By Lawrence Machado
For rising Hills Young Stars, Isabella Fisher, Xavier Hennessey, Sarah-Anne Koot and Olivia Moresi, training at the Little Athletics Australia Team Camp under national coaches, should have been their most exciting time.
Unfortunately, the under-15 camp to have been hosted by Gold Coast this month, was cancelled due to COVID-19 risks. So now, these Cherrybrook LA stars are putting aside their disappointments, to prepare for other big opportunities this year.
“It would have been a unique opportunity for the up-and-coming dual Little Athletics and senior competitors to train with some of the nation’s top coaches,” a Cherrybrook LA club spokeswoman said.
The four young stars shone at the 2021 NSW All School Championships in December: Moresi won silver in the 14 girls high jump, Hennessey took silver in the 14 boys triple jump and Koot landed bronze in 14 girls 200m hurdles. Fisher ran a close fifth in the 14 girls 400m. Moresi and Hennessey were also picked for the NSW Merit team.
“It (the camp) is something we were all really looking forward to so it’s disappointing, but it was encouraging just getting to that level and hopefully there will be other opportunities this year,” Moresi, 14, said.
The Cheltenham Girls High student finds track events “intense” but says when she is high jumping, “I just have fun all the time!”. Moresi is keen on following in the footsteps of Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Nicola McDermott.
Gilroy College’s Hennessey, 14, said: “It was a great honour to have been chosen … I was a bit devastated the camp was cancelled. I was really looking forward to spending time with the other athletes and improving my triple jump technique. But I look forward to competing across the rest of this season.”
Fisher, 14, loves the 400m, and hopes to compete internationally at the highest level. Fisher, who moves from Mount St Benedict’s College to Barker College this year, said being chosen for the Australian Team Camp had been “unexpected” given the calibre of competition in her event, but “made me realise I was actually good enough”.
Koot, 14, who studies at The Cherrybrook Technology High, said hurdles “just feels right” to her, and has lofty ambitions like her team-mates.
Hennessey said he was “surprised” to be selected in the triple jump – an event he really started becoming competitive last season. Hennessey recently broke the cub record in his age group, and said he is “getting better each week”.
“It gets you nice and sweaty and off screens, and I like being able to hang out with friends between events,” he said.