FINLAND-BOUND: Dual Ipswich and District Athletic Club gold medal winner Montanna McAvoy with parents Alicia and Mark at the Australian Junior Track and Field Championships.
FINLAND-BOUND: Dual Ipswich and District Athletic Club gold medal winner Montanna McAvoy with parents Alicia and Mark at the Australian Junior Track and Field Championships. Vic Pascoe

Why Montanna relaxed about representing Australia

EXCEPTIONAL running talent Montanna McAvoy will be more relaxed when she represents Australia a second time in Finland later this year.

However, the Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitor and former Ipswich Girls' Grammar School student is heading overseas with one disappointment.

Due to the scheduling of events at the world under-20 championships, McAvoy will only be able to compete in the 3km steeplechase.

That is despite her setting world junior qualifying standards in the steeplechase and 5km event at the recent Australian Junior Track and Field Championships in Sydney.

McAvoy, 17, won gold and set personal bests in both events, leading an outstanding performance from Ipswich club athletes.

Competitors representing the Ipswich club combined to win five gold, four silver and three bronze medals, along with 13 personal bests.

McAvoy's inspirational running effort also came as another former Ipswich Girls' Grammar student and a current IGGS athlete also impressed.

Jarmillia Murphy-Knight, a 2017 graduate along with McAvoy, is also heading to Finland after qualifying in the 400m hurdles.

Current year 9 student Hilal Durmaz became the national under 15 champion after breaking the Australian record.

McAvoy was delighted with their achievements, along with her Ipswich club teammates in Sydney. "That was really good for a small club,'' she said.

McAvoy was thrilled with her double gold, qualifying for the world under 20 championships from July 10-15.

"It came together at the right time,'' she said.

However, after producing her best to qualify for the world under 20 titles in both events, she discovered a clash of events on July 10.

"The steeple, we do heats and a final,'' she said.

"The heats of the steeplechase are on the same day as the 5km straight final.''

She's going to focus on the steeplechase in Finland after her brilliant 10 minute, 10.23 second effort in Sydney.

She's heading overseas having represented Australia at last year's Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas.

On that occasion she came fifth in the 3km event, gaining valuable experience for her latest trip to Finland.

"When I do it again, it won't be as nerve-wracking,'' she said, currently studying a double in Business and Media and Communications at QUT.

"I learnt a lot about the whole travel and everything like that.

"It should be another positive experience.''

Before heading to Finland, McAvoy will join the Australian team in Townsville in June.

The team flies to Frankfurt on June 20 for competition leading up to the world under 20 championships.

Ipswich and District Athletic Club coach Vic Pascoe was delighted how the latest regional contingent performed.

"It was a fabulous result from a group of athletes with an excellent attitude along with supporting parents and coaches,'' Pascoe said.

"I'm so proud to watch their excellent performances.

"It was a great five days of competition where more than 2000 athletes competed.''

Pascoe said McAvoy's effort was particularly impressive.

"Montanna just ran them off their legs as she won in convincing style as there was more than a 17 second buffer to the second placegetter in the U/20 5000m,'' Pascoe said.

"In the U/20 years 3000m steeplechase again it was more than 16 seconds to the second placegetter, each lap an ever increasing her lead in both races.''

McAvoy's proud parents Alicia and Mark waved two Finland flags presented to Montanna after she won her 5km and 3km steeplechase events.

Other top-class efforts came from Ipswich club athletes including Rochelle Vidler, Erin Wright, Jessica Rowe, Alexander Gough and Benjamin Thomas.

Vidler was a standout in the under 18 hammer, with the second placegetter more than 11m behind her.

Vidler's throw was a personal best 62.79m and also a Youth Olympic qualification standard.

Wright won the under 15 200m hurdles final in a personal best time of 28.81s. She also collected a bronze in the under 15 90m hurdles, with another PB.

Pascoe said Rowe was "over the moon'' as she won a gold, silver and bronze in her throwing events at her first national titles.

"To get two PB's and a medal in three events was simply outstanding,'' Pascoe said of her efforts in the under 14 hammer (first), discus (second) and shot put (third).

"She's an absolute gem in the making,'' Pascoe said.

Gough won the silver medal in the under 18 2000m steeplechase.

"It was a real gutsy effort after being pushed back to fourth position with a lap to go but he came home with a wet sail, exciting finish,” Pascoe said.

Thomas exceeded coach Pascoe's expectations in winning a silver in the under 18 200m and making the final of the under 18 100m.

"Benjamin did something unthinkable. He ran a PB in heats and finals of both races,'' Pascoe said.

Full results review in Friday's QT.



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