Ipswich Girls' Grammar School and Ipswich athletics club runner Montanna McAvoy.
Ipswich Girls' Grammar School and Ipswich athletics club runner Montanna McAvoy. Inga Williams

Why this teenager is thriving in Ipswich

COMMONWEALTH Youth Games prospect Montanna McAvoy is thriving in her Ipswich environment.

Having accepted an Ipswich Girls' Grammar School academic and sporting all-rounder scholarship last year, the former north Queenslander is making great strides in middle distance athletics.

She's impressing at school and club level.

The multi-talented year 12 student is also playing for Western Pride in the National Premier Leagues competition, proving again that Ipswich is a terrific base to further your sport.

"It just gives me the opportunities that I can get to do races and everything,'' she said. "It's really good.''

While the skilful defender is keen to play her second season with Western Pride in coming months, it's in athletics where McAvoy is excelling.

The Ipswich and District Athletics Club representative recently won a silver medal in the under-18 3km event at the Queensland championships at St Lucia Sports Centre.

She eclipsed 18 seconds off her previous best time to complete the journey in nine minutes, 23.54 seconds. Her time was a qualifier for the Commonwealth Youth Championships being staged in the Bahamas in July.

McAvoy, who turns 17 in July, backed up that fine effort at an interclub meet at St Lucia. The Innisfail-bred athlete set another PB of 6.35.34 in the 2000m steeplechase two nights later.

Her 3km success gives McAvoy an opportunity to represent Australia if she produces another solid performance at next month's national titles in Sydney.

"I kind of knew I was up there,'' McAvoy said. "I just had to go out and do it I guess.

"It was one (event) that I had down to do and try and get the time.''

She hopes to make the Commonwealth Youth Games team being named in April.

"The selection trials are basically in March at nationals,'' she said.

She's focusing on the under-18 3km and 2km steeplechase for the Australian titles.

Before the nationals, the IGGS achiever is contesting the under-18 1500m and 2km steeplechase events at this weekend's Queensland track and field championships.

McAvoy is also doing pre-season work for competitive school cross country events coming up later in the year.

Last year, she came third in her Queensland 16 years 4km event, beaten by world class runners from Brisbane State High and St Margaret's Anglican Girls School in tough muddy conditions.

She went on to finish second at the under-18 national cross country titles in Canberra.

That started the biggest fortnight of her sporting career when she had to juggle her athletics and football over consecutive weeks.

Showing her versatility and dedication, McAvoy raced in Canberra then flew to Perth, where she represented the Queensland Schoolgirls under-19 side that finished fourth at the national titles.

But far from having a break afterwards, she returned to Ipswich overnight to win the open 5km event at the annual Bridge to Brisbane run.

"It was a massive effort. I can't believe she did,'' proud mum Alicia said. "But that's her. She always gives 110 per cent.''

Montanna appreciated the support she receives at IGGS and the Ipswich athletics club.

She often does extra training during her lunch breaks at school.

Busy McAvoy also travels regularly to Brisbane to train.

"It's exciting times ahead,'' mum Alicia said.

"It's been the best move ever coming down here because up there she wasn't really under a coach, and she's moved down here and got the running coach and just gone from strength to strength.''

STATE TITLES LINE-UP

The Ipswich and District Athletics Club will be represented by a talented team at the Queensland track and field championships starting on Thursday.

Joining Montanna McAvoy in the 35-strong contingent are Leah Marie Clark, Kiara Condon, Erin Wright, Ryleigh Sherlock, Camyrn Novinetz, Breeanna Betzold, Tara Chaplin, Hayley Wright, Clare Sullivan, Rochelle Vidler, Phoebe De Glas, Kyra Domrow, Miriam Peni, Kelly McNamara, Claire Keefer, Larissa Chambers, Ryan Paterson, Kyan Paterson, Joshua Carrick, Calab Law, Joshua Peni, Zane Paterson, Kerryn Ryan, Alex Davies, Ryan Stewart, Jude Thomas, Zac Caterson, Sony Vukelic, Rhys Carr, Reece Griffin, Benjamin Thomas, Nicholas Grant, Jack Warner and Darrin Norwood (full list of events in sport notes).

They'll contest 64 events. Many of the athletes have also qualified to compete at the Australian championship in Sydney from March 26-April 2.



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