IT'S been an area where Bathurst High have fallen behind in recent times but ahead of this week's Astley Cup tie against Orange the athletics team are hungry to bounce back.
Bathurst suffered a pair of 66-34 losses last year to Orange High School and Dubbo Senior College, and it's left returning participants with a sense of determination to flip things around.
Two of those returning athletes are the team captains, Jeremy Tobin and Olivia Clemens, looking to make their last Astley Cup one to remember.
Clemens said athletics provides a great mental test.
"The thing with athletics is that it's just you and the sport," she said.
"Yes, you're trying your best for the school and the team but it's more of an individual sport. You've just got to focus on what you're doing.
"If you're running in the 100 metres then it's just you in that lane. You've got to try and block out everything else and run your best."
Tobin echoed those thoughts, and said there's been a number of athletics contests that have come down to the wire.
"It can sometimes come down to just a single person, which is different compared to a lot of other sports," he said.
"Mr Barwick said that one time it came down to just one higher jumper to decide who won. It can come down to just that one person and one moment."
Tobin and Clemens have a busy program ahead of them but they have their sights set on a couple of specific events where they want to maximise their points.
"It's probably high jump for me," Tobin said.
"It's not something that I've done for a while but when I was younger I used to practice heaps and was part of a Bathurst athletics squad for it. It's really good to get back into it.
"I'd say for me it's all about the track events," Clemens said.
"They're really thrilling, and you can really feel the adrenaline. The relays are great. I enjoy my team sports, and a relay is a team effort where the pressure isn't just on you.
"It's also really great to watch. It's stressful when that last runner is coming around the corner."
The Orange athletics team have marked themselves as a group to watch following their 56-42 win over Dubbo in last week's opening tie at home.
The Bathurst-Orange athletics clash in 2021 wasn't able to take place due to the snowed-out day of play, while Dubbo thumped Bathurst 75-25.
The last Bathurst clean sweep of athletics was in 2019 when they beat Dubbo 60-40 and took down Orange 63-37.
The athletics takes place from 11.30am this Friday at the Sportsground.