Temora athletics coach Greg Wiencke hailed the efforts of Riverina athletes after his band of 'smiling assassins' left mark on the Australian All Schools Athletics Championships in Perth.
Wagga's Kippy Langat, Godfrey and Gerard Okerenyang won medals as well as George Fuller, who hails from Galong and competes with Young little athletics, while talented Temora thrower Damien Wells is also under Wiencke's coaