WARRNAMBOOL district runners Layla Watson and Grace Kelly trod almost identical paths through the School Sport Australia track and field championships this week.
Competing in the 11- and 10-year-old age groups respectively, Layla and Grace both won silver medals in their 4x100m relays – where both ran the first leg – and finished fourth in their heats and 12th overall for their individual 100m events.
Grace, who was making her first appearance at the national championships, which were held at Sydney’s Olympic Park, set a personal best time of 14.36 seconds.
“I was very proud of myself,” the St Pius X Primary School student said.
“It was really big and exciting. It was fun.”
She also competed in the long jump, where she finished 16th with a 3.5m leap.
Woodford Primary School student Layla was making her second appearance at the national championships.
She equalled her personal best time of 13.90 seconds, which she set in Warrnambool two weeks ago.
On her home track, however, she had a tailwind, while her efforts in Sydney came when confronted by a headwind.
“I was excited – it was better than the first time, ” she said of her return to the national stage.
Layla’s commitment to learning how to start off the blocks in the past month paid off, with a strong start to the relay setting up her team.
She and Grace had received some extra coaching from former gift-runner Rob Duynhoven, who helped them work on their starts.