Penola club scores state-wide award

Penola club scores state-wide award

The Penola and Districts Little Athletics Club is the toast of the state’s track and field community after a special announcement last week.

The small club which introduces kids from the Penola area to athletics in a fun and engaging way was named as the Country Centre of the Year for the 2021/22 season.

With a total of 24 towns across regional South Australia in the running, it was a thrill for the Penola club to be announced as the winners of the award which celebrates positive growth of registered athletes and focus on representation events.

Penola and Districts Little Athletics Club secretary Lizzie Grosvenor said the recognition arrived as a result of many people’s hard work.

“It was such a massive team effort across lots of fronts,” she said.

“Tony McCarthy was the president for a number of years and president Nick Baverstock and myself have only been on for the last couple of years so a lot of it goes to the previous committee members.

Dee O’Brien, Alli James-Martin, Pat Sharam, Liz Rymill, Cheryl Le-Brun and Trish Wooding were also important members of the committee.

“Kylie Gartner has been great at getting some grants in place to get new equipment and Dee O’Brien is a past committee member who has contributed a lot.

“The award is about growth of numbers as well as repetitive members who keep coming back year on year.

“So for especially us as a small club it is great we have such a good community turnout with lots of support from people.

“A few years ago we came second so it was a bit of a shock, but it is just good to get some press out for our club.”

Last season the club had 68 registered members and Grosvenor said many community helpers outside of the club itself also do their bit to ensure each athlete has a ball.

“Penola Primary School make it all possible,” she said.

“They allow us to have a shed there and Matt is an amazing groundsman keeping everything in place.

“The bakery here in Penola donate food for our big barbecue and we buy all of our supplies from IGA so these businesses within town help keep things affordable.

“We try to keep the cost down as low as possible because it is not all about making money, it is just about giving opportunities to kids in a country town.”

Although the club is thrilled to receive such an award recognising hard work, Grosvenor said little athletics was all about having fun and being active.

“All the kids have fun because it is all about personal bests and not about coming first,” she said.

“Each week we print out their personal best times so it all about effort and seeing their little faces glow when they improve is amazing.”

The 2022/23 Penola and Districts Little Athletics Club season begins on Friday, October 21 and will run for 10 weeks with each session beginning at 4pm, while the award-winning club will also host the South East Country Championships at a to be confirmed date.

Registrations for the new season are open and can be completed at the club’s ResultsHQ website.

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