The summer of Little Athletics finished with a bang after a successful season-ending event at Mount Gambier High School last Friday night.
Kids of all ages packed the school’s oval for one final time competing in various track and field events.
Mount Gambier Little Athletics vice president Adrian Lynch said it was a great way to end a better than expected season.
“We managed to have a full season of 16 events except for that one week when the state closed down,” he said.
“We are very happy because before the season started we were quite worried with how it would go and what issues might come, but it was pretty seamless.”
The biggest bonus of the summer was the growth of participation.
Lynch said the organisation enjoyed the highest amount of athletes for around five years.
“We actually exceeded our target with 178 registered athletes, so there was a lot of interest particularly in the younger groups who had fun, made new friends and learnt more skills,” he said.
“We had pretty good numbers from Tiny Tots right through to Under 17’s.
“I think people just wanted to get out and do stuff and with athletics being a non-contact sport, it is easy to compete in without having to worry too much about COVID despite all the protocols
“We have had lots of smiles and normally numbers drop off after Christmas, but we consistently had around 100 each week.”
The season will finish with a presentations night at Mount Gambier High School on Sunday, April 11 before attention turns to three Cross Country events over the winter.
But the athletics action is far from slowing down with many South East stars turning heads,
This weekend 19 athletes are off to Adelaide for the State Individual Championships and they hope to continue representing the region with pride.
Last weekend Emily Lynch competed at the state level for the first time and strolled all the way to the top step at the Copyworld Toshiba South Australian Track and Field Championships.
The youngster achieved gold by completing the 3km walk event in a time of 17:01.84.
Lynch’s success means she will travel to Sydney later this year to compete in the National Championships.
Lynch said she was “extremely excited about the opportunity” after training hard with coaches Sally Taylor and Bob Cruise.
Young Limestone Coast Regional Sporting Academy star Leila Croker also stole the show at the recent SA State Track and Field Championships.
Finally competing without any plaster and overcoming a wrist injury, Croker was unstoppable achieving five gold medals from her six events.
She was victorious in the Under 16 200m hurdles, high jump, javelin, 90m hurdles and the Under 18 long jump.
Croker also finished fifth in the Under 18’s 200m race.
Senior South East athlete Shylah Fosdike also impressed and took home the state silver medal in the Open Girls 400m race.