DESPITE the cold weather and the early start, thousands of players, parents and touch football fans turned out for the first day of the Junior State Cup.
With 202 teams spread across five boys' and five girls' divisions, up to 22 fields usually dedicated to everything from soccer and hockey to rugby became a frenzy of activity.
Hervey Bay Touch Football president Jodie Houliston said among the excitement, it was sportsmanship that proved the highlight of the first day.
"We had some games where the score was something like 17 to none and everyone still came together at the end and shook each other's hands," Houliston said.
"And I think all of our Hervey Bay teams had at least one win, which is always a good thing."
Houliston said the quality of the teams at this year's event was impressive.
"Gold Coast U14 girls played at a very high standard and then Rockhampton U12 boys were at a high level as well," she said.
"By the look of their efforts on the first day, they seem like the teams to beat overall."
Meanwhile, U18s Hervey Bay girls coach Kayla Tudman said that although her team had a slow start to the day, they came out on top in the end.
"The girls played really hard all day," she said. "We lost our first two games - one to Caboolture and the other
to Redlands - but we managed to win our final game 4-2 against Gladstone.
"One of the highlights of the day was Megan Bauman running the length of the field to score a try."
However, Tudman said there would be no celebrating overnight.
"It's been an exhausting day," she said. "The girls are going to go home and rest because we have a big game on Saturday against BTMAT of Brisbane.
"If we can beat them, then we have a shot at the finals."
When she wasn't busy refereeing, parenting and overseeing the day in her role as president, Houliston said she was soaking up the atmosphere.
"There was great weather and it was an amazing sight to see up to 7000 people having a great time in one place," she said.
"It's great to see how much the event has grown over the years."
Today will see the young athletes battle it out in the second day of play with teams hoping to find a place in tomorrow's finals.
There will also be a sprint race today, in which 10 teams nominate four of their fastest players to compete for the title of the fastest sprinters.
"The sprint race is something we have done for the past couple of years and it always proves to be a highlight of the carnival," Houliston said.
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