BEST FOOT FORWARD: Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors (from left) Jude Thomas, Reece Griffin, Alex Davies and Montanna McAvoy warm up during filming for a TV show.
BEST FOOT FORWARD: Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors (from left) Jude Thomas, Reece Griffin, Alex Davies and Montanna McAvoy warm up during filming for a TV show. Vic Pascoe

Why Ipswich club's season has been Totally Wild

FEW regional athletics clubs in Queensland can boast having four international competitors enjoying success in one season.

However, that's exactly been the case at the Ipswich and District Athletic Club.

Montanna McAvoy, Rochelle Vidler, Benjamin Thomas and Alexander Gough have led the club's many promising performers during the 2018/19 season so far.

McAvoy contested the 3000m steeplechase at the World Junior U20 Track and Field Championships in Finland where she became the fourth fastest Australian U20 athlete (9.59.57) over the distance.

The former Ipswich Girls' Grammar School student enjoyed her 18th birthday on the way back from the Games.

Vidler won her under-18 hammer throw event at the Melanesian Games in Vanuatu before representing Australia at the World Youth Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She was in contention for a medal before being troubled by a back injury.

Thomas also competed at the Melanesian Games, winning a bronze medal in the U18 200m. He also represented the Aussie senior men's team in the 4x100m relay and shared in the gold medal success.

Gough won a bronze medal in the U18 2000m steeplechase at the Melanesian Games.

Reflecting on the 2018/19 athletics season so far, club stalwart Vic Pascoe had plenty to like.

He said having the Totally Wild film crew from Channel 10 do a story on Ipswich club middle distance runners Mc-Avoy, Jude Thomas, Alex Davies and Reece Griffin - complete with action scripts - was an exciting event other than competition.

"This was the third time that Totally Wild did a story of our club, the first being sprinters and then the throwers,'' Pascoe said.

Another highlight in recent months was the 37th Winter Carnival featuring Ipswich's 120m Lightning Gift and 120m Ladies Gift.

"This was an outstanding day for not only our club athletes but lots of South East Queensland athletes competing,'' Pascoe said.

Ipswich club athletes impressed at a number of major events this year.

Pascoe said the team spirit shown at the Queensland Relay Championships was amazing, especially for the athletes competing in older age events and still winning medals.

The IDAC, with 78 members including volunteers, is currently running third on the Interclub Shield series which continues until March.

While Montanna McAvoy, Rochelle Vidler, Ben Thomas and Alexander Gough led the international charge, Vic Pascoe was impressed with the next generation of athletes coming through.

The experienced coach is tipping international cross country prospect Jude Thomas to continue his incredible journey after state and national title successes in recent months. Thomas has been gaining extra benefit from training with Ipswich's NANCI crew.

Pascoe rates 16 years competitor Laylani Va'ai a future heptathlete at national level.

Dahniella Pedroni, a 16 years long jumper and triple jumper, has also been improving at most competitions.

Twelve years higher jumper Clare Bellingham has the potential to represent Queensland next year, according to the knowledgeable Pascoe.

Pascoe said Camryn Novinetz has the attributes of a great walker as she shaved almost 11 seconds off her 3000m race in pouring rain at the recent Australian All Schools Championships.

Ever keen to promote his sport, Pascoe regularly attends all the major competitions around Queensland, often heading interstate and overseas. He continues to gain a buzz seeing Ipswich club athletes improve and enjoy their sport.

"It's the enthusiasm of the athletes to learn and to be the best they can be, the smiles on their faces when they do something special, for example a new PB,'' he said.

Pascoe said some of his favourite athletic moments in 2018 were watching McAvoy dominate.

"She ran them off their legs when she won in convincing style as there was more than a 17 second buffer to the second placegetter in the U/20 5000m,'' he said.

"In the U/20 3000m steeplechase, again it was more than 16 seconds to the second placegetter. Each lap ever increasing her lead in both races at the Australian athletic championships in March in Sydney.

"It was marvellous to watch World Junior qualification times.''

Pascoe said Novinetz's performance in the heavy rain at the Australian All Schools Championships was another highlight.

"To win so convincingly was truly amazing as the battle for the first two positions over the last few laps was awesome,'' he said.

Pascoe has been coaching since March, 1980.

While he's often the face of Ipswich athletics, Pascoe is always eager to praise the other dedicated club coaches.

Theresa Stolberg has been coaching since 2005.

Michael Moore has been assisting the club for more than 14 years.

Brad Robinson has coached middle distance since 1989.

Ted Ruben has mentored horizontal jumps athletes for more than 10 years.

Darin Coombs and Tori Langton have joined this year, coaching throws.

In masters competition, Pascoe has also seen some outstanding efforts this year.

He said Michael Berlin, Darrin Norwood, Patrick McCarthey, Matthew Learoyd, Darin Coombs and Theresa Stolberg all produced great performances at the Pan Pacific Masters competition on the Gold Coast and at the World Masters Championships in Perth, along with competition in New Zealand.


Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors enjoy their annual Christmas break-up at Bill Paterson Oval.
TERRIFIC YEAR: Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors enjoy their annual Christmas break-up at Bill Paterson Oval. Vic Pascoe

Back at local level, Pascoe enjoyed another achievement in recent months.

"Having seven monthly sport stars and one encouragement monthly award at the Brothers Kindred Club was an inspiration to fellow club members to be the best they possibly can,'' Pascoe said.

Ipswich's four club athletes who competed internationally were acknowledged by Queensland Athletics with a fantastic trophy.

In a year Australia hosted another Commonwealth Games, Pascoe was confident that lifted the spirits of club athletes.

The athletics supremo also got to enjoy the Gold Coast experience.

"As part of the Games I was a volunteer where my job was 'A Flash Quote Reporter','' he said. "It proved to be an exciting time for me as I would interview athletes as they came off the track, then the quotes were then entered onto a computer where journalists from anywhere in the world had access.''

Looking to 2019, Pascoe hoped to see an increase in membership that would lead a further encouragement for the Queensland Athletics Championships in Brisbane and Australian Athletics Championships to be staged in March-April.

It's also the club's 40th anniversary, providing more for those involved to celebrate, as they often did in 2018.

"A fun atmosphere was had by all and the team culture at training and competition has really shone along with athletes sharing equipment,'' Pascoe said.

"That was even shoes and clothing when someone has forgotten to pack properly.''

Future events

January 12-13: Qld Combined Event Championships at QSAC.

February 9: Qld 3000m Championships at QSAC.

March 7-10: Qld Athletics Championships (U14 to Open) at QSAC.

March 15-17: Australian Junior Combined Event Championships (U15-U18) in Tasmania.

March 23: Qld Track Classic at QSAC.

March 30-April 7: Australian U14 to Open Athletics Championships in Sydney.

May 4: Qld Short Course Cross Country Championships at Rivermount College, Yatala.

Shield Interclub meets each weekend until Australian Championships.