When you’re only 11 and have been training diligently to contest your favourite event at a state sporting carnival, throwing the discus into the net three times in a row and finishing last can be difficult to come to terms with.
That’s exactly what happened to Quarry Hill youngster Bree Heiden back in March, when her goal of challenging for a medal at the Victorian little athletics track and field titles in Bendigo didn’t quite turn out the way she had hoped.
But instead of dwelling on the disappointment, Bree decided to work even harder on her throwing technique and set her sights on the state primary school championships some seven months away.
She even quit the dancing classes she’d been doing since she was a toddler to focus on her athletics.
And last month, in what could only be described as a fairytale ending, she sent the discus soaring out of the cage at Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park and landed herself atop the winner’s podium.
The grade five student from St Joseph’s Primary School launched a leading throw of 27.39m, which was a personal best in competition.
It earned her a place in the Victorian primary school athletics team that will travel to Adelaide at the end of November for the national championships.
Mum Michelle Morgan said the broad smile on her daughter’s face when the results in the 11 years girls’ discus were officially confirmed said it all – this more than made up for the earlier experience.
“It was quite surreal, actually – for her to set her sights on a goal and all of a sudden it comes true,” she said.
“When that third throw at little athletics also went into the net, she was absolutely devastated.
“It would have taken her a good week to regroup and regather her thoughts. We eventually sat down and worked out where we could go from there, and the schools state titles were it.”
Michelle said Bree had always been very determined when it came to her sport.
“I think she gets it from having two older brothers and always trying to beat them!”
Bree has been involved in little athletics in Bendigo since she was five and is also a member of the South Bendigo club for senior competition.
As well as the discus, she also enjoys javelin, shot put, long and triple jump, and racewalking.
Her family has a strong con- nection to the sport – dad Wolf is a veteran long-distance runner, brother Dane represented Victoria as a racewalker at the 2008 Pacific School Games, and mum Michelle is a familiar face volunteering in the canteen at the La Trobe University Bendigo Athletics Track in Flora Hill.
Away from the track, Bree can also be found at the Golden City netball courts in West Bendigo, where she plays through the winter for her school and in the summer twilight competition for Brumbies.
She flies to Adelaide with the state team on November 22 for the five-day School Sport Australia national championships. The trip is expected to cost at least $2000.
Michelle said it was a lot of money to find just before Christmas, so she was seeking sponsors in the local community to offset the expenses.
Anyone willing to help out can contact Bree’s family by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org