Rachel Gould good as the very best in this country at 15
RACHEL Gould now knows she can compete with not only Queensland's best, but the best in the country.
On her way to setting personal best efforts in all seven events, Gould finished fourth in the under-18 girls heptathlon at the Queensland Combined Event Championships in Brisbane on the weekend, despite giving away two years to her senior competitors.
Heading into the titles, Gould, 15, had her sights on a top-five finish and a collective points total of 3950 after the seven events. Her fourth place finish, and the 4103 points gathered in her name, has her coach Brett Richards reassessing goals for the Australian under-17 championships in April.
Prior to the weekend, Gould's best heptathlon point score was 3,510 - a massive 593 points lower than the mark she set at the championships.
"It was the strongest under-18 girls competition in the history of the event," Richards said.
"We were aiming for fifth and 3950 points, which we expected to be very hard to get, but she excelled in all events, and set a standard much better than we expected.
"For her to finish fourth when I did not expect the level of competitors to be so high, is extremely satisfying."
Gould's 4103 points smashed the Australian championships qualifying mark of 3200.
It has The Cathedral College student eyeing off a top-five finish when she takes on Australia's best all-round athletes.
"This qualifying standard is based on what is needed to get into the top-eight in Australia most years, and so this shows how tough the Queensland competition was this year," Richards said.
Gould's performance also earned her a place in the Queensland Q squad.
The former Dingo resident, who now lives at Tungamull on the Capricorn Coast, has been training under Richards for seven months, and he said he'd seen a remarkable improvement.
"She did not just beat most of them (her personal bests), she smashed them," Richards said. "I have never seen this much improvement across this many events before."
Rachel is raising the bar
Gould improved her personal best efforts in the heptathlon by the following margins:
100m Hurdles: 1.36s
High jump: 6cm
Shot put: 1.19 metres
Long jump: 25cm
Overall score: 593pts