Geraldton girls eye off country athletics championships

Edward ScownMidwest Times
Bonny (9) and Taylah Dean (14), Alyssa Bergsma (12) and Shiloh O'Reilly (11) have their sights set on the country championships.
Camera IconBonny (9) and Taylah Dean (14), Alyssa Bergsma (12) and Shiloh O'Reilly (11) have their sights set on the country championships. Credit: Reuben Carder

Four Mid West girls will be looking to give it their all in the upcoming Junior Country Athletics Championships this weekend.

Bonny and Taylah Dean, Alyssa Bergsma, and Shiloh O’Reilly will head to Kalgoorlie for three days of intense competition, starting Friday.

Coach Jacko Whitby said they would come up against a strong field, but he was confident the girls would do well.

“There are some good athletes there,” he said. “Most of our competition comes from Bunbury. They have a lot of talent down there.”

The youngest of the team, nine-year-old Bonny, will compete in long jump, turbo javelin, the 70m sprint, and 60m hurdles.

“Bonny just sort of pops in and out of our training program, but she works hard for a little tike,” Whitby said.

Taylah, 14, will be looking to qualify for the State championships when she takes on the 90m and 300m hurdles competitions in Kalgoorlie, as well as 200m sprint, long jump, and triple jump.

She has already tasted glory this season, winning gold in her under 15s division of a Geraldton Athletics Centre competition in December.

“She did very well, she qualified for State all-schools hurdles under 15s and 16s,” Whitby said.

“She’s got a very bright future ahead of her.”

Alyssa and Shiloh will compete together in the 800m race and triple jump in their under 12s division.

“Alyssa made the 200m sprint final at the State little athletics championships last year. To make it to the finals is a very good achievement,” Whitby said.

While good results are one way to boost motivation, Whitby said the way to keep kids engaged was through variety.

“You have to change it up, try different things,” he said. “If you keep doing the same old drills, they get sick of it.”

The Country Athletics Championships will be run to Little Athletics rules. It begins on January 14, and continues through the weekend.

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