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NASS Emerging Squad – a pathway to greatness

Sunday, 23 December 2018 | Rob Cumbrae-Stewart



A host of 2018 World U20 Championship finalists have been named on the New Emerging Squad for 2018-2019.

This New Squad is a pilot program that will focus on the post-secondary school athlete and their personal coaches, providing support in these transitional years as the athletes target selection in senior benchmark teams. 

The aim of this program is to bridge the gap from the World U20 Championships to World University Games, with the 2019 World University Games Team to have similar support as the current World U20 Team. This will include greater competition opportunities in Australia and overseas.

The program will furthermore look to support these athletes as they progress towards future Olympic & Paralympic Games, as well as senior World Championship selection.

A total of 37 athletes have been selected, including 3 para athletes: Sam Rizzo in the T54 800m & 1500m (coach: Richard Coleman); Samuel Walker in the T38 100m (coach: Scott Goldsmith); Alexander McKillop in the T36 100m (coach: Rosemary Coleman)

Also selected is Nash Lowis (coach: Leslye Muller), who shot to javelin stardom this year when he became the World U20 Javelin Champion. Lowis showed he is no one-throw wonder, backing up his huge personal best in qualifying to throw even further in the final, winning the world title with a huge throw of 75.31m.

Two athletes from the World U20 4x400m silver medallist team, Carley Thomas (coach: Penny Gilles) and Ella Connolly (coach: Garry Patterson), have been included, also achieving silver in the 800m and fourth in 400m respectively.

Joining the squad is Oceania Area U20 100m record holder, Jake Doran (coach: Paul Di Bella)  who’s performance at the World U20 Championships elevated him to the No. 2 spot among U20 athletes in the world this year, and equal sixth fastest among Australians all-time.

Talented all-rounder,  Zane Branco (coach: Mick Hooper) has been picked for the development program following his fifth place finish in the World U20 200m final, as has heptathlete Celeste Mucci (coach: Darren Clark), who finished fourth at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 

In its first year the program will most likely be only available to athletes born in 2000 and earlier; however special mention must be made to Keely Small (coach: Philo Saunders), who’s outstanding performances in 2018 have made her an exceptional standout. At the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Keely Small became the fastest ever Australian junior over 800m, setting a new U20 (and U18) record of 2·00 81. She followed this with a gold-medal winning performance at the Youth Olympic Games, all achieved at the remarkable age of 16.

The program is camps-based and will commence in late 2018, with the first camp held at the AIS in December. Supported by each SIS/SAS, the second camp will be event specific and based around some of our elite, including Sally Pearson & Brandon Starc. These will be held in various states in late January, early February 2019. 

This program will replace the current U19 Talent Squad and will have the opportunity to further develop and refine in future years. A full summary of the change in direction in 2018 can be found here

A complete list of Developing Squad offered membership can be viewed here.