FIVE Cooktown athletes will be sprinting and jumping against the state’s best track and field athletes after qualifying for the Peninsula team.
A group of 12 youngsters from Cooktown State School and Endeavour Christian College travelled to Cairns for the two-day Peninsula team trials, after blitzing their events at the Tablelands district carnival in Mareeba earlier this month, with five making it onto the regional team.
Proud mum and Cooktown Geckos Little Athletics Club coach Liesl Pensio said it was an incredibly successful outing for the young track and field stars.
“It’s really a credit to the kids, the amazing outcomes were down to them, they put the hard work in to get the results,” she said.
Many of the youngsters are members of the Little Athletics group, training together every Wednesday in a range of track and field sports, which Ms Pensio said had paid off.
“The five who qualified, they are Little As members, or we supported them with training,” she said.
“It was really tough getting through Peninsula trials. If you are aged 10-12 they take the top three, but once you hit 13 it’s a lot tougher because you have to place first or meet qualifying times or distances.”
Ms Pensio said that for Desmond Bowen, who qualified for long jump and high jump, and Carradine Bally, who qualified for the 100m and 200m sprints, the achievement was something to be incredibly proud of.
“They really earned their spots because it was such a tight competition and they only had one crack at it, they didn’t have heats and then finals,” the coach said.
“I’m just really proud of them and the whole team – I love that they can all go and experience the state championships together.”
Joining Desmond and Carradine on the Peninsula team will be Jessica Crowe and Grace Raleigh competing in long jump, and Maia Pensio in long jump, 100m and 200m.
Ms Pensio said this year would be a different experience for her son Maia, who travelled to the state championships on his own last year.
“It was such a lonely journey last year and often can be for kids who are good at sport, which was a large part of my vision for getting Little Athletics up and running,” she said of her decision to reinstate club in Cooktown in 2022.
“Maia enjoys sport when he can do it with other people and of course as we expected so many talented kids are taking part and joining him on that journey now as well.”
Ms Pensio said the group was looking forward to fundraising to send the five students to the state championships, which will be held next month at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre in Brisbane.