Talented Warrnambool sprinter Grace Kelly is pushing the limits of what's possible after winning an open 100-metre state final at just 16.
Kelly picked up her fifth-straight gold medal in a state 100-metre final at the under 20 and open track and field championships at Lakeside Stadium on Saturday.
Instead of dominating in her age group - under 18s - Kelly chose to line up against competitors older and more experienced in the open category as a way to test herself ahead of a national championship bid.
"Leading up to nationals I wanted to be able to run with a bit of pressure and to be able to challenge myself to run faster times," she said. "I think it was a really good learning experience to be able to compete with athletes who have a lot of experience."
Kelly said it was exciting to come out on top and take home another state gold medal.
"Also being the open age group made it that little bit extra special," she said. "Knowing that I can compete with the best in Victoria in not only my age group but running up a few age groups."
Kelly, who trains with the DPS stable, ran a blistering 11.92 seconds in Saturday's final, making her the only runner to finish under 12 seconds.
Leading up to nationals I wanted to be able to run with a bit of pressure and to be able to challenge myself to run faster times.- Grace Kelly
The teenager has previously stated running sub-12 second times consistently over the 100 metres was her goal for the season.
The Emmanuel College student went on to finish fifth in the 200-metre open final on Sunday, with the winner eight years her senior.
It sets the Year 11 student up for a strong under 18 Australian Track and Field Championships campaign in Brisbane next month, with the larger goal of qualifying for the 2023 Youth Commonwealth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in August.
Kelly said she would use high velocity meets over the next month to prepare for nationals.
Meanwhile, fellow DPS sprinter Layla Watson claimed two silver medals at the state championships, with the Grassmere teen runner-up in the under 20 200m and 400m finals.
Meanwhile, Athletic South West's Jacob Rentsch finished just shy of a placing in the under 20 discus with a throw of 34.23 metres, in what is his first full season being coached in the sport.
The Australian Track and Field Championships will be held at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre in Brisbane, with the open and under 20s competing from March 30 to April 2 before the under 13 to 18s edition is held from April 13 to 16.
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