Ipswich athlete Jude Thomas has been the standout performer in recent months. Picture: Vic Pascoe
Ipswich athlete Jude Thomas has been the standout performer in recent months. Picture: Vic Pascoe

Ipswich athletic feats that continue to inspire

QUALITY coaching, courage and club spirit. Everyone at the Ipswich and District Athletic Club can be inspired heading into 2020.

Although the athletics season peaks in February and March with major championships, Ipswich club competitors have already reached terrific heights.

Ipswich was ranked sixth out of 29 leading clubs around the state approaching the Christmas break.

The club was extremely successful at the recent Queensland Relay Championships where the women’s team finished second and the smaller men’s unit came 12th.

Tireless club president and highly regarded coach Vic Pascoe credited the high standards to his supportive team.

“I believe we have improved a great deal this year due to the new coaches who have come on board, along with a new group of young athletes,’’ Pascoe said.

Among a plethora of successes, Pascoe rated his 2019 highlight watching City of Ipswich Junior Sportsperson of the Year Jude Thomas excel at the Oceania Track and Field Championships in June.

Thomas won a gold medal in the 3000m and collected a silver over 1500m.

While Thomas dominated at many events in recent months, Pascoe offered another satisfying performance. That was coaching Kirra Csurhes to a silver medal reward in the under-20m 100m hurdles at the same championships in Townsville.

Oceania silver medallist Kirra Csurhes.
Oceania silver medallist Kirra Csurhes.

When it comes to courage, few athletes could match what Madison Wells delivered at the Queensland All Schools Championships in Cairns.

Wells had to contend with a heart issue and a cut knee during a dramatic few days.

Although advised by her doctor not to run following her initial scare and hospital visit, she set a personal best in winning the 100m hurdles final.

She continues to train under the watchful eye of a cardiologist.

Courageous Ipswich and District Athletic club competitor Madison Wells with her mother Sharyn. Picture: Vic Pascoe
Courageous Ipswich and District Athletic club competitor Madison Wells with her mother Sharyn. Picture: Vic Pascoe

The club’s youngest athlete is currently Indiana Platen, an 11-year-old high jumper with a bright future. She contested the 10-12 years Queensland Primary School Championships in September.

Other club competitors continue to surprise.

Pascoe was delighted with Kiara Condon’s hurdling progress. She has improved by an amazing half a second over 90m coming back from injury.

Dahniella Pedroni has also impressed, winning the triple jump at the Queensland All Schools Championships in Cairns.

Pascoe said she wasn’t given a chance but with coach Ted Ruben with her, she rose to new heights.

Ruben, who works with long and triple jumpers, is one of the dedicated club coaches inspiring Ipswich regional athletes.

Other coaches include Theresa “Marty’’ Stolberg (high jump, sprints and hurdles), Mark Sills (jumps and sprints), Michael Moore (throws), Darin Coombs (throws), Connor O’Leary (distance running), Brad Robinson (distance running and steeplechase), Shaun Crowley (throws) and Pascoe (sprints and hurdles).

“Their commitment to their individual events are amazing, sometimes putting in more sessions than official training nights so the youngsters can improve,’’ Pascoe said.

Pascoe has led the way attending almost every championship in recent months where club athletes were involved. That includes the Australian Multi Events in Hobart, Australian titles in Sydney, Oceania Championships in Townsville, Queensland and Australian All Schools meets and a number of professional handicap races like the Stawell Gift and Noosa Gift.

Asked what was his favourite meeting was, he understandably found it difficult to pick one.

“But the Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney was fantastic to be able to see so many talented athletes and be able to find the time to attend some coaching seminars,’’ Pascoe said.

“On the professional scene, I would have to say the Stawell Gift where I had three athletes participate. They gained heaps of knowledge and experience.’’

Masters athletes at the club also showed their quality.

Michael Berlin, 50, ran 11.99s over 100m recently at an event in Brisbane. He won four gold and three silver medals at the Masters Oceania Championships in September.

Patrick McCarthey collected six gold and two silver medals at the Masters Oceania Championships, competing in the 35-39 years bracket.

Among major 2020 events looming are the Queensland Multi Event Championships in January.

The Queensland and Australian Track and Field Championships are in March.

Athletes to watch

DEDICATION is a buzz word around Bill Paterson Oval where the Ipswich club athletes regularly train.

Apart from high achievers like Jude Thomas, Pascoe rated 12-year-old Abbie Severinsen among the most committed. She turns up to every training session, recently achieving a personal best in high jump.

Other athletes to watch in 2020 include Laylani Va’ai, Toby Stolberg and Charlize Goody.

Va’ai, 17, is a promising heptathlete with exceptional shotput and discus throwing skills.

Stolberg, 13, is a high jumper considered a future heptathlon star like her mum and coach Theresa.

Goody, 13, has a national ranking as a much improved hurdler and javelin thrower.