McCracken leads golden charge
RHEED McCracken led the charge with four gold as Bundaberg and District representatives amassed a staggering 28 medals at the Queensland Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships last week.
The 14-year-old Bundaberg State High School year 9 student mirrored his success at last year's titles.
He achieved national records in the Athletes With a Disability (AWD) boy's 14-15 years 400m and 14 years 200m and 100m, and a championship record in the 13-15 years 1500m, and was also victorious in the 800m.
It was a perfect build-up for him for the World Wheelchair Championships in Dubai later this month, where he will compete over nine days as a member of the Australian Pre-Paralympics Program Squad under coach and Paralympic legend Louise Sauvage.
McCracken will compete in the same five events in what will be his first competition overseas, and his mother Sam said it would be his chance to qualify for the London Paralympics.
"But for London, they will only be taking athletes in his classification for the 100m and 200m, so that's his main focus, and Rheed is calm and he has good chances because his times are good," Mrs McCracken said.
"For the last six weeks, he's been doing a program which has been sent to him from Canberra by Paralympic marathon wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley."
Bundaberg's other state AWD gold medallist was Tom Leach, of St Luke's Anglican School, who triumphed in the boy's 13 years 400m, also in a championship record time.
Leach lives at Agnes Water but travels to and from his home on the bus every day to attend St Luke's.
He said he liked distance running and had previously won two gold at the 2009 state cross country championships and went on to represent Queensland at the nationals, where he bagged one gold and one silver.
Angela Clissold, of Kepnock, also notched a championship record in taking silver in the AWD girl's 16 years 100m, and also snared silver in the 200m and bronze in discus.
Amber Mabb, of Monto State High School, also posted a championship record in claiming the silver medal in the girl's 14 years 100m.
Another Kepnock student, Alex Burrage picked up silver in the AWD boy's 15 years 200m and bronze in the 100m and 400m.
It was the first state carnival for the year 10 student who only started running a couple of months ago, but he is now preparing for the AWD nationals in Sydney on November 12 and 13.
Cody Stibbards, of Bundaberg State High, completed the local AWD medals list, grabbing silver in the men's 15 years long jump.