This weekend two Gunnedah boys will compete at the NSW All Schools Athletics Championships in Sydney, while another Gunnedah youngster is preparing for the NSW PSSA athletics titles next week.
Mitchell Clarke and Jono Morrison, of Carinya Christian School in Tamworth, will take on the state’s best young athletes in various events at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre.
Clarke will compete in the under-16 100 metres, 200m and 400m as well as the long jump.
Morrison will compete in the under-15 100m and 200m as well as the pole vault.
Their coach, Andrew Frend, said the teens had trained extensively this year to qualify for the four-day event, which started on Thursday.
Some 1600 athletes from the state’s secondary schools will take part in the championships.
“Their [Clarke and Morrison] commitment and dedication to training to a sport they love has been outstanding,” Frend said. “Their success on the track is an indication of that commitment.”
Both boys competed recently at the CIS championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre, where Clarke won silver in the 200m and finished fourth in the 100m – with only .03 seconds separating first and fourth in the latter.
Morrison competed in Canada this winter as part of a NSW invitational team.
Clarke is seen as the more likely of the duo to qualify for the national all schools titles in Adelaide in December.
Another outstanding athlete, Harry Ryman, who trains with Clarke and Morrison, will compete at the NSW PSSA Athletics Championships at the same venue next Wednesday and Thursday.
The Gunnedah South Public School student will contest the under-9 100m and the 4x100m relay.
“Harry has so much natural talent but still likes to better himself with turning up for training,” Frend said.
Frend and Emma Kennedy run a coaching school for children who are interested in furthering their abilities in athletics.
Frend is a Athletics Australia level three advanced event group and IAAF kid’s athletics coach.
Kennedy is a level one Athletics Australia group coach and Little Athletics LAPS coach. She also competes in athletics.