YOUNG runners from Bendigo and surrounds will be aiming to go the distance when they represent Victoria at the national cross country titles in Western Australia.
Five talented athletes from the region have been chosen to wear the Big V at the carnival, which combines the Athletics Australia and the School Sport Australia championships.
Rising stars Luke Padgham, from Catholic College Bendigo, and Ben Powell, from Creek Street Christian College, lead the charge for Athletics Victoria in the under-14 boys division.
The pair were members of Victoria’s little athletics under-13 state team that competed in a national teams championship this year after an outstanding track season.
They also finished first and second in their division of the 2014 Bendigo Bank Dragon Mile.
Echuca College student Archie Reid will line up alongside them in the under-14 race at the Australian cross country championships on August 23.
The meet is being held in Albany, about 400km south of Perth, which is also hosting the national secondary schools XC carnival.
Team Vic for that event includes Rochester Secondary College middle distance star Teleah Hayes, who will compete in the female 16-17 years category.
Hayes is a veteran of Victorian athletics teams, having regularly run for her state at Australian junior track and field titles as well as off-road nationals.
She is a six-time winner of the Dragon Mile in junior age groups and has had success in several central Victorian fun runs as well.
Joining her in the schools team is Girton Grammar student Liam Richardson, in the make 14-15 years AWD classification.
Richardson represented Victoria at last year’s national event in Tasmania and claimed silver in his division.
Athletes were selected for the teams based on their performance at the Victorian All Schools Cross Country Championships on June 21.
The schools carnival runs from August 21-26.