MIA TAKES ON THE WORLD

Year 11 student Mia Gross steps onto the track for her 100m heat at the IAAF Under 20 World Championships on Wednesday 11 July (AEST) with the knowledge that anything she achieves this time around can be improved upon in 2020, when she will still be eligible for the Under 20 Championships. Mia, who turned 17 in April, is one of the youngest athletes on the Australian team and will compete in both the 100m and 200m events at the Championships in Tampere, Finland.  

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Mia began the year with Commonwealth Games aspirations before narrowly missing a spot in the relay team for the event on the Gold Coast after the qualification standards changed at the eleventh hour. The Under 20 World Championships always represented the best opportunity for Mia to represent her country in 2018 which, when you consider her age, is no mean feat! 

Mia, who will also compete in the 4x100m relay, is realistic about her chances in Tampere; a semi-final would be fantastic, while a spot in a final would be unbelievable. "I'm racing myself, in a sense," Mia said. "Being bottom-bottom-bottom age, the expectations are pretty low but I'll give it my best shot and would love to run a PB."

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Mia came to Geelong Grammar School as a day boarder at the beginning of Year 10. Midway through her second term at GGS, Mia was on a flight to the Bahamas to represent Australia for the first time at the Commonwealth Youth Games. After an unfortunate collision with another athlete in the warm-up, which ultimately resulted in a broken arm, she missed a spot in the final by 0.02 seconds but certainly lost no admirers. Mia qualified for this year's Under 20 World Championships by winning the National Under 20 100m and 200m finals in March.

Mia has loved her time as a day boarder and believes the Geelong Grammar School environment has had a positive effect on her running. "I love being a day boarder... I'd miss my family too much (if I boarded full-time), so it's nice to have that balance," Mia said. "The facilities, particularly the gym, are fantastic and the School is very accommodating when it comes to my training." Looking ahead to 2019 and Year 12, Mia is looking forward to a year without any major international competitions and a final season playing Soccer with her friends. "I love it and have really missed playing this season (in the lead-up to Tampere)."

Recent graduate Christian Davis (Fr'17) will also compete in Tampere this week. Christian is the lone Australian representative in the Men's 400m and will also compete in the 4x400m relay. In the space of four years, Christian has improved his personal best time from 50.2 seconds to 46.44 secs, which he ran to make the final of the 2018 National Championships/ Commonwealth Games trials earlier this year. Christian holds both the Open and Under 17 School Records in the 800m, although his focus has shifted to the 400m in the past 12 months.

To follow Christian and Mia's progress in Tampere, follow @GeelongGrammar on Twitter or visit the IAAF website.