We are pleased to recognise our 2017/18 Season Award Winners, who were named at our recent 90th Anniversary Gala. Congratulations to all award winners.
Male Track Athlete of the Year – Luke Major
As a member of our club for over 10 years, Luke Major has definitely been around the track more than just a few times. He started out his career as a talented sprinter, but due to persistent hamstring injury he had to turn to greater distances in order to continue on in the sport. I remember one of these injuries occurred at Uni Games in Sydney, at the end of Luke’s 100m Final. But Luke still had the 200m Final the next day. He competed anyway, walking the entirety of the race, just to get the points for our team, that is just the kind of athlete Luke is, completely selfless. For years he was competitive over the one lap event, but as a member of Lyn Foreman’s squad he unsurprisingly sparked an interest in the long hurdles. In his first season as a 400m hurdler, Luke certainly left his mark out on the track. After simply hoping to make it through the rounds and into the final, Luke not only cruised through his heat, but also ended up coming 5th at his first open nationals in a personal best time of 52.24. Not only that but he then backed up his performance that same afternoon in the men’s 4x400m team, which brought home the bronze medal for WA. In what was an absolute breakthrough season, Luke very deservedly takes home the title of ‘Male Track Athlete of the Year’.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Luke for his incredible enthusiasm and dedication to his role of co-club-captain this year, and we wish him all the best as he and his partner embark on the next chapter over in Melbourne later this year. You will be missed.
Female Track Athlete of the Year – Ella Pardy
After finishing 6th in the Women’s 100m and 5th in the Women’s 200m in the T38 category at the World Para Athletics Championships in London, Ella returned to training with the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games set in her sights. Despite challenges in changing coaches, she rose up to claim bronze at the Australian Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games selection trials to secure her spot on the team.
At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games she again rose to the occasion producing a season’s best performance for 4th place, just missing the podium by a few hundredths of a second.
Tim Lyons Male Field Athlete of the Year – Declan Carruthers
Declan moved from South Australia over to Perth in mid 2016 to join WA’s World Class group of pole vaulters, under the guidance of coach Alex Parnov. Before deciding to move over to Perth, our track had already treated him well, where in 2016 he cleared a PB of 5.40m for 3rd at his last junior nationals, only narrowly missing out on selection for the World Junior team that year.
Since then he has flourished in training and this season he soared to new heights over in New Zealand, where at the Potts Classic he placed 2nd in a new personal best of 5.55m. He continued on his season in great form as he lead into the Australian Open Nationals and Commonwealth Games Trials, where he
ended up placing 2nd with a jump of 5.45m. This landed him with a well earned spot on the Australian Commonwealth Games team and also makes him the recipient of the club’s ‘Male Field Athlete of the Year’ award. Unfortunately Declan was unable to compete at the Commonwealth Games after sustaining a
hamstring injury, but he remained in the athlete village to support the rest of the team, including two of his training partners. We would like to wish Declan a speedy recovery and we are sure that there will be many more opportunities and successes to come from his pole-vaulting career.
The Male Field Athlete of the year award was this year re-named the Tim Lyons Male Field Athlete of the Year Award. As a past president of both UWA Little Athletics and the UWA seniors, Tim’s contributions to our club as well as the wider athletics community in WA are countless. He was instrumental in the amalgamation of the senior and junior clubs in 2009 and in doing provided junior athletes with a clear pathway in which to pursue the sport after their Little Athletics career ended, as well as create a new member base for the senior club to ensure its continued growth. A current AWA board member, Tim is passionate about everything athletics, particularly the field events and still competes himself. He is our most senior and experienced UWA Athlete in the throwing disciplines and continues to contribute to the club through volunteering and the coaching of junior throws athletes. He is a role model for all athletes within the UWA Athletics club and is a fine example of how our sport is one to be pursued across your lifetime.
Female Field Athlete of the Year – Nina Kennedy
By the time she was just 18, Nina had represented Australia at the 2013 World Youth Championships, competed in consecutive World U20 Championships in 2014 and 2016, broken the World Junior record before being selected her first senior team for the 2015 IAAF World Championships.
Now just 21 years of age, she’s secured her status as world class, overcoming challenges of the 2016 to take out the National title, and vault herself to a 4th place finish at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships before claiming a bronze medal in a thrilling competition at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Gary Aitken Male Distance Athlete of the Year – Isaac Birir
Isaac joined the UWA Athletics Club in the 2017/18 season for the first time. He joined club coach, Tony Chamberlain’s squad, and proved to be an excellent training partner for many of Tony’s young high achieving athletes, looking to progress to the next level in the sport. He demolished the John Gilmour state 10,000m championships in a time of 30 minutes and 32 seconds. He also won the WA Marathon Club State road 10km championships in a time of 31 minutes and 16 seconds. Through his marathon training at McGillivray, we would see Isaac smashing out fast 1km reps with Ben Chamberlain and Jesse Hunt, and then continue to do more and more reps, at the same pace, the man never slows down. Isaac took out the half marathon at Perth’s biggest distance event, the City to Surf, in a time of 1 hour 6 minutes and 49 seconds. All of his hard work and training paid off, as in October 2017 Isaac went on to win arguably Australia’s most prestigious Marathon, the Melbourne Marathon, in a time of 2 hours 14 minutes and 8 seconds.
