Three days of cyclonic conditions were no deterrent to the pursuit of success in Cairns as a team of 93 descended on the sunshine state that was anything but. Following the heat wave the hit the far north a cyclone had formed of the coast of Cairns last week which put the 2018 Australian All Schools in sever threat of cancellation. With the cyclone downgraded late last week competition was set to go ahead as scheduled. Within 2 hours of competition commencing on Friday afternoon the clouds formed over Barlow Park and began to drop more 400mm of rain over the next 3 days of competition.
With the conditions set for the weekend teams from across Australia and New Zealand put their heads down and got on with what was most important, crowning the national Schools Champions across the U14, U16 and U18 age categories.
For #TeamACT day 1 beared the fruit of 6 medals, with the most notable performance going to Gwyllym Young (South Canberra-Tuggeranong) who took a commanding lead 1km into the U18 5000m race walk and held off a late challenger to take the first Gold. Also in the walks, Hannah Manning (North Canberra-Gungahlin) placed 2nd in the U18 5000m race walk. Rounding out the medals for day 1 were Nathaniel Halpin (Para-Talent Squad) who took two Bronze medals, U16 para long jump and shot put. Nathaniel’s performance of 8.10m in the shot put also betters the U16 T1 Australian shot put record. Indygo Prebble (Para-Talent Squad) also took bronze in the U16 Para shot put. On the track Hayden Todd (Ginninderra) collected silver with a strong run in the U14 800m.
Day 2 was met with an extended program, given the poor weather on Day 1 and predicted showers and storms throughout. The weather didn’t stop #TeamACT who continued their medal winning ways with the second gold medal being claimed by Ruan Hennig (North Canberra-Gungahlin) in the U14 hammer throw with an expressive 55.18m. The afternoon of Day 2 saw #TeamACT collect back-to-back golds to back-to-back winners in Edward Nketia (Ginninderra) taking gold in the U18 100m and Tom Palfrey (North Canberra-Gungahlin) in the U16 1500m, both Edward and Tom won the same events at the 2017 edition. The Nketia family was back on the podium only hours later with Augustine Nketia Junior (Ginninderra) winning bronze in the U16 400m. Indygo Prebble (Para-Talent Squad) was back on the podium with another bronze, this time in the U16 para 100m.
With soaking shoes and damp uniforms #TeamACT headed back to Barlow Park for Day 3 of competition. The day kicked off with golds, Eloise Millington (Woden) took gold in the U18 triple jump with a jump of 12.21m. Tom Palfrey (North Canberra-Gungahlin) was back on track with the U16 3000m, and with another impressive run took a demanding lead with 600m to go, holding on for his second gold of the event. With only finals left on the program for the afternoon of Day 3 sites were set on the U18 200m where Edward Nketia (Ginninderra) would line up in his final ever event of the all schools championships. Edward did not disappoint coming off the bend with a commanding lead to dominate the field with an impressive 21.52 into a headwind full of rain. Back across to the field and Ruan Hennig (North Canberra-Gungahlin) was back on the podium with a bronze medal throw in the U14 shot put. The final medal of the weekend went to Hayden Todd (Ginninderra) who backed up his impressive run in the 800m to take bronze in the U14 400m final.
A huge thank you should go to the #TeamACT managers James Kaan, Kim Sturgiss, Luke Halpin, Sarah Taylor and Jonathan Stefaniak, the #TeamACT Physio Casey McDonnell and the #TeamACT leaders Itamar Oren, Claire Roberts, Hannah Manning and Raage Noor.