World-ranked Joseph heads team
WITH aims to challenge strongly for another GPS title later this year, Ipswich Grammar School has made an impressive start.
A group of their top competitors recently shared in a medal haul at the Queensland championships.
Among them was year 12 student Joseph Deng, who was ranked the fastest under 20 800m schoolboy runner in the world until an American recently bettered his personal best time of 1.48.9.
However, IGS Director of sport Nigel Greive knows how much ability Deng has, after he qualified for this year's Junior World championships in Poland, during the June/July holidays.
"He's going outstandingly,'' Greive said.
"He hit the athletics scene this year with his 400s and his 800s, particularly his 800s.
"The (world juniors) qualifying for their age is really tough so they have to be outstanding to get to that level.
"Joseph's aim this year is to train really hard for that, finish well for GPS in his final year here at IGS and then progress either in the college system in the US next year or train locally and aim for the open men's titles and things like that.''
Deng recently won a state championship gold in the under-20 800m and U20 400m, setting new school records in the process.
His 1.52.8 800m run was in windy conditions. Deng's 400m gold medal success was with a 47.83 effort, just 0.3 off qualifying for the world juniors.
Ipswich Grammar's previous athlete to qualify for the world junior event was 400m runner Josh Webb in 2003.
However, it's not only Deng impressing in the traditionally strong IGS athletics team.
Other medal winners with national standard pedigree include Frank Kuresa, Damon Gale, Nick Meek, Jack Partridge, Josh Carrick and Elliot Housden.
Kuresa won a gold and two silvers at the recent state titles. He won the under-18 400m, finishing second in the U18 100m and 110m hurdles.
Gale collected a silver in the U18 400m.
Meek's bronze came in the under-15 400m, with Partridge winning the same colour medal in the U14 1500m.
Carrick won a silver in the under-14 200m and a bronze in his 100m event.
Housden won silver medals in the under-16 and under-19 hammer competitions.
With Nudgee dominating the GPS championships the past couple of years, IGS is keen to retain its long held mantle as leading athletics school. IGS finished third in a tight competition last year.
"This year, some of those junior ranks are looking quite strong and the senior boys are certainly very strong,'' he said.
The next GPS championships are on November 2, with the strong IGS team contesting a number of state and national events in the lead-up to the annual battle.
Recent IGS teams, coached by Di Sheppard, have also competed strongly at major events like the International School Sport world athletics championships in China (last year) and Poland (2011).