A hot cross country runner

A TOP 10 placing at the Hunter Region event has earned Taree High School’s Imogen Nelson a berth in the NSW All Schools Cross Country Championship to be held at Eastern Creek on Friday July 21.

Imogen will contest the 13s division.

This is the second successive year Imogen has made it through to the State meet. She is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week earning a $50 open order at Iguana.

Last year Imogen finished 30th out of 70 in her division. She believes she can improve on this performance on July 21.

“I’ve been training a bit more this year, so I’m hoping to go a bit better,’’ she said.

The cross country is over a 3km course. However, the journey at Cessnock was relatively flat. Eastern Creek will be a more difficult proposition as it’s undulating. This should suit Imogen, who prefers a more challenging track.

Imogen trains for cross country twice a week, running a 4km course, where her fastest time is around 17 minutes. She’s not sure how quick she’ll have to go to finish on the major place places and possibly qualify for the national event.

“I’ll just try my best, but there will be a lot of fast runners there,’’ she added.

Imogen enjoys running. She’s also qualified for the 800 metres at the regional athletics championships to be held at Glendale, also in July.

She ran a personal best of 2.57 at the zone championship. Imogen isn’t in an athletics club and has never had a formal coaching session.

“I just like to run and train by myself,’’ she explained.

However, Imogen enjoys team sports just as much as the more solitary past-time of running.

She started playing hockey this year with Sharks in the Manning junior competition, Proving she’s a quick learner, Imogen has been selected in the Manning under 14 team to contest the State championship in Tamworth later this month. She has no preferred playing position.

“I go wherever my coach tells me to,’’ she said.

Previously she played netball but said she found it ‘boring.’

“My friends were playing hockey so I decided to try it and it’s really good,’’ Imogen explained.

However, touch football is her preferred activity. Imogen has been a regular member of Taree teams contesting the State Junior Cup in recent years, playing as a middle or a link, while she has also represented Northern Eagles at regional level. Imogen plays in the Taree junior competition while her team was runner up in the senior mixed B-grade competition last season. A lack of experience possibly cost her side in the grand final.

“The other team was a lot older – they had players in the 30s,’’ she said.

Versatile athlete Imogen Nelson from Taree High has qualified for the NSW All Schools Cross Country Championship for the second successive year. The State event will be run at Eastern Creek next month.

Versatile athlete Imogen Nelson from Taree High has qualified for the NSW All Schools Cross Country Championship for the second successive year. The State event will be run at Eastern Creek next month.