SMILES OF SATISFACTION: National under-17 heptathlon champion Ashlee Stieler and her coach Bailey Pashley.
ASHLEE Stieler contested the Australian championships hoping for a top-five finish.
The Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitor returned from Melbourne with a national under-17 heptathlon title.
Ashlee, 15, amassed an impressive 4260 points from her seven events, helped by personal-best efforts in the 100m hurdles, shotput and javelin.
It was her first heptathlon at national level after coming ninth at the Queensland titles in January.
“I was very surprised,” Blackstone-based Ashlee said.
“I thought maybe a medal but not too much. I was training to go for a PB. I am thrilled.”
She said extra arm weights and strength work helped her.
Coach Bailey Pashley was delighted with her effort in challenging conditions at the National Combined Events titles.
“This did come as bit of a surprise but knowing Ashlee’s determination, she would have had her own mindset on the major prize,” Pashley said, having worked with her for three years.
“A medal placing was not out of the question but a top-five finish would have been a good result.
“What transpired with her events over the two days was quite amazing.”
Her competition was held in bleak and icy weather. However, Ashlee made a terrific start, comfortably beating her under-17 rivals in the 100m hurdles.
In her next event, the high jump, she cleared 1.58m to score top points again.
In heptathlon, placings do not count. Results are points based for each event, demanding a top performance to score well.
Pashley said throws are new for Ashlee. But in the shotput, she mustered all her strength, speed and skill to throw the weighted ball 10.39m ― another PB by 1.60m.
In the last event on day one, she was second fastest in the 200m, against competitors a year older.
Ashlee’s first event on day two, long jump, increased her lead.
Although javelin is her weakest event, she recorded another best performance by increasing her throw of the spear by 8m.
Despite two of her closest rivals narrowing the lead, Ashlee held top spot going into the final event ― the 800m.
While two athletes recorded faster times, Ashlee’s effort was good enough to maintain a comfortable winning margin of 80 points over second placegetter Tianah List, also from Queensland.
National under-17 heptathlon champion Ashlee Stieler’s training for combined events only began in mid-December.
After an average qualifying score at the state titles in January, she opted to forego the individual National Junior Championships in Sydney in mid-March to concentrate on the latest two-day competition in Melbourne.
“On the dais with the gold medal around her neck and beaming smile she knew she could not have made a better choice,” coach Bailey Pashley said.
Ipswich athlete Ashlee Stieler’s wonderful effort to win her first national gold medal in the under-17 heptathlon.
Total points: 4260. Events:
1st 100m hurdles (personal best 14.81).
1st high jump (1.58m).
2nd shot put (10.39m PB).
2nd 200m (27.38).
4th long jump (4.82m).
5th javelin (28.03m PB).
7th 800m (2.46.56).
What now: The year 11 St Peter Claver College student plans to do some long distance running through winter. “I’ll just take every opportunity that I can get,” she said.