WARRNAMBOOL is celebrating its second consecutive home-grown women's gift winner after teenager Layla Watson etched her name in the history books on Saturday.
Watson, 16, joins good friend and sprint sensation Grace Kelly, 15, on the honour roll.
Back-marker Kelly, who was aiming for back-to-back triumphs, joined Watson on the podium after finishing third.
Watson completed the 120-metre Victorian Athletic League race in 13.363 seconds off a 9.5-metre mark, edging out runner-up Clare De Salis (7.50m) and Kelly (4.00m).
The Warrnambool College student, whose preferred distance is 400 metres, said it was humbling to win the gift at her first attempt.
"It means a lot, just having friends and family here to watch and support me," Watson told The Standard.
"I thought I might have had it but all the other girls ran really well so I wasn't too sure.
"I was happy either way; I was just really happy with how I ran.
"I've been working on getting more aggressive with my sprinting because I run fours as well and sometimes find it hard to transfer the arm actions.
"I am just working on being more explosive."
Watson and Kelly embraced each other at the end of the race at Friendly Societies' Park with the friends eager to celebrate each other's success.
"She really pushes me to get the best out of me and vice versa," she said.
"It's just really good to be racing against people you know."
Watson and Kelly are part of the Duynhoven Perry Sprinting stable based in Warrnambool.
Watson, who ran second in the women's 300m, said the team atmopshere provided inspiration and encouragement.
"It is a really supportive environment and we always have a lot of fun," she said.
"You think footy and netball are team sports but you can't do it (running) by yourself, it's no fun, so it's good to have a team supporting you."
Impressive teenager Jack Boulton, who travelled 6.5 hours from Wangaratta, embraced his back-marker status in the men's gift.
Boulton, 17, ran off 4.50m and came home in 12.053 seconds.
Michael Moschou (6.00m) was second in 12.105 and Jesse Cordoma (7.50m) third in 12.234 seconds.
"I love it. I am always in the red or the white (bibs), I love just chasing people," he told The Standard.
"It's just enjoyable because I hate getting chased."
The men's gift win was special for Boulton, who has big plans for his 2022 season.
He will juggle year 12 studies with a jam-packed athletics program.
"My focus is more on the amateurs this year," Boulton said.
"I want to run as many world under-20 qualifiers as possible before nationals.
"The world under 20s are in Colombia which I am looking forward to if I can get some qualifiers, that is the main goal for the season."
He qualified for the world titles in the 400m last year but didn't get to compete due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In other races, Warrnambool teenager Hudson Downes won the under 18 mixed gift and Jacob Taylor the 120m masters.
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