FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Kinross Wolaroi student Connor Whiteley is champing at the bit to represent New South Wales at the 2014 School Sport Australia Cross Country Championships in Western Australia on Saturday.
Whiteley endured a gruelling selection process, representing at the Western Associated Schools, Association of Independent Co-Educational Schools, Combined Independent Schools and NSW All Schools levels before being named for his state.
“I’m really excited, keen, stoked, all those good adjectives,” Whiteley laughed with palpable pride.
“Once triathlon season wound up I had a goal to get through to this level, and I’m pretty happy I have.
“I should thank my major sponsors, my parents. And Mel (Ashton) my coach as well, she puts in a lot of work.”
Competing at the NSW Cross Country Championships, Whiteley ran fifth in his 15 years age group, and was the eighth fastest qualifier overall in the 14 and 15 years section.
“I was lucky because they only take the eight fastest,” he explained.
“The way it works, you race as a single age group but the NSW team is picked as a combined group.”
Just reward for his hard work, Whiteley went on to explain the extensive training program he undertook in preparation for the state championship.
“Four or five running sessions, four swimming sessions and a few on the bike a week as well,” he said.
“I definitely see it as a reward for the hard work, we do train pretty hard for these things.
“I’ll taper off now, just keep some intensity and miles in the legs but more than anything just trying to stay fresh for Saturday.
“I think around `13 minutes would be a good mark. The main goal was to get there, I have now, so a medal or a placing would just be icing on the cake, it would be a bonus.
Whiteley flies out, and will touch down in Albany on Thursday, allowing him a day to prepare before the 4km race.
“I’m really keen, I can’t wait,” he said.