GRIFFITH has a new set of state champions after Yoogali Public School’s Luke Mott, Darcie Carnell, Jack Whitehead and Dale Lyons took out the Nigel Bagley Relay for Small Schools at the NSW PSSA Athletics carnival last week at Homebush.
The team was unstoppable throughout the entire carnival, winning the final with a time of 57.88 – more than a second clear of their nearest rivals in a field, which also included three other Riverina schools.
Yoogali PS cruised into the final as warm favourites, having qualified first in both their heat and the semi-final.
It was also a case of redemption for the quartet, who raced in the same event last year, but came third.
Darcie’s mum, Aimee, said after coming so close to glory, the team knuckled down, worked hard at training in the lead-up and got their reward.
“They thought they could give it a good go again, and they did,” she said.
“They were pretty stoked – you couldn’t get the grin off their faces.
“It was really good for them to experience Homebush too, it was just a big eye-opener.”
Mott, Carnell, Whitehead and Lyons were all fortunate enough to have the expertise of Griffith Little Athletics coach Richard Turner, who took the team under his wing.
Turner held training sessions up to three times a week in preparation for the carnival and did an “amazing job”, Aimee said.
“He’s worked through their baton changes, sprint training, the whole lot,” she said.
“I don’t know – the kids just get this buzz, I think, from running, and they just love it.
“Richard was working with a few other n From Back Page
teams last year and we asked if he could help us this year, and luckily he said yes.
“He’s done this all out of his own time, which has been great.”
In other public school results from the PSSA Athletics carnival, Griffith East had three relay teams qualify for the semi-finals. The school’s senior boys team placed 16th with a time of 55.79, the junior boys ran 13th in 59.71 and the junior girls finished 10th with a time of 1.00.76.
Hanwood’s junior boys team also did an outstanding job to qualify for the finals, where they finished fourth in the state, running in 57.21 seconds.
The Norm and Elizabeth Austin Relay for Small Schools saw Binya compete and finish ninth in the final, clocking up a time of 1.03.93.
Griffith East’s Jesse Paton was the standout individual performer, placing fifth in the final of the boys 12-13 years 200m and only just missing out on glory in the 12 years 100m, where he finished sixth – with only 0.50 seconds separating him from first place.
Paton ran two personal best times at the carnival – 12.74 in his 100m and 26.13 for the 200m. Meanwhile, Griffith
East’s Lakayla Simpson finished 11th in the semi-finals for the girls 13 years 100m with a time of 15.18, Hanwood’s Tom Bartter showed his strength to come eighth in the boys junior discus division, throwing 28.75m, and Yenda’s Isaac Piva placed ninth in the junior boys shot put with 9.30m.