Sport

Focused school team to tackle best in China

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Ipswich Grammar School’s outstanding athletics team, with coach Diane Sheppard and manager Alex McArdle.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Ipswich Grammar School’s outstanding athletics team, with coach Diane Sheppard and manager Alex McArdle. CONTRIBUTED

IPSWICH Grammar School's record of excellence in athletics is highlighted by 19 GPS titles, including 13 in the past 16 years.

However, it's not only at GPS level that IGS is excelling.

Ipswich Grammar athletes have proven their world class ability by combining to win their second national Intermediate Knockouts Track and Field title in four years.

The IGS team of Jake Anderson, Tommy Jarrard, Brenton Sefo, Matthew Berlin, Kiermarli Blair, Joseph Deng and Frank Kuresa will represent Ipswich and Australia at next year's world titles in China.

Coach Diane Sheppard will oversee the team a second time, having guided the 2010 combination that finished fifth overall at the 2010 World All Schools championships in Poland.

"We have been a powerhouse in athletics for three decades essentially,'' IGS head of sport Nigel Greive said.

"This continues the tradition. It's certainly part of the fibre and culture of the school.''

IGS defeated 13 other schools in Adelaide to win the national title and earn the right to compete at the World All Schools event in Wuhan, China, in June.

"I suppose the impressive thing about this group of boys has been a combination of natural talent but two to three years of hard work,'' Greive said.

"Di Sheppard has done an amazing job and they have committed for such a long period of time.

"For mine, teenagers working that hard for that period of time with a goal in mind is just fantastic to achieve it.''

Under the knockouts track and field format, schools can send up to nine athletes aged 14-16 to compete on one day.

Athletes are only allowed to contest a maximum of three events, plus the team relay.

The events are 100m, 200m, 100m hurdles, 800m, long jump, high jump, shotput and javelin.

IGS won by more than 40 points, displaying their consistency and team work.

Among the exceptional individual efforts were 16-year-old Deng's brilliant 800m victory (1:53.11) that has him ranked number one in the country.

State Secondary Schools champion Kuresa, 15, came second in the 100m hurdles (13.36s) and third in the 200m (22.68s).

Sefo, 16, placed second in the shotput with a 15.16m throw.

Berlin, 16, came second in the high jump (1.85m).

Anderson's best result was third in the javelin (48.21m).

The IGS team of Blair, Kuresa, Berlin and Deng won the Swiss Medley Relay over 1000m, made up of 100m, 300m, 200m and 400m events.

A series of top 10 placings across other events sealed victory for the IGS team.

After Ipswich Grammar's experience representing Australia in Poland four years ago, Sheppard expects her latest combination to impress again in China.

Elite performers

A dedicated team of Ipswich Grammar School athletes will represent Australia at next year's World All Schools Championships in China. They are Jake Anderson, Tommy Jarrard, Brenton Sefo, Matthew Berlin, Kiermarli Blair, Joseph Deng and Frank Kuresa.

The IGS team won this week's national title in Adelaide with 299 points, from Barker College, NSW (256.50), Frankston High, Victoria (247.50) and St Edmund's College, Ipswich (245).

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