Little Athletes Dominate Australian Cross Country Championships
Many of the state’s most promising Little Athletes starred at the Australian Cross Country Championships in Dapto last weekend.
Cross country runners from around the country gathered at the Kembla Joggers Cross Country Running Park for the annual event organised by Athletics Australia.
Matthew McLachlan from Balmain LAC won the U11 Boys 3km event with a formidable time of 9:50.
“I felt pretty good – I was coming out of a good run at State, so I was in good form,” said McLachlan.
“I went into the lead with about 600 metres to go, so I didn’t leave it too late or too early.
“I was feeling pretty good – since I sat back a bit at the start, I had a lot of energy.”
New South Wales teammate Kobe Stewart placed second in the race, nine seconds behind McLachlan.
Meanwhile, in the U11 Girls 3km event, Illawong LAC athlete Brooke Carson was the first NSW competitor to cross the finish, placing second with a time of 10:48.
Coached by Jacinta Doyle on the Central Coast, the aspiring distance runner was stoked with her performance.
“This is my first time going to Nationals; I never expected to come second,” said Carson.
“I was hoping for top ten at least, and I came across the line second!”
Carson looks forward to attempting longer distance events over the coming years.
“Because I’m only Under 11, the highest I can run on the track is 1500m, but I like longer stuff,” said Carson.
Visually impaired Layla Sharp is a T12 multi-class athlete and was the first NSW competitor to finish in the U12 Para Girls 2km event, placing second overall.
Alongside coach and guide Darren, the Werrington LAC athlete found the track difficult to safely navigate at times.
“I can’t see downward or sideways, so I don’t know where the sticks are, so it was like I was guessing,” said Sharp.
“Darren really helped me, and now I’m getting a lot better PBs than I was last year.
“I’m more of an 800m and 1500m person – I broke two Australian U20 records, and I’d like to smash them again.”
Armidale LAC athlete Alexander Wain won gold in the U10 Boys 2km event, the feat more impressive when considering the 10-year-old only started training for cross country last year. NSW teammate Trent Alley earned a bronze medal, finishing only five seconds behind Wain.
In the U12 Boys 3km event, Oliver White from Manly Warringah LAC took the lead halfway through the course. Although his opponents caught up in the latter stages, White maintained his lead to win gold.
“It was really hard – I thought they were going to catch me,” said White.
“I was feeling good; I was a bit tired but.”
Lastly, Sienne Scahill from Woy Woy LAC placed first in the U12 Girls 3km event after a stellar 10:25 run. Fellow NSW athlete Fleur Cooper earned a silver medal after crossing the finish line five seconds later.
“It was a pretty tough race, but I did a proper warm-up and everything,” said Scahill.
“I was surging down the downhills, and then on the final big downhill, I just tried to sprint.
“In training, we always push through the tiredness.”