Mr Gary Aitken first joined the UWA Athletics Club committee in 1960, competing in local and IV and was awarded a full blue (middle distance) in 1962. He initiated the first yearbook in 1966/67 and meticulously kept records seen in those publications through till the 1984/85 season. Gary was the social organiser and considered to be the backbone of the club winter program for over 2 decades. A marathon runner himself, he coached and organised club teams in Perth, for the Pinjarra relay as well as at state level. He designed and implemented cross country and winter programs and was consulted regarding programing for state track and field competitions many times. Above all this, Gary never failed to promote athletics for university students. The Gary Aitken Cross Country award was this year expanded to cater to the broad range of distance races throughout the year.Gary Aitken Male Distance Athlete of the Year is awarded to an athlete who has achieved highly in races 3000m and above.
Female Distance Athlete of the Year – Siena McQuillan
In 2017, Siena took out gold in the U18 4km State Long Course Cross Country Championships and came second in the HBF Run for a Reason 4km course. She was 3rd at the Australian All Schools in the U18 3000m and 7th in the U18 4km at the Australia Cross Country Championships. The 2018 season has seen her collect two medals at the WA State Championships – silver in the U18 3000m and gold in the U20 5000m in two oustanding performances.
Lyn Foreman U18 Female Athlete of the Year – Sophie White
Sophie has had a stunning 2017-18 season, starting with record breaking form at the All-School Championships in South Australia December 2017. She won the U18 100mH in a Championship Record of 13.34 even though she was still an U16. Her season goal was to qualify for the Olympic Youth Championships (Buenos Ares, Argentina) later this year. She had managed to do this almost every time she ran.
She broke the state U20, U18 and U16 record in the 200m with a time of 23.91 breaking Joyce Bennett’s 55yr old U20 record in the process.
Her outstanding season culminated at the March Junior Nationals in Sydney equalling Sally Pearson’s 17 year old U18 100m Hurdles record with a time on 13.14. This was impressive considering she was again competing out of her U17 age group. This was a necessary requirement to be considered for Olympic Youth Team selection.
She didn’t leave it there with another stunning performance this time in the 100m winning in 11.61.
Her current National ranking in the 100m is No.1 U18, No.2 U20 and No.3 Open which is remarkable for a 16yrs old. She is a clear No.1 in the U18 100mH.
Lyn Foreman joined UWA Athletics as a coach in the 90s. A former athlete herself, was a triple national champion in the 400m hurdles and represented Australia at Commonwealth Games and world titles, which she describes as achieved through “persistence and patience” – two attributes she instills in her athletes today. Renowned for her ability to develop juniors into world-class athletes, her disciples have included UWAAC life member, Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist Kylie Wheeler, Commonwealth Games gold medallists John Steffenson and Chris Troode, former National Champions Jody Henry and Ben Offereins and more recently Sophie White, an exciting up and coming junior star.
U18 Male Athlete of the Year – Thomas Throssell
This promising young star is one to watch out for! Always bringing his absolute best to the track, Thomas’s domestic season was highlighted by an U18 record in the 400m hurdles earlier this year.
In a thrilling nationals campaign, Thomas won gold in the U18 Men’s 400m Hurdles, one step closer to selection for the Olympic Youth Team and silver in the U18 Men’s 4 x 200m relay. He was selected for the 2018 Melanesian Regional Athletics Championships for the 400mH and hopes to gain selection for the 2018 Australian Youth Olympics later this year.
Captains’ Awards – Katherine Sparrow and Jackson Hamilton
Presented by Club Captains Luke Major and Alanah Yukich
Katherine’s athletic achievements and accolades are widespread, demonstrating prowess across a range of track disciplines. Notable achievements this season include personal bests in every track event up to 400m, including the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles. She was a semi-finalist in the 400m hurdles and collected two medals in the 4×100 and 4x400m relay at this year’s National Championships and Commonwealth Games Trials. Just last weekend, Katherine walked away with second place in the 70m and third place in the 400m at the Bunbury-Geographe Gift. Athletic achievements aside, and despite being of a young age, Katherine has been a committed member of the club for many years. As member of the club committee, they played a significant role in organising the 90th Anniversary Gala and represents the club with pride within the local community, at the state level and across Australia.
A graduate from UWA Little Athletics to the senior club, Jackson has made his mark. An incredible competitor and Australian record holder in the Under 16 Para Long Jump, Javelin, Shot Put and Discus, in the F12 category, alongside the Under 18 Para F12 Javelin Record. He’s broken Australian para records 23 times in Under 16s and 5 times in Under 18s to date – not bad for a 14 year old.
At the Australian Junior Championships in March, Jackson won triple gold in the U16 Para Discus Throw, Shot Put and Javelin, and has secured his spot in the Athletics Australia’s Para High Performance Squad and WA’s Target Talent Program.
He is a great sport, well respected amongst his competitors and friends, with a bright future ahead.