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Meriden athletes stronger, more resilient than ever

Meriden's Junior Team poised to run the 100 metre event

In an uncertain year, Head Coach Nicole Boegman-Stewart’s 2020 IGSSA Athletics Squad has leaned heavily on the consistency and positivity of her training regime – and it’s paying off. Days after news of the cancellation of one of the year’s final and most important track and field events, the IGSSA Athletics Carnival, Meriden girls have instead participated in a virtual trial event where they went head-to-head with athletes from their own team, with record-breaking results.

The event held on Monday night saw Meriden athletes compete on the track in 100 metre, 400 metre and 1,500 metre events. On the field, the girls participated in shotput, discus, javelin and high jump. Standout performances were displayed by Ada Rand, who improved her personal best in the 400 metres by three seconds, clocking in at 56.69 seconds, and by Jasmine Higgs, who threw the shotput 13.27 metres, improving on her personal best by over a metre. Both Ada and Jasmine’s results bettered the current qualifying standards for the Australian Junior Championships.

Coach Nicole said she is incredibly proud of all the members of the Squad whose dedication to the team and to their training has seen them make consistent progress throughout a tumultuous year.

“The girls’ success is due to their commitment to showing up and putting in the hard work at regular training sessions and it’s also due to the unwavering support they receive from our team of Athletics coaches who are devoted to providing the girls with expert knowledge and genuinely want to see them succeed,” Coach Nicole said.

“I am so impressed at the commitment of our athletes who continue with their training regardless of the uncertainty of the competition events. The squad members are very supportive of each other and encourage each other to keep pursuing their goals.”

Coach Nicole’s athletes have demonstrated time and again that they can roll with the punches. In Term 2, when NSW schools moved to online learning mode, the Athletics Squad dug deep to maintain their fitness and positivity.

“Fortunately, at that time, students were still able to go individually to their local parks to continue with their fitness training,” Coach Nicole said.

“I provided three months’ worth of online training sessions for our athletes which they completed at their own pace whilst also undertaking live online training sessions twice per week. These live sessions were a great way for the Squad to stay connected and those who were able to continue to participate in these sessions found it easier to return to a regular training routine when school resumed.”

In Term 3, the girls in Meriden’s IGSSA Athletics Squad returned to face-to-face track and field training with gusto. Most are currently training on the track twice per week with additional gym sessions once or twice per week. Many also choose to take up lunchtime sessions with coaches to work on their technique for specialised events. It’s no wonder the team continues to perform at such a high level.

“The Sport staff are always focused on the best possible outcomes for students and we can only keep encouraging the girls to continue to build on the skills and strengths they have developed and to focus on future competitions. Regardless of when they are able to return to competitive athletics, their future looks bright,” Coach Nicole said.

Meriden wishes the IGSSA Athletics Squad the best as they prepare to compete in the second round of the virtual competition tonight, when 200 metre, 800 metre, long jump and throwing events will be held.

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