THREE Shoalhaven Athletes have competed in and returned triumphant from the 2013 Australian Junior Athletics Championships held in Perth from March 12 to 17. Rosie May Davidson, Samantha Peace and Arron Spiessberger-Parker have collectively returned with two gold, one silver and one bronze medal.
Nowra Anglican College student Rosie May Davidson said her gold medal in the under 16 2000 metre steeplechase was the highlight of her athletics career so far.
The 14 year-old went up against nine other runners in the final held last Friday night.
Davidson established an early lead and managed to build that lead as the race progressed.
No other girl could get near here, with the commentator describing her performance as a “one woman show” and the “biggest lead of the championships in any single race”.
“I had no idea how far ahead I was. I thought the other girls were only 20 metres behind,” admitted Davidson.
Davidson won in a time of 7.24.06, 18 seconds in front of the second place getter.
“I was so excited because I had been working so hard and there was so much expectation on me, so I just sat down,” she laughed.
The Coolangatta local was given an extra boost before the race by managing to pose for a photo with Olympian Sally Pearson, a long-time hero of Davidson’s.
Nowra High School’s Samantha Peace is still recovering from taking national gold and silver in discus.
The 14 year-old Nowra Athletics Club member is so strong that she qualified to throw up to the 20 year age division, but is only permitted to throw up one age group.
“I also qualified in shot put but I didn’t compete because it wasn’t on until the end of the week. Looking at the winning distances, if I competed I would have placed, but it was a long time to wait for an event I hadn’t really trained for,” she said.
In the 17s division, competing against girls older than her, Peace threw 40.25 metres on her first throw, which was enough to win her the gold.
But this was still over two metres under her personal best.
“I was very sick last week and I was actually tossing up whether or not to go, so it was lucky that I still won,” she said.
In the 16s event she threw 39.06 metres, which was enough to get her silver.
“It is hard to be disappointed when you place at nationals, but I would have liked to be throwing at my best. But I was very happy, and to have my close friend Grace Robinson beat me was great. We have been competing against each other since we were seven,” she said.
Peace will now focus on training to qualify for the 2015 World Youth Athletics Championships in Columbia.
Fellow Nowra Athletics Club member Arron Spiessberger-Parker, 17, competed in two under 18 events, the 3000 metres, which was contested on the Wednesday, and the 1500 metres, held last Friday.
The 3000 metre race had about 20 competitors in the final.
Spiessberger-Parker and two other competitors established a lead and were neck and neck up until about 150 metres from the finish line.
He finished in eight minutes 44 seconds to take the bronze.
“I wasn’t too surprised with third, but I was pretty happy,” he said.
Unfortunately the Shoalhaven High School student was not feeling his competitive best for Friday’s 1500 metre race, but he still managed to finish seventh.
This was the third time the Shoalhaven High School student has competed at nationals, usually in 1500 and 800 metre events.
It was the first time he has competed at a national level in the 3000 metres and the first time he has brought back a medal.
The Shoalhaven’s Lacey Bruce also competed admirably in the under 20 hurdle event but was unable to gain