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Geraldton athletes break 100-medal tally in outstanding Country Championships

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Athletics captains Riley Heinrich and Nevaeh Hill.
Camera IconAthletics captains Riley Heinrich and Nevaeh Hill. Credit: Supplied

Geraldton athletes took home an impressive haul from the Athletics WA Country Championships in Northam over the weekend.

The 2023 WA Country Championships attracted more than 350 of WA’s best track and field athletes, with 33 from Geraldton.

They brought home 101 medals — 30 gold, 43 silver and 28 bronze — starting with the first gold of the meet through Lochie Hadley (U-13) with an impressive discus throw of 26.58m.

One of the youngest athletes to compete, Blake Renwick (U-8), claimed gold in turbo javelin and 500m. He went on to win four more medals across the weekend.

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Newly-elected club captains Nevaeh Hill and Riley Heinrich were extremely proud of the Geraldton Athletics Centre and all the athletes who attended the three-day event.

“We both enjoy country champs as it’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends who we have made over the years,” they said.

They had impressive tournaments themselves: Hill won five gold medals and Heinrich took home three golds and two silvers.

Ella Batten, in her final year in Little Athletics, won six medals and went on to break the U-17 girls high jump record.

Taylah Dean impressed all spectators with a massive jump in U-16 girls triple jump, claiming gold.

The open division saw Sophie Batten claim victory for the second year in a row in 100m and Natasha Smith bringing home silver in javelin and bronze in discus.

As always, the 4x100m batten relay was a highlight as clubs went head-to-head and the senior girls — Macey Hadley, Dean, Batten and Hill — claimed victory this year with a convincing win.

Mid West Academy of Sport athletic coach Gary Clark was also impressed with the performances over the weekend in difficult conditions.

“Talking to the athletes and parents, it would appear the grass track at Northam was quite slow which didn’t allow for fast times or too many record opportunities,” he said.

“But we still had a number of athletes post personal best times, with Batten’s record high jump certainly a highlight.

“Hill’s 400 in 62.32s and Heinrich’s 2.12min over the 800m journey were both excellent results given the conditions.

“All athletes are now looking forwards to the State Championships in Perth (March 3-5) on the new track, which has been rated as one of the fastest in Australia.”

In a further boon for Geraldton athletics, Athletics West announced Geraldton will host the 2024 Country Championships.

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