SILVER: Maddie Sherriff won a silver medal in the U18 discus.
SILVER: Maddie Sherriff won a silver medal in the U18 discus. Contributed

Gladstone girls star at Qld Athletics Championships

ATHLETICS: Sophie Duff and Maddie Sherriff turned it on at the Queensland Athletics Championships at QSAC Stadium in Brisbane last weekend.

Duff, 14, picked up gold in the under-15 triple jump and silver in the long jump, and also came sixth in the U15 100 metres.

Sherriff, 17, took home silver in the U18 discus and a credible fourth in the U20 discus and U18 shot put.

Both girls will now progress to the National Athletics Championships to be held in Sydney at the end of March.

Gladstone Little Athletics president John Sherriff said both girls competed very well against more highly- fancied athletes from south-east Queensland.

"They were pretty impressive performances from kids coming from regional centres,” he said.

"The south-east usually dominates but it was nice to see our kids proving they have the ability to compete at that level.

"They have to overcome a lot of obstacles, including low-standard training facilities and having to travel long distances to get top competition.

"The standard at the Queensland Championships is very high and the girls have done themselves a lot of credit in the performances they put in.”

Mr Sherriff said Duff came within one centimetre of a gold medal in the long jump.

GOLD: Sophie Duff picked up gold and silver medals.
GOLD: Sophie Duff picked up gold and silver medals. Contributed

"Sophie did really well, she's a star performer,” he said.

"(The result) is great because it backs up her first in the schools 14 year triple jump.

"She's excelling in the triple and long jump.”

Maddie, meanwhile, shone just as brightly despite only the one silver medal, claiming two personal bests in the shot put and U18 discus.

A heavily strapped right shoulder failed to deter the 17-year-old, who stepped up to a higher age division in the U20 discus, finishing fourth.

"It's an additional challenge for her and it's good for athletes to challenge themselves in that next age bracket,” Mr Sherriff added.

"(Stepping up an age bracket) gives athletes the ability to gauge where they're at regarding future performance.

"She has got a fairly sore shoulder at the moment and that was the reason she didn't throw as great in the under-20s.

"But to go away to a big tournament like a State or Nationals and perform better than you've done before is a good indication of mental strength.”

Mr Sherriff said Sophie and Maddie are proving to be great mentors for younger Gladstone athletes with their performances.

"The success these girls are having is an inspiration for younger members of the club,” he said.

"They're showing what young athletes can do if they apply themselves and get stuck into their training.”