Brayden leaps into Vic squad

By Gus McCubbing

HE’S a die-hard Bombers fan with a decent turn of speed.

Fourteen-year-old Kyabram P-12 student Brayden Hall, who recently qualified for the Little Athletics Victoria Junior Development Squad (JDS), which picks up talented athletes between 12 and 16, loves splitting his year between football and athletics.

Brayden gets to don the sash himself while playing for the Kyabram Bombers under-16s in the Shepparton District Junior Football League – they reached the semi-finals this year. And it comes as no surprise his favourite players are the evasive Devon Smith and dashing Adam Saad.

But with summer around the corner he’s turned his attention to the track.

A member of the Kyabram Little Athletics Club, Brayden competes at his school on Wednesday nights, while also training with and representing Eaglehawk Athletics Club under the guidance of coach Terry Hicks.

Coming from a sporting family – Brayden’s father, Leigh, 44, just won a premiership with the Stanhope reserves in the Kyabram District Football League, while his older sister, Maddie, 17, also went through the JDS system.

And now that he’s joined the JDS, competing in the 100m (PB 11.99 seconds); 200m (PB 24.46 seconds) and the triple-jump (PB 11.97 metres), Brayden is looking forward to improving his technique under some of the best coaches in the state while training at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne.

‘‘All the people and the track – it’s a bit of a change from running in Kyabram,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know anyone there, so it’s a good chance to make some new friends.

‘‘I’ll learn a heap of new things and it means I can get used to the environment there, which is where the state competitions are held.’’

And the youngster has already got one eye on next year’s local football season.

‘‘The Stanhope reserves’ coach Mark Patton said I might be able to squeeze a practice game in with them so I can have a kick with Dad before he retires,’’ Brayden said.