1980: Two future state Little Athletics CEO’s Dean Paulin and Kerry Arkins compete at this championship. Future national 1500m champion Dean Paulin was in the Victorian team and race walker Kerry Arkins was a NSW team member. Arkins was also a coach before she embarked on a long career in sports administration as CEO of NSW Little Athletics. Sharon Clarke would go on to win national senior javelin medals, Hills triple jumper Tim Barnes competed at the world juniors and compiled a successful senior career winning six national medals.
Competing for other states were: Commonwealth Games heptathlon medallist Sharon Jaklofsky-Smith (Q) and internationals Kerrie Baumgartner (V, 800m), Werner Reiterer (V, discus), Sean Carlin (SA, hammer) and Clint Harvey (Q, long jump).
1981: Long jumper Chris Knight was a NSW team member going on to leapt 7.30m in his teens and compete as a senior athlete. He became a personal trainer and strength and conditioner across a few sports including swimming and tennis and currently works at Cranbrook school. They were coached by Penny Gillies and Olympic modern pentathlete Alex Watson. Competing in the WA team was future Olympic sprinter Suzanne Broadrick and pole vault pioneer and Commonwealth Games representative Tracey Shepherd.
1982: Simon Hull, father of 2014 world junior representative Jessica Hull, contested the championships along with John de la Mare who would go onto to claim many NSW high jump records. They competed against some very talented athletes including: Olympian Nova Peris (NT, hockey and athletics Olympian and now federal senator), Andrew Murphy (V, now a NSW jumps coach and athletics coordinator at Trinity Grammar school)
1983: 400m stars Sophie Scamps and Jason Kougellis were on the 1983 team. Scamps who became a doctor twice competed for Australia at the world juniors, while Kougellis, twice a national senior medallist compete at the 1993 world university games. Nova Peris was again in the Northern Territory team, along with team mate Brendan Tennant who would compete for Australia at the Commonwealth Games in the decathlon. The Queensland team included 110m hurdler Rod Zuyderwyck who in 1998 competed in the world cup and Commonwealth games. The WA team included future Olympian and Australian 400m record holder (50.19) Renee Poetschka, and her team mates who would go on to national junior and senior medals – Rebecca Starcevich (hurdles), Shane Cassey (triple jump) and Randal Humich (discus).
1984: Lining up in the sprints was Narromine’s Melinda Gainsford, a future Olympian and national 100m and 200m record holder and media commentator, while in the boys Newcastle’s Chad Stephenson contested the sprints and shot put and would eventually compete at the world cup of athletics.
1985: Anne Harrison, who still competes for Sydney University, competed in the distance events, while current NSW official Ron Richter was a team manager. Two interstate 800m athletes competed against each other and would go on to compile very similar junior careers. Brendan Hanigan (T) and Mark Holcombe (V) both ran 1:47 as juniors, and both made the final of the world juniors. Holcombe won the national junior 800m titles in 1990 and 1991, but Hanigan defeated him for the 1992 title. Hanigan went on to compete at the Commonwealth Games and world championships.
1986: NSW had a strong girls line up led by Suzy Walsham who broke many distance records and as a senior competed at the world cross country and Commonwealth Games. Leading sprinter Rebecca Vormister would compete at two world juniors. Discus thrower Ben Jaaniste would become a multiple senior national medallist. John Quinn was the team coach and would go onto to coach some of Australia’s leading sprinters including Stephen Perry and Lauren Hewitt. Dual Olympian Kylie Rick competed for Tasmania in the distance events while team mate and future Commonwealth Games representative Andrea Hughes competed in the high jump.
1987: Future Olympian Jane Jameson (heptathlon) and Jane Saville (walk) competed in the 1987 team. Shot putter Michelle Haage was also in the NSW team and would compete at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The WA team was strong including Olympian Sarah Jamieson and Commonwealth Games hurdler Ryan Moore and world junior championships high jumper Jarrad Pozzi.
1988: NSW won the 1988 Interstate Competition by 100 points at the championships held at Sylvania Waters in Sydney. The two NSW U15 multi-event girls, Anne Harrison and Joanne Swan were on their second team, having represented in the under-12 team in 1985. Anne continued to run into her senior years as a member of Sydney University club. Race walker Damien O’Mara was a leading junior race walker. His father Michael O’Mara was heavily involved in athletics, as a Board Member at Athletics NSW and accountant and current Board Member with LANSW. The father of Toby Watson, Lindsay was a LANSW Board Member for Officials from 1988 to 1991. High jumper Virginia Young would go on to be one of Australia’s best heptathletes. She won three senior national medals in 1996, 1999 and 2000. NSW competed against Matt Beckenham (ACT) 2000 Olympian and future world championship javelin silver medallist Joanna Stone (QLD).
1989: On home soil in 1989, Queensland narrowly took the title ahead of NSW 655 to 642.5 points. Current LANSW Competitions coordinator, Cheryl Webb, competed in the walk. Long jumper and discus thrower, Marc Stcherbina went on to play rugby for Australia, including Rugby 7’s at two Commonwealth Games. 2000 Olympic hurdler Michael Hazel competed for Victoria. John Quinn was team coach for NSW.
David Tarbotton Little Athletics Athletics NSW
Image: NSW team for the 1988 Little Athletics Australian Teams Championships