Seymour Little Athletics Centre’s Orla McCarthy is still buzzing after competing in the 12-year-old girls discus throw (750g) at the Pacific School Games held in Adelaide earlier this month.
The Trawool local and Kilmore International School student won her way to the games with a gold medal at the state championships in October, and while her biggest throw at the nationals was 35.24m — 2.66m shorter than her personal best — she said she just loved being a part of such a big occasion.
‘‘I came fifth overall, out of 16 girls, so I was extremely happy,’’ she said.
The Victorian squad was a tightly-knit unit, Orla said, meaning she got to know most people there.
‘‘I made so many new friends, people who I had only previously seen at training,’’ Orla said.
‘‘My favourite thing was the opening ceremony — it was on a big oval, and everyone walked out, making such a good atmosphere. I saw Mum filming, and my Dad which was really exciting, because I didn’t know he would be there.’’
But when the competition began in earnest, Orla said the nerves eventually kicked in a little bit.
‘‘My friend competed on Monday, winning the shot put ... so it wasn’t pressure, but I felt like I had to do really well, because it would have made her really happy if we were both successful,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m tall for my age, but the girl who came second was probably about a foot taller than me — she came third in the shot put as well. The girl who came fourth was only 20cm ahead of me, so it was really close.’’
This result means Orla is now officially in the top five in the country for discus in her age group. And while Orla she had a lot of fun at the Pacific School Games, she said she still has a strong competitive streak, both in discus and beyond.
‘‘When it comes to things I’m passionate about, then I’m really competitive ... for instance if I don’t do well at school in a maths test, I don’t mind so much, but if we’re doing a warm-up run, then I like to run in front of everyone and not let the others through,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s strange but I’m just like that.’’