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Triathlon Teens Toby Powers and Gabby Jackson Crowned Junior Super Sprint Champions at Runaway Bay

Triathlon Teens Toby Powers and Gabby Jackson Crowned Junior Super Sprint Champions at Runaway Bay

Queensland teenagers Toby Powers and Gabby Jackson are the toast of Australian triathlon after being crowned the inaugural Junior Australian Super Sprint Champions on the Gold Coast yesterday.
Almost 200 of Australia’s finest junior, youth and rookie triathletes came together for the first time in two years at Runaway Bay for three days of intensive racing in individual and multi structured events.
Culminating into yesterday's Championship finals staged in brilliant sunshine after a testing few years where COVID-19 and severe weather has impacted on the lives of so many Australians.
And for 18-year-old Powers and 17-year-old Jackson it was a day to savor as they set themselves up for the Australian Junior Mixed Relay Championships and Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships in Werribee at the end of April – and Junior World Championship team selection.

Both the male and female Junior A final was hotly contested, with Toby Powers from QLD (22:10), Tommaso Puccini from WA (22:22) and Monty Dixon from NSW (22:27) completing the junior male podium and Gabby Jackson from QLD (24:53), Paige Cranage from SA (25:03) and Indie Arbuckle from WA (25:16) rounding out the junior female podium.
Powers hails from Hervey Bay, starting his career under renowned coach Brian Harrington, who also nurtured future Olympian Matt Hauser, before Powers linked with coach Drew Box.
While Jackson has emerged from the Brisbane-based Dan McTainsh Triathlon group – determined to get the little things right in the final.
Powers stole a march on the Junior final over the 300m pool swim, 8km bike and 1.6km track run course when he attacked into the head wind on the bike to set up his victory. 
“Once I caught up to them on the bike I felt pretty comfortable and I thought that I could attack the group and see if I could get away, which I did on the final lap,” said Powers who came into the sport training alongside Hauser with aspirations to follow in his footsteps. 
“I always had the plan to break away on the bike but I didn’t know when but had the confidence in my technical skills today during the first few laps.
“I thought I may as well attack into the head wind and try and make a break so the boys would have to do a lot of work to catch up.
“I have been working on these (bike) skills for some years now and I have been doing super sprints since I was 14 or 15..with a lot of cornering and practice on my bike to get used to it.”
“It gave me a good little lead moving into T2 which allowed me to run home and take the win.”
Jackson, the Brigidine College student from Sinnamon Park, used a technique she learnt from established Elite triathlete Kira Hedgeland to put her on track – counting her steps after exiting the pool and running to her bike.
“I count my steps to get to my bike, so I just focused on those 12 steps it took not run past it, a technique I learnt from Kira in a talk she did in Devonport,” said Jackson, determined to keep her cool and work on her transitions, ready to handle any situation that arose.
“I put my helmet on, mounted and managed to sprint away from all of the cluster early and after a five minute effort to get to the front, I tried to make sure I was on the first or second wheel for the rest of the race.
“I didn’t want any one to stay with me on the run; I just wanted to get away and hold the lead and so I put in a really big effort and gave it everything to try and keep it and I came down the finish straight and collapsed...but so happy with the win....and it has given me great confidence going into the Werribee race.’
Also vying for Australian Super Sprint Champion titles over the past three days of racing were the youth athletes in their first hit out of national racing for this season. Jack Woodberry from TAS (22:57) and Chloe Bowen from QLD (25:01) were all class in their performances to take out the Australian Championships in the youth category.

With Queenslanders Zahn Spies (23:14) and Jack Simmonds (23:36) placing second and third respectively on the youth male podium, and Riley Wingad (25:41) and Gwen Watson (25:46) also from QLD placing second and third respectively on the youth female podium.
And former elite triathlete, two-time Irish Olympian and now Triathlon Queensland’s Pathways Manager Aileen Reid left Runaway Bay yesterday knowing that the future of the sport is in exciting hands.

“Some of the youth athletes outside Queensland have never had the chance to compete against athletes from other States (because of border closures) so for them it was a big eye-opener and for the other guys it was great to have their friends back competing against the best in Australia,” said Reid.
“Back racing and focusing on the processes their coaches have been telling them about in one of those events on the triathlon calendar where they all come together with their mates for three days, competing against them, racing alongside them and recovering with them as well.
“Above all it’s to have fun with each other and continue in the sport for another 10 years.

It was great to also see a number of rookie athletes also participating in the racing over the past three days and getting a taste for the super sprint/multi day race format. There are certainly some athletes to watch as they step up into the Youth and Junior ranks in years to come.

Triathlon Australia would like to thank Major Events Gold Coast for their support of the 2022 Australian Super Sprint Championships.

Full Results:
Junior (16 - 19 Years)

1.    Toby Powers
2.    Tommaso Puccini
3.    Monty Dixon

1.    Gabriella Jackson
2.    Paige Cranage 
3.    Indie Arbuckle

Junior B (16 - 17 Years)
1.    Hayden Small
2.    Cooper Carswell
3.    Mitchell Blackbourn

1.    Gabriella Jackson
2.    Alexandra Field
3.    Chloe Denning

Youth (14 - 15 Years)
1.    Jack Woodberry
2.    Zahn Spies 
3.    Jack Simmonds

1.    Chloe Bowen
2.    Riley Wingad
3.    Gwen Watson

Rookies (12 - 13 Years)
1.    Lucas Soegaard
2.    Koby Read 
3.    Samuel Longhurst

1.    Addison Houslip
2.    Grace Graafsma
3.    Grace Campbell

See results of all events across the 3 days of racing here