WHAT A YEAR: Matthew Rankin with his medal haul from the Australian Cross Country Championships.
WHAT A YEAR: Matthew Rankin with his medal haul from the Australian Cross Country Championships. Claudia Williams

National champion proud of 2018 results

JUNIOR SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: Matthew Rankin is the fastest school boy cross country runner in Australia.

The Nanango State High School graduate, who lives in Blackbutt, crossed the line in first place at the Australian Cross Country Championships ahead of 88 fellow under-18 competitors.

By his own admission the South Burnett and Wide Bay champion and Queensland cross country silver medallist exceeded expectations this year to bring home the gold.

"I didn't think this year was going to be my year because last year (at the national championships) I finished in 12th and first and second place were one minute faster than me,” he said.

As an aspiring Olympic athlete, Matthew has his sights set on being the best talent in Australia for years to come.

Every time he crosses a finish line, whether it be at a local race or against the best in the country, he knows he has given it his all.

"I put 100 per cent in and didn't have anything left,” he said following his win at the national championships.

Matthew took the win in Maleny on a course which is referred to as the hilliest course in Australia and he believes these two factors worked in his favour.

"I thought it would take more than a year but I think the hills and the advantage of knowing the course helped me,” he said.

To be the best, Matthew's training includes building his endurance through running for up to 45 minutes, building his speed doing repetitions of 400m to up to 1km and a hill session once a fortnight.

"I want to break a world record one day and that motivates me, and also to one day run in the Olympics,” he said.

His success is not limited to cross country races having excelled in the track and field arena this year.

In his final year at the Queensland School Sport track and field championships Matthew claimed silver in the 3000m and bronze in the 1500m.

He went on to win a bronze medal at the National All School track and field championships in Cairns in the under-18 6000m race.

South Burnett

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