THREE junior Wimmera athletes will compete at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney next month.
Anna Bush and Laura Hutchins of Horsham and Minyip’s Darcy Edgerton all qualified for nationals after medalling at the Victorian Junior Track and Field Championships at the weekend.
The three, along with Darcy’s older brother Andrew Edgerton, were the only Wimmera athletes at the state championships, which finished on Sunday.
Top-three placings in their respective age group events automatically qualified each of them for the national championships, which will be at Sydney Olympic Park from March 12 to 16.
Bush, a Wimmera Sports Star of the Year nominee, was in blistering form at the Victorian championships as she set personal bests in under-16 triple jump, long jump and 90-metre hurdles.
Bush won gold in the triple jump, silver in the long jump and was fifth in the 90-metre hurdles, but her time was good enough to qualify her for nationals.
She also made the final of the 200-metre sprint, finishing seventh.
Hutchins came away from the state championships with two medals – a gold in under-18 discus and bronze in shot put.
She qualified for nationals in both events.
Darcy Edgerton also had a day to remember.
The 12-year-old finished third in the under-14 javelin despite throwing well below his personal best, qualifying for his first ever national championships.
Darcy was also fifth in the 100-metre final, sixth in the 200-metre final and sixth in long jump.
His brother Andrew has previously competed at nationals but did not qualify at the weekend.
Andrew finished fifth in his under-17 100 and 200-metre heats, fourth in long jump and fourth in discus.
Horsham athletics coach Ricky Price said the the Wimmera athletes could be proud of what they had achieved.
“This is only the second time we’ve had three qualify for nationals so it’s certainly unusual and it’s a good achievement,” he said.
“Anna was fourth in the triple jump and 80-metre hurdles at the nationals in Perth last year, and she’d be on the improve from that.
“If she can jump around where she did at the weekend I’d say she would be a medal chance in the triple jump and quite possibly make final eight in the hurdles and the long jump.”
Price said it would also be a good experience for Hutchins, who has qualified for nationals before, and Edgerton in his first nationals.
“I don’t know how many superlatives you can use in a sentence to describe how excited he is.''
Edgerton’s mother Anne said her son was beside himself with excitement at the prospect of competing in Sydney.
“I don’t know how many superlatives you can use in a sentence to describe how excited he is,” she said.
“He threw nearly seven metres behind his personal best in the javelin so he still did well to qualify and it means there’s plenty of room for improvement at the nationals.”
Ms Edgerton said Darcy had been doing athletics for nearly eight years but had improved sharply when he started being coached by Price about a year ago.
She said Darcy’s goal was to be one of the top eight finalists in the javelin at nationals.