Starc reminder of sporting schools’ talent

Things have changed lots since Brandon Starc left school, but the champion high jumper says he owes plenty to Hills Sports High. Glenn Cullen reports.

Image: Brandon Starc is one of the world's premier high jumpers - and a former student of Hills Sports High School.

Brandon Starc has loads of memories from his time at Hills Sports High School, but the spacious indoor gym isn’t one of them.

“This wasn’t here,” Australia’s premier high jumper, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympic finalist said recently when surveying the superb facility.

“It would have been amazing. I could have done a lot in here; it’s big enough to do all kinds of drills when it’s raining.”

Not that Starc missed out on much, given he was already well and truly earmarked as an international athletics star of the future by the time he graduated the school in 2011.

“This school basically kept me on the path of athletics because of all the training and the opportunities I had,” said Starc, on hand at Hills for the state’s sports high schools’ signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the NSW Institute of Sport to help facilitate pathways for talented athletes.

“I owe quite a bit of my success to this school.”

Starc now has a permanent place on the wall of the gym, along with the likes of Matildas star Kyah Simon and Kangaroos rugby league players Wade Graham and Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

“It’s just awesome to see what they’ve got and the opportunities for everyone across so many sports,” Starc said of the school.

Initially a jumper across the range of field disciplines, Starc narrowed his focus to the high jump when he was 15.

The school’s athletics coach, Nicole Gadow, saw his potential and recommended him to an external coach, Alex Stewart.

The pair work together to this day.

After getting pipped for gold on a countback at the last Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Starc took some time out with heel and plantar fascia issues.

He’s resumed light training and is eyeing off a big return to the sport in 2023, including August’s world championship in Hungary.

In the downtime, he got to enjoy a little bit of the T20 cricket World Cup featuring his brother, Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc.

While Hills Sports High would have loved to have had Mitchell on their books too, the Starc family didn’t live in the area at the time and he instead excelled at Homebush Boys High School.

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