The 2019/20 athletics season saw Lake City juniors continually reach new heights and they saved the best for last.
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Last weekend, the club took 57 athletes to the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Children's Championships in Tauranga, for ages 7-14, and returned with a total of 71 medals. That included 17 gold, 32 silver and 22 bronze medals.
Those medals were won by 37 Lake City children, who got to stand on at least one podium. Jack Marra, 12, Trelise Howard, 12, Tamarau Haimona, 11, Rome Beazley, 8, and Marcus Ryan, 7, were particularly dominant, entering four events each and claiming medals in all of them.
Lake City Athletic Club children's convenor Kelly Albrecht said she was blown away by how well the children performed.
"They went really, really, really well, they were just ridiculously awesome. So many made finals and in the first hour I was trying to tally up the medals as they came in but I just couldn't keep up.
"It's so impressive, they are so talented and we just come from Rotorua - we're not Auckland, we're not Wellington, we're not leaders in New Zealand athletics but here we are sending 57 kids away and coming home with 71 individual medals. It blows my mind about the potential we have in this city for this sport."
She said it did not matter how much work coaches and volunteers put into the sport if the children themselves did not have the drive and desire to compete and improve.
"It definitely shows there are a lot of determined, talented and committed kids at the moment. Natural talent doesn't just get you across the line, there has to be more than that, and it's shown that all the hard work these kids have put into training; the extras they've put in outside of club nights, going to different meets and ribbon days to get that confidence on the track.
"We had first0timers even go on Saturday and they medalled. Just to think 57 children wanted to step up at that level is so cool, so incredible."
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While there were many Lake City successes to enjoy, Albrecht said it was another moment that stood out as her favourite.
"One of the boys from another club broke a record and I watched kids from our club be over the moon for him, high fiving, big hugs going round. This is an 8-year-old age group where a child smashes a record and all the other kids are stoked for him.
"That's what this sport brings; you're competing as individuals but the friends you make are lifelong."
"It reminded me of that great sense of inclusiveness and friendship. My son managed to get on the podium with his two good throwing mates from other clubs and they just have an absolute ball together. That's what this sport brings; you're competing as individuals but the friends you make are life-long."
With the athletics season wrapped up, Albrecht said it was the best yet and the key to continuing the momentum was constantly seeking feedback.
"We can only go up from here, we're going to keep trumping ourselves. The first year I did this, it was awesome, this year has been spectacular and next year is going to be off the charts.
"Feedback is key. I absolutely love talking to all the parents, all the kids, I get them involved in feedback, criticism and take it on board. They only way to grow is to move forward and not dwell on things."