High hopes for high jumpers
GRAFTON athletics coach Michelle Hercum expects a big medal tally from a group of high jumpers she is training for state school athletics competitions.
Hercum, who has been coaching young athletes for 27 years, said this squad of eight jumpers is one of the biggest and strongest she has trained for some time.
"I would expect five of these jumpers to medal," she said. "Two of the senior girls are 170cm jumpers."
Hercum said she was also interested to watch the performance of Grafton High School competitor Kyle McIlveen, who had recently broken a 23-year-old record, set by a former pupil.
"Kyle has jumped 161cm to set the new school age record, which was held by Kevin Riddick. I think the old record was 160cm," Hercum said.
The coach said the athletes will compete in different school carnivals depending if they're from a public, independent or Catholic school.
She said Woolgoolga athlete Nicole Gusman is another to watch as she has began to compete in heptathlon events.
"I've introduced her to Olympic champion Glynis Nunn and she's been training with her on the Gold Coast in the heptathlon," Hercum said.
"She's going to compete in both the high jump and the heptathlon."
Hercum is no stranger to coaching athletes to high performances.
"At least three of my athletes have placed in the top three in nationals."
She said all of the athletes going off to compete in the next few weeks will gain a lot from the experience.
"There's four or five that should medal and the others will learn about the mental toughness it takes to compete at the higher levels," she said.
Kyle McIlveen, 13
Georgia Cummins, 13
Ellynie Cameron, 13
Hugh Cameron, 16
Sam Kerr, 17,
Billy Porter, 14
Sarah Harre, 16
Nicole Gusman, 18