By Mr Peter Kropp (Track and Field Director)

Nudgee College’s Intermediate Team (16 years old and under) represented Queensland at the 2016 Australian Schools Track and Field Knockout Finals in Canberra on Monday 5 December. In keeping with the Track and Field team's season where things didn’t always go to plan, our touring group arrived at Brisbane airport to be told that the flight to Canberra had been cancelled due to engineering issues. This, in addition to cancelled flights due to the previous evening’s storms, saw the tour party members given three different routes out of Brisbane before finally arriving in Canberra, via Melbourne, at 8.00pm. After finding a late Sunday night dinner in Canberra, we arrived at our accommodation. It was a day of travel with a duration that could easily have seen us arrive in South Africa, Argentina or China!

The next morning was a scramble due to requiring breakfast from shops opening only two hours before competition, which was due to start at 9.00am. Despite these challenges the boys were marvellous in the way they ‘rolled with the punches’ and managed their preparation to compete. Ryan Shepherd was first up with long jump, closely followed by 100m hurdles (which he had to run between his second and third long jump rounds). Ryan opened with a big first jump, which was unfortunately over a foot short of the take-off board. He was also unfortunate in being one of two of our athletes who were ill during the competition, with Will Harris following suit later in the day. Despite this, both boys produced quality performances with Ryan placing fourth in long jump and fifth in hurdles. Will ran 2:01.84 (within a second of his personal best), to place eighth out of 22 athletes running in the two heats of the 800m. To indicate the closeness of the competition, if he ran 1.1 second faster he would have placed fourth. Fellow 15 year old Ollie Diggles ran a near two second personal best (2:02.66) in the second heat, for 10th overall.

Similarly, all our boys performed season or personal bests throughout the meet. Not long after his arduous earlier efforts, Ryan had to run in the 100m with Isaiah Naawi. Ryan finished 14th of the 22 runners in this; however when he felt better in the afternoon he ran the first leg of the Swedish relay. Isaiah ran a sizzling 11.14 seconds, missing fourth by .01, third by .05 and second by only 0.15 of a second. Better still was Isaiah’s 200m later in the day where he ran 22.36 seconds (winning his heat) to finish third behind winner Yadin Ngeng of Westfield Sports High. Ngeng actually ran faster in this Knockout Final than when he took the silver medal in the under 18 200m event at the Australian Schools Championships the previous day.

Running sensationally in the 200m for us with Isaiah was Mitch Wood. Mitch ran an incredible personal best of 22.87 seconds - his first time ever under 23 seconds. Mitch also did a great job in shot put, placing sixth in a high quality field where the winner threw 20.72m. In throws we also had Jacob Wallace, who had thrown the javelin superbly when representing Queensland the day prior, finishing fourth.

Connor Corlett was our final individual competitor in high jump. Connor was a revelation with regards his composure and confidence in competition. He cleared up to 1.85m, with a massive clearance on 1.80m. Consequently Connor finished with a terrific third place.

The final event was the Swedish relay, where our team of Ryan Shepherd, Isaiah, Mitch, and Will Harris were sensational. The boys finished second behind eventual competition winners Trinity Grammar School.

Every second year the winner of this division of the Australian Schools Knockout Final represents Australia at the World Final. We didn't win and thus are not heading to France next year, but the boys took the silver medal behind Trinity Grammar School and ahead of Westfield Sports High School. The fact that we didn't actually win an event, but were able to finish second overall is testimony to our team’s depth amongst a very high calibre of competition (plus, the team felt like they had travelled more than half way to France over the weekend anyway!).

The boys were outstanding ambassadors for the College and competed with excellent courage and sportsmanship. I would like to thank Mr Nick Toohey and Mr Paul Schaumberg, who were tremendous in dealing with both the boys and the logistics of the tour, as well as Mrs Maureen Toohey, who did an incredible job in preparing for the trip.


Men - Intermediate - Team Rankings

1) Trinity Grammar School 223 

2) Nudgee College 205

3) Westfields Sports 191

4) Barker College 188

5) Marist 183.50

6) Wesley College 175.50

7) Haileybury 169

8) Melbourne Grammar School 169

9) St Virgil's College 144.50

10) Mulwaree High School 138.50

11) Radford College 92