inched skyward in 5cm increments. The final three girls were assured a medal after this point, but they battled on to see who would take home the precious Au, Ag or CuSn. Daisy obviously didn’t fancy the metallic alloy on the day, as she cleared a 9cm P.B. whilst sailing over the bar at 1.55m using a flawless Fosbury Flop technique. She then just missed out on arching over 1.57m, narrowly going down by 2cm to the eventual gold medallist from Melbourne Girls College who cleared this height on her second attempt. Daisy was jumping for joy though after securing our teams first silver medal for the day and setting a new personal best! She then set about actively supporting all of our other Glenny athletes, demonstrating tremendous team spirit by helping them to warm-up and marshal for their events over the course of the entire day.
Next out on the track was Sandil, who lined up for the U12-13 Boys 200m in the lane which is the lowest natural number that cannot be represented as the sum of the squares of three integers….or one in from lane 8! Lucky Lane 7 appeared to be ‘prime’ for Sandil to run in, as he was lightning fast coming out of his crouch start when the crack of the starter’s pistol pierced the air at the speed of sound….Sandil then put himself in a great position ‘round the bend, driving through this initial phase of the half-lap dash. Entering the home straight, Sandil found himself in fourth place and held this position in the field until the finish line to take out 4th place in the state final in a time of 26.0s! A fantastic run and almost one second P.B. from an up-and-coming athlete, who we are confident will grow stronger and even faster from his competitive experiences throughout this track season. Kudos to Sandil as well for cheering on his Glenny team mates throughout the entire day, whilst helping fellow athletes to prepare for their events too.
It was then time for our most experienced athlete, Kai, to lace up his Nike Zoom Rival S9 spikes and settle into the blocks for the start of the U17 Boys 400m sprint….otherwise known as the lactic acid inducing, muscle cramping, long ‘lap’. Kai jumped quickly out of the blocks in Lane 3 and worked hard around the first bend, before settling into a composed cadence down the back straight. He was sitting in 4th coming into the final bend, where he lengthened his stride and efficiently ran past all but one of his fellow competitors to find himself just behind the lead runner coming down the home straight. Kai dug deep and gave everything to hold his form during the final 80m sprint, closing in on but just crossing the line behind the gold medallist from Frankston High School, who incredibly took out the State ‘Sprint Treble’ by also winning the 100m and 200m. Kai should be very proud of his efforts at both the Eastern Metropolitan Region Championships and also his Silver Medal performance at the State Championships this year, as he has lowered his 400m sprint P.B. by more than two seconds this season already during these SSV competitions, running consistently between 51.1s and 51.3s which is only a mere 3 seconds away from the State Record! Special shout-out to Kai for also sharing his vast T&F experience, knowledge, expertise, tips and tricks with our younger generation of GWSC athletes, it was so great to see one of our senior leaders bringing our Athletics Team even closer together and helping them out every step of the way from dawn ‘till dusk at the State Titles!
Speaking of dusk…..before we knew it the sun started to bid farewell to the track, falling away behind the grandstand to produce a glorious glow across the stadium as twilight set in, signalling the start of the relays….
Our U17 Girls Relay Team consisting of Aarana Malavalli (Year 11), Shania Ranabahu (Year 11), Surabhi Tharmaseelan (Year 11) and Suruthi Tharmaseelan (Year 11) qualified 5th fastest for the 4x100m Relay at the State Titles following a huge win at Regionals in a time of 56.58s. Our girls worked very hard on their changeovers and calling in the lead up to the State Championships, in between studying for their upcoming VCE examinations. Drawing Lane 2 for the final, our most senior girls relay team knew that they would have to really work hard to get the baton around the tight bends of this inside lane safely. They also knew the staggered start would have them at the back of the pack for at least the first 250m, so they had to simply run swiftly whilst also focusing on their own race. In a very fast final, our U17 girls all did an amazing job to pass the baton through three solid changes and each run fast legs to record a time very close to their season’s best. They finished in fifth position, which is an amazing achievement as together they are now one of the top five fastest relay teams in Victoria! Congratulations also to Ava Goodswen (Year 11) who was our reserve for this relay team and assisted our U17 Girls team to qualify for the State Championships, all the while supporting them with gusto every step of the way!
Our U12-13 Boys Relay Team consisting of Cameron Phung (Year 7), Isaiah Khoo (Year 7), Henry Robinson (Year 7) and Sandil Chinthamani Hettige (Year 8) had waited patiently all day for their time on track to come in the form of the 4x100m event, which started just after 6:15pm. They certainly put in some hours throughout the day on the warm-up track, helping one another out whilst practicing their blind pass baton changeovers, clear calls of ‘Go’ and ‘Hand’, in addition to their exchange zone spacing and timing; all the while cheering on their fellow team mates during the individual events. In a dominant display at the Region Championships the four members of our U12-13 Relay team each ran their 100m leg in just under 13 seconds, to safely transport the baton around the track in a swift time of 51.24s. As a result of this, they were ranked as the number one team going into the State Championships Final. Our boys lined up between the premier tram tracks in Lane 4, then quietly went about their business of marking out their spacing just in front of the yellow ticks signifying the start of the changeover box. They looked focused and set prior to the starter’s instructions, with relay teams from select entry sports academies and regional conglomerates flanking our runners at all four points of the compass around the track. Sandil got our team off to a flyer, running the first bend with a ferocious determination to get Glenny up into the lead at the first changeover. Isaiah then took control of the baton and ran a fantastic leg against two of the minor medallists from the 100m dash, more than holding his own down the back straight and delivering the baton to Henry at full gallop. Henry then moved the team to the front of the pack around the bend, striding out to send Cameron on his way home safely with the baton. With a blur of legs reminiscent of the road runner, Cameron sped down the last 100m to hold off a fast-finishing goliath who had won the individual 100m championship. So determined to get Glenny across the line first, Cameron decided to thrust his chest forward whilst passing the finishing post which brought his run to a close with a series of spectacular tumble turns that had the entire crowd in awe! Even the arena announcer was stunned, marvelling at the tenacity and true grit of our newest State Championship winning team who took out the title in 50.33s! It was so amazing to see all four boys coming together at the finish line to celebrate their victory, but more importantly congratulate every single competitor from every other team in the State Final as well. Special mentions must also go out to Bryle Egdani (Year 7) and Bohan Hou (Year 8) who were reserves for our U12-13 Boys Relay Team, as they assisted this team to qualify for the State Finals and cheered them on every step of the way!
A GIANT thanks to all of our GWSC staff members who assisted with our after-school Athletics Training Program sessions this year too, it has been one of our most successful years in recent memory in relation to students achieving personal bests, in addition to qualifying for both the region and state championships. All of our amazing athletes couldn’t have done this without the continued support and dedication of our superb staff members who assist our extracurricular Sports Program.
We would also like to thank both Mr Crotty and Mr Robinson who supervised, helped coach and cheered on our athletes and relay teams at both the Eastern Metropolitan Region Championships and also the ‘School Sport Victoria’ State Track & Field Championships this year.
We look forward to another amazing year of Track and Field at GWSC next year, here’s hoping the incredible efforts of our ‘SSV’ 2022 State T&F Championships representatives, medallists and victors inspires even more students at our college to have a go at a run, jump or throw in the future!