The #SUMMERofATHS is but one sleep away and final preparations for the Australian All Schools Championships are underway at the South Australian Athletics Stadium.
For many, the focus on track will be the fast-paced boy’s under 18 100m, but importantly the championships are also set to feature the country’s best under 18 aged endurance athletes, with the battle for a position on the podium amongst the most hard fought.
Leading the way in the girl’s under 18 5000m walk are Clara Smith (Qld) and Jemima Montag (Vic).
Smith made her international debut for Australia at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup earlier this year alongside Montag, with the duo delivering a team bronze medal for Australia at the event in the junior girl’s event. She placed an outstanding 8th in a 10km personal best time of 46:33, with Montag hot on her heels to cross the line in 12th (47:34).
Both are members of Athletics Australia’s Under 17 Development Squad, and as 16-year-old athletes have the 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships qualifying time of 23:22.60 in their sights.
Challenging them to the line will be Tayla-Paige Billington (Vic), who has back-to-back victory on her mind. An Australian Spark representative at this year’s IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene (USA) earlier this year, her domestic resume also includes the national under 18 5000m walk title from the Australian Junior Athletics Championships.
In the boy’s under 18 3000m, Ben Chamberlain (WA) will start as favourite having recently improved the national under 18 3000m record of Mike Power to 8:26.90 (hand-timed).
Chamberlain is a two-time 2014 Australian Junior Athletics Championships medallist, including gold in the 3000m. He most recently won the WA All-Schools title to earn his start in Adelaide, and standing in his way are Josh Torley (NSW) and Athletics Australia Under 17 Development Squad athlete Nathan Percy (Vic).
Chamberlain will also start in the 1500m. Here he will face-off with local favourites Jordan Hewitt (SA) and William McCann (SA), as well as Brodie Modini (Qld). Modini and McCann are both members of the Athletics Australia Under 17 Development Squad, while Hewitt this year took part in the Under 19 Talent Squad.