SAM Baird launched the season, which he hopes to cap off with Commonwealth Games selection, with gold at the Victorian All Schools Track and Field Championships at the Lakeside Stadium.
Baird, from Ballarat Grammar School, took out the boys’ under-18 400-metre in 47.86 seconds.
A 400m berth in the Australian team for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games from July 23 to August 3 is the Ballarat’s teenager’s number-one priority.
Depending on his form, he also has the option of competing in the World Junior Athletic Championships at Eugene in the United States on July 22-27.
His coach Peter O’Dwyer said the teenager was only in the formative stages of his campaign.
He warmed up for the state all-schools in Ballarat Regional Athletics Centre’s opening round of the Athletics Victoria Shield.
O’Dwyer said Baird would continue to compete in the AV Shield in Ballarat as well as tackling some professional events.
He had a taste of the Victorian Athletic League circuit last year, winning the Black Opal 400m in Bendigo before going on to taking out a national junior title and representing Australia at the world junior championships.
O’Dwyer said Baird had already bettered the world juniors qualifying time of 47.72, but would almost certainly have to do it again during the selection process to confirm his form.