WELL DONE: Rapidly rising Ipswich club athlete Josh Stockill receives encouragement from coach Bailey Pashley after winning the state title this year.
TRAVELLING 55 minutes each way, four times a week is proof enough Josh Stockill is a dedicated athlete.
However, the Adare-based athlete’s many hours in transit have been rewarded with selection in the Australian under-18 team for next month’s Oceania championships in Tahiti.
Stockill, 16, will represent his country for the first time in 400m hurdles at the titles from June 1-3.
While thrilled with the opportunity, the Faith Lutheran College year 12 student has worked hard for his success after changing disciplines.
Stockill started as a high jumper with respected Ipswich and District Athletic Club coach Bailey Pashley.
A 10 minute session with Pashley provided a dramatic change in direction.
“Because I’m a fit guy, I did a bit of 400s, 800s, what not,” he said.
“One day I just had a competition and he (Pashley) said why not give 400m hurdles a go for fun?”
Stockill hasn’t looked back.
Since joining the Ipswich and District Athletic Club in 2011, he’s competed in two national titles.
He is the current Queensland under-18 champion.
“At states, I was the first person 20 years or younger to break into the 55 seconds,” he said.
Stockill’s current personal best is 55.77s.
He came fourth in under-17 competition at last year’s nationals in Sydney.
Despite behind hampered by a hamstring injury, he finished fifth in under-18 ranks at the recent Australian Junior titles in Perth.
Stockill said travelling so often from Adare to Pashley’s training centre and QEII for tartan track work were part and parcel of becoming a better athlete.
He has a bus trip to Rosewood to link with a train to Walloon. He then travels home after training using the same public transport.
The teenager trains at QEII whenever possible.
“I’m coping not too bad,” he said. “I’ve just got to mix it around with my senior studies.
“I’ve always enjoyed athletics.”
Tahiti offers the next step in his promising sporting career.
“Hopefully it will be a good experience to represent Australia and just to see where it can go from there,” Stockill said.
Stockill said Pashley had been a major influence.
“He’s been very helpful. I wouldn’t have done this without him,” Stockill said.
“He’s a great coach.”
Pashley is thrilled with Stockill’s approach and achievement as he prepares for his Oceania adventure.
“He only began 400m hurdles 17 months ago without any previous hurdling experience,” Pashley said.
“Nearly every run he’s improved his PB.”