RISING Ipswich teenager Carley Stieler defied the heat and a pressure-cooker jump-off to win her first national title in Townsville.
Carley, 13, collected the under-14 gold medal at the Australian Secondary Schools Championships after a personal-best leap of 1.68m.
However, the Ipswich and District Athletics Club high jumper had to survive three additional leaps to break the deadlock.
Carley and NSW competitor Mercedes Sovilj were tied with 1.65m jumps after regular competition last weekend.
That’s when Blackstone-based Carley achieved her personal best by 3cm.
The bar was raised to 1.68m and both girls missed their attempts.
The bar was lowered to 1.66m and both girls cleared that to continue the deadlock.
When the bar was raised again to 1.68m, Carley made it and Sovilj missed.
Year 8 St Peter Claver College student Carley became Australian champion.
“I was very nervous,” Carley said. “It was really, really hot. It was hard.”
However, using a spray bottle to keep cool, Carley leapt to her first Australian title.
She has competed at national level since she was 11.
“I’m more confident with what I can jump now,” she said, having received terrific encouragement from her coach Bailey Pashley.
“I believe in myself.”
Carley’s older sister Ashlee also produced a gritty effort in Townsville. She finished ninth in the under-16 90m hurdles, just missing the final.
Ashlee was hindered by a hamstring injury.
Ipswich club competitor Emily Beston finished a pleasing fifth in the under-16 2000m steeplechase, returning from a back injury.
She took seven minutes, 31.06 seconds to complete the event.
Newly-crowned Australian schools champion Carley’s next major event is the club junior nationals in March.