WIMMERA little athletes have returned from the 2014 Little Athletics Victoria State Track and Field Championships in Melbourne with seven medals.
Rising athletics star Anna Bush won one gold medal and three silvers, while Darcy Edgerton picked up a silver of his own.
The pair – along with Tara Jasper, Nina Denham, Eloise Wills, Jordan Nitschke and Kelly Grey – was part of a seven-person Horsham team that qualified for the championships.
Andrew Edgerton, who is from the Wimmera but trains with the Camberwell-Malvern Little Athletics club, also won silver medals in long jump and the 200 metres.
Dimboola Athlethics Club’s Remi Kuhne, Olivia Jorgensen, Mitchell Jorgensen and Millie Kuhne also competed.
Bush’s gold medal came in the triple jump, which she won with a jump of 11.53 metres.
She produced her best jump at her final attempt to claim gold.
She finished second to Celeste Mucci in the finals of the under-15 100 metres and 90-metre hurdles, but produced a personal best time of 12.55 seconds in the 100-metre final.
She came within one centimetre of a second gold in the long jump final.
Once again she saved her best jump for last – but once again was pipped at the post by Mucci, who jumped 5.37 metres.
Mucci is the Australian junior champion for her age group in all three events.
Horsham athletics coach Ricky Price said Bush would have won four gold medals at the championships if not for Mucci.
“I was really happy with Anna’s 100 metres,” he said.
“She ran a PB of about 12.70 in Warrnambool 12 months ago with a tail-wind, and ever since then there’s been a headwind or it’s been raining so there’s never been a good day to really go for it.
“With Celeste, she’s got someone to chase as well, so it was a good competition.
“Take her out of it and she might have had four golds.”
Price said he was also impressed by Darcy Edgerton, who smashed his previous personal best to win silver in the under-13 javelin.
“Darcy had a really good personal best of 39.92 metres in the final,” he said.
“We knew he could probably get about 36 metres, but to chuck one out at 39 was a really good effort.
“He’d only thrown one over 30 before, but he got four over 32 at the weekend so that’s very good.”
Other Wimmera athletes to make a final included Jasper, who was sixth in the under-14 80-metre hurdles, Wills, who finished fifth in under-nine discus, Remi Kuhne, who was eighth in the under-14 100 metres, and Millie Kuhne who was seventh in the under-nine 80-metre hurdles.
Andrew Edgerton’s time of 23.48 seconds in the under-15 200-metre final was a personal best and good enough for silver, as was a jump of 6.08 metres in long jump.
He also finished fifth in the final of the 100 metres. Price said Wimmera athletes’ performances at the championships over the past few years showed the progress athletics was making in the area.
“To get medals at state championships for a country team is really good, and Horsham has been doing really well over the past few years,” he said.
“When I first started, if you got someone to make the final it was a good result.
“I don’t think it matters where you go, there’s good talent around if you give them the opportunity.
“These kids train twice a week or sometimes more, and they’ve got to forego stuff like netball, so it’s hard for them, but it really pays off.”