Jesse Cordoma leads the way for SA

Date: 12th April 2022

Leading the way for the South Australia contingent heading to Stawell this week is Jesse Cordoma who trains with 1985 Stawell Gift winner Paul Young’s Young Guns Track Squad (YGTS) in Adelaide.

“I remember watching the Stawell Gift and thinking to myself that I would love to be in that final and part of history one day.  Ever since, it’s been a dream of mine to just make the Final so winning it would just be the icing on the cake. It would mean the world to me and be the biggest achievement I could accomplish as an athlete,” said Jesse.  

Inspired by teammate Sebastian Baird’s 2nd place in the 2021 Powercor Stawell Gift, Jesse believes this is the best chance he has had.

“In saying that, the competition is always incredibly tough at Stawell so you never know what might happen. But that’s what makes the event so fun and exciting!” 

Coach Paul Young agrees that Jesse in the best shape and is running as well as he ever has, however he believes the field this year will make it tough with so many talented front markers lining up against some of Australia’s fastest amateurs at the back.

“It’s an unusually tough year from that aspect with so many regular Gift runners winning events and getting a lift to their handicaps for Stawell,” said Paul. “That has made the front markers more dangerous this year.

“There are quite a few good SA runners this year which is great to see,” said Jesse, picking out Duncan Cameron and Corey Baker, as well as 200m National Champion Aidan Murphy.

“Duncan Cameron had a fantastic win at Ballarat this year and looks to be in career best shape so is definitely one to watch. Aidan Murphy is just world class, winning the 200m Open National Event very recently so will also be dangerous. My training partner Corey Baker has also been having a fantastic season and has been making finals consistently throughout the year so is another one to keep an eye on.” 

‘Youngy’ also rates Michael Moschou who will be competitive after smashing the field and setting a 200m record at a schools race meeting recently.

For the girls from the Festival State, Paul thinks Olivia Hastings and Kayla Lemm, AAA teammates of reigning Change Our Game Women’s Gift winner Hayley Orman, are looking particularly competitive, along with Mikayla Round and Amilie Burge.

Hayley herself picked out Olivia and Kayla, along with Hayley Openshaw from her squad, and also Round, Burge as well as Tayla Philis and Charlotte McAuliffe.  For the Powercor Stawell Gift Hayley’s picks from SA are Cameron and Murphy as well as Harrison Hunt and Tim Blyzno.

Jesse Cordoma is looking forward to travelling to Stawell with his group.

“Youngy is very experienced with Stawell and the pro running circuit in general and is just an amazing coach.  We have a fantastic group of runners who are all really passionate about the sport and very competitive. It makes training tough at times and almost feels like we are in competition every day, but it makes us push each other and overall better athletes. 

“I’m excited to just be able to compete in Stawell in my career best shape and potentially be part of the history. I’m going to enjoy and savour the moment but, most importantly, have fun!”

Main photo: Jesse, Paul and Corey Baker at the Geelong Gift.

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