WORRIGEE cross country runner Michaela Quinn has been selected to represent Australia at the Cross Country World Championships in Poland.
“It is the first time I have competed overseas so I am pretty excited and nervous,” she admitted.
The 18 year old expects a dramatic climate change from the Australian summer and will depart for London on March 16 to train and acclimatise to the cooler conditions.
“It is going to be freezing cold and it may even be snowing,” she said.
“But it is just going to be an awesome experience. I strive to make Australian teams in the future so to experience the top competition in the world is just phenomenal.”
Quinn trains six days a week in preparation for the world championships, but said there was nothing she could do just yet to prepare for the climate change.
“Just buying lots of thermals,” she laughed.
The former St John the Evangelist Catholic High School student qualified for the world championships after she competed at the World Cross Country Trials on January 20 at Stromlo Forest Park, Canberra.
The trials consisted of an open female and a junior under 20s six kilometre race, with athletes travelling from their respective states to trial for the Australian team.
“There were probably about 14 or 15 Australians in my race. Anyone can enter, but you would only go in it if you were serious about making the Australian team,” said Quinn.
It was a tough race, with a strong field of competitors, but Quinn ran a brilliant race to place second in the juniors in a time of 20 minutes and 35 seconds, 22 seconds behind first place.
“I had no idea I would come second. I knew I had been training well, but I just thought that I would go in it, do the best I can, and see how I go,” she said.
To send a junior team to the world cross country championships is at the discretion of the selection committee, which takes into account performances at the Australian Cross Country Championships and other meets, and the ability to be competitive at an international level.
A week after the trials, Athletics Australia announced the team that would compete in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on March 24.
Such was the standard of the junior girls trials, it decided to send all top four placed athletes to the world championships.
“We weren’t even sure they would select anyone to go to worlds, so when I got the call I was very pleased,” said Quinn.
Quinn was the only NSW junior female to make the team, with the other three from Victoria.
In 2012, Quinn gave up her track season to focus on training for the world trials. But it was still a difficult year balancing the pressures of her HSC with training commitments.
“It was really important for me to get an education as well,” said Quinn.
Her efforts paid off, now she is about to start a science and nutrition degree at the University of Wollongong.
Because of this, she has recently relocated to Albion Park and transferred from the Nowra Athletics Club to the Kembla Joggers.
“I don’t have a particular goal for worlds, just to run a similar time to my trial and do the best I can for Australia,” she said.
“But I couldn’t have done it without the support of my coach Ian Hatfield, the Nowra Athletics Club, the Kembla Joggers and my mum and dad.”