AFTER taking up hurdles less than a year ago, Yasmin Thomas is set to compete against the some of the country's best athletes at the national athletics championships.
The St Mary's College student will be ranked seventh in a field of 20 for Friday's under-17 100-metre hurdles event.
Thomas secured a nationals place off the back of her selection in the Combined Catholic Schools athletics team.
The year-10 student told the Namoi Valley Independent she was excited for the challenge of nationals.
"I've been working pretty hard over the last 11 months and I'm really looking forward to getting out there," Thomas said.
"I'm feeling really confident and excited.
"I would say, feeling loose and comfortable before the race is probably going to be what I will focus on in the lead up to my races."
Thomas' coach Andrew Frend said he was proud of his young protege's improvement over the past 11 months.
"I think making the nationals within a year after taking up hurdles is an outstanding achievement," Frend said.
"Being ranked seventh in the field of 20 also goes to show how talented she is and how quickly she has excelled in hurdles."
Frend said technique would be the key to a successful run for Thomas.
"She is a very strong 400 metre runner and that strength she has in her legs will translate over to hurdles," he said.
"I think if she focuses on her technique she can give it a really good shake and hopefully come away with a great result."
Thomas said she would look to continue chasing her hurdles ambitions after the nationals.
"I would say my next goal is to probably do longer-distance hurdles races," she said.
"I'm thinking maybe the 200 metre or 400 metre races.
"Since I started athletics I have raced over those distances and I think that experience will hopefully transfer over to hurdles."