Young guns ready to fire at nationals
HERVEY Bay pocket rockets Todd Baldwin and Kayla Munson have every reason to be nervous.
Fast, fit and bursting with talent, the youngsters have only one sleep until the biggest day of their triathlon careers as they gear up for their first national championship.
Two of five Hervey Bay athletes - the other three being Matt Hauser, Tayte Dixon and Brandi Alberts - competing in the School Sport Australia national triathlon championships in Bendigo, Victoria, Baldwin and Munson, both 13, will line up in their individual junior (13-14 years) races tomorrow before they represent Queensland in the teams' event on Friday.
After six months of intense training, Hervey Bay and Queensland coach Brian Harrington said the pair would leave nothing to chance in their quest for a medal.
"It's probably the hardest competition they have done, but I think they will do quite well," he said.
"As long as they enjoy themselves and have fun I'll be happy."
Baldwin and Munson are in hot form after achieving podium finishes at the Queensland Schools State Triathlon Championships in February, with their first aim a top-10 finish.
But taking on the best in the nation, Harrington, who has attended seven national school triathlon championships, knows how fierce the competition will be between the athletes.
"You can't have any weaknesses anymore," Harrington said.
"I want all of our Wide Bay kids to be in the top-10 - that's the aim.
"But there is quite a fair bit of talent across Australia and it's getting better every year, so we will see how they go."
Queensland will be striving for a remarkable ninth-straight title, with Australian Youth Olympic Games squad member Matt Hauser the state's best chance of winning.
Hauser, who will contest the intermediate (15-16 years) class, will be aiming for a third straight gold medal in an individual event, while fellow Xavier Catholic College student, Tayte Dixon, is hoping to improve on his eighth at the 2011 national championship when he lines up in the senior (17-19 years) race.