Ever wanted to get a glimpse of what a national athletics event looks like from INSIDE the track? Meet Rachel Fisk - one of Athletics Australia's most respected (and coolest) Officials - who will take you behind-the-scenes this summer, and reveal all the action you may not see from the grandstands (or the results pages). Our amazing officials see all the action LIVE as it happens - no retakes - so enjoy Rachel's candid observations as she embarks on her role as the official #AAInsider...
Day 1 – Friday 8th December, Adelaide All Schools
For the first day of All Schools I was placed on the scoreboard at Long Jump. This is one of the positions in officiating where you get to see everything - the event itself, the athletes, coaches, officials and spectators. We were right in front of the grandstand which made it even better.
The first event I was on was the U18 girls Long Jump. It was a fantastic competition between Annie McGuire (QLD), Camryn Newton-Smith (QLD) and Sara Dougan (NSW), with a few other athletes not far off the mark as well. For Annie’s third jump, the spectators and announcers were on the edge of their seats! She hadn’t jumped over 6 metres yet, but when she jumped everyone could tell it was big. The distance was called, but not many people heard it. Everyone was waiting to see what I put on the scoreboard, as I turned it around the crowd erupted and the announcer called the distance. Annie was ecstatic, it was her first time over 6 metres and you could really tell.
The next event provided just as much action, with two of the U18 Long Jump boys jumping over 7 metres. With his first jump of the competition, Justyn Rogers (QLD) jumped a 40cm personal best, his first time over 7 metres, to jump 7.32 metres. Zane Branco (QLD) answered with 7.39 metres, eventually winning the event with 7.57metres, a World U20 Championships qualifier!
Rachel with Justyn Rogers (QLD), who jumped a 40cm personal best to jump 7.32 metres in the Boys U18 Long Jump
The Under 14 boys Long Jump had the entire top 8 jumping between mid to high 5 metres leading to an interesting competition right to the finish. The day finished with Michelle James of Athletics Australia providing the entertainment behind the scenes. Michelle drove over a cone and needed 10 officials to pull it free. I hear there is some incriminating evidence floating around, although she has tried to tell me that it wasn’t 10 people, until there’s proof, I still choose to believe she needed a large amount of assistance to free her car.
Day 2 – Saturday 9th December, Adelaide All Schools
Today I moved over to the vertical jumps. The first event of the day today was the Under 18 girls High Jump. I was on the uprights and had lots of work to do! We started at 1.45 metres and went right up to 1.76 metres. Luckily, myself and my other bar judge were perfect every time and didn’t have to adjust anything. The winner of the event was the smallest of the competitors, Mercedes Sovilj (NSW), she came in to the event certainly not expecting to win the gold and was over the moon when she did!
Rachel with the U18 Girls High Jump competitors
Next, I had the U16 boys High Jump. It was an exciting event with the winner Kobi Sharp (NSW) jumping 1.95 metres and narrowly missing 2 metres (crazy!) After this event concluded I had a small break and was able to watch the U16 Girls Triple Jump. Local girl Emilaya Ellis (SA) put out at 12.09 metres in her second round for a new personal best. She then bettered this in the third round with a 12.20 metres for another personal best. It was very clear that she was having a fantastic competition - her jumping was smooth and technically sound. She went into the last round in the clear lead, the only jumper over 12 metres, but the second-place getter jumped 12.02 metres. As it was being called out, Emilaya said her heart was racing when they got to the zero, as she had forgotten she had jumped the 12.20m. When it was called, she knew she had won the gold and jumped her last before celebrating with her coach and family.
Rachel with U16 Girls Triple Jump Champion, Emilaya Ellis (SA)
My last event of the day was the U16 girls High Jump. I was on athlete control for this event and therefore up in the call room where the officials were processing the athletes. While I was there they were trying to tell me it’s the most important place of the competition, which in some ways is true (it is always a big day with lots of athletes to process!) But when you have to wait for your athletes and they come out late, maybe they aren’t as good as they say they are??? Once I got my athletes to their event, it was a great competition with the winner Charlotte O’Brien (NSW) jumping 1.74 metres and a count back for second and third at 1.72 metres with Bridget Carter (QLD) and Jade Walas (SA). A close one indeed!
Day 3 – Sunday 10th December, Adelaide All Schools
For the last day of All Schools I moved over to the throws. It was an action-packed day to finish off nationals. My first shot put of the day saw Leia Varley (VIC) take home the gold medal with 15.27 metres. In the same event Lyvante Su’emai (QLD, bronze medalist) smashed through her competition, with a powerful enough throw to break the 14 metres indicator box. Some of the girls were trying to entertain me (as their athlete control person) with some karaoke while they waited for their results. I wouldn’t suggest they try out for X Factor any time soon.
While our event was on, the under 14 boys High Jump was well and truly underway. With the break between events I was able to watch some of this entertaining event. Sebastian Pollifrone (SA) and Jay Sahlqvist (QLD) were going head-to-head, jump-for-jump from 1.63 metres all the way to 1.79 metres. Sebastian took the win at 1.81 metres and continued on to jump 1.83 metres, an 8cm personal best with some crowd support clapping him in, narrowly missing the South Australian State record at 1.86 metres!!
The next shot put had the Under 18 boys trying to get the officials black pants as dirty and possible with their white chalk flying all over the track. Alex Kolesnikoff (NSW) had an impressive competition with two throws over 20 metre to win the gold.
Rachel in Officiating action during the Boys U18 Shot Put event
I got my daily exercise in at the Under 16 girls Javelin on the spike, walking over 3,000 steps in just one competition! The final event of the day I was on, was the Under 18 girls Shot Put. Possibly one of the best competitions of the day, with Stephanie Scigala (NSW) sitting in second place before the final round. With three competitors over 14 metre and none over 15 metres, Stephanie stepped into the circle and unleashed a 15.49m to win the event!