Armidale Athletics stars brought home another swag of medals at a state event with six speedsters landing themselves spots on the podium at the NSW Junior Championships.
Lawson Fittler and Andre Cooper claimed doubles with Fittler landing gold in his 400 metres and bronze in the 800m while Cooper earned gold in the 200m as well as the 100m at the event at Sydney Olympic Park on the weekend.
Oliver Garrett snared gold in the long jump, Henry Sindel leapt his way to top spot in the 2000m steeplechase, Matt Campion won silver in the 3000m steeplechase and Millie Mazzei a bronze in the 200m.
Not only did a host of athletes bring home medals but everyone in the 19-member team finished in a top eight spot in one or more of their events.
“I am quite sure that has never happened before,” coach and club president Jay Stone said.
“It is a pretty unbelievable stat and I am very proud of everybody who competed down there.”
While Stone said it was an “incredible” outing for the whole team, he highlighted the achievements of Cooper and Fittler.
“Andre Cooper continues to go from strength-to-strength.
“His first couple of golds he won at All Schools were maybe a little bit of a surprise and he has gotten faster at Country Champs and then faster again.
“I thought his runs were very impressive.”
“Lawson Fittler again, fantastic effort to win his first state title after coming very close for so many years.”
Sindel had limited preparation leading into the Championships but still finished with the gold while Mazzei has stepped up to compete against much older athletes at 15.
“Henry took about two months off training and he has only done maybe a month of training but was still in shape to win the state title,” Stone said.
“It was great to see Milly Mazzei get back in the medals.
“To see her run a personal best in the 200m and get back on the podium, that was pleasing as well.”
Every athletics team member The Armidale Express has interviewed have attributed their success to the dedication and hard Stone puts into their progress.
The reigning NSW Athletics Club Coach of the Year said he enjoys seeing the athletes bettering themselves at every outing.
“It has taken a lot to get everybody to the start line and have these performances but it is great to see the effort we have put in is worth it,” Stone said.
“We had 17 personal best performances at those state titles and that is very rewarding, showing that my coaching philosophy works, my coaching program I have got these kids on works and that I have been able to motivate them to get them to run faster than they have before.”
With the Junior Championships behind them, Stone and three runners – Mazzie, William Vince-Moin and Karina Brown – will turn their attention to the Commonwealth Games Para-Sport trials on the Gold Coast this weekend.
Vince-Moin will be trialling for the 400m and 800m, Brown the 100m hurdles and Mazzei the 400m.
“She [Mazzei] will be running against Paralympians and ladies in their mid-20s,” Stone said.
“It will be a big step up for her but it will be a great experience and she will learn a lot.”