DYNAMIC DUO: South Grafton girls bring home State medals
ATHLETICS: There must be something in the water at South Grafton High School as two students booked berths at the Australian Junior and Youth Athletics championships in late March with golden performances at Homebush last weekend.
Pint-sized pocket rocket Nathalie Avery defended her State crown from 2016 with a blazing run in what was at times unbearable heat at the Sydney home of athletics.
While fiery teenager Erica Tillman leapt the competition to clinch gold in the under-18 triple jump and then followed it up with a bronze in the long jump in what was her last attempt at the Junior titles.
Avery has been setting a blazing pace at around the 12.6 second mark this season, so when the board flashed up 12.89 in the gold medal run she was at first disappointed.
"I didn't quite get the time I wanted," she said. "I actually ran faster in my heat than I did in my final, which was pretty unusual.
"I was disappointed but then I sort of thought to myself, well it is 43 degrees out here. That heat puts a lot of drain on you."
The Brooms Head sprinter's final had been pushed back half an hour by officials giving competitors more time to get accustomed to the heat but it was still blazing on the track when the starter's gun fired.
"My hands and knees were burning on the ground when we took our marks," she said. "I do enjoy running the 100m in hotter weather because it gets me more psyched, but that was a bit beyond it."
With the National championships not until the end of March and the Little Athletics Regional titles the week before, Avery has opted to enter the Queensland Junior and Youth titles next weekend to keep herself fresh.
But there is also an element of revenge on the young sprinter's mind as she comes up against 100m Queensland rival Hayley Price.
"She beat me at All Schools Nationals last year and ever since then I have wanted to get one back on her," Avery said. "Hopefully running in Queensland will also boost my confidence a bit."
With Tillman also heading away to the National titles the two close friends will act in support roles for each other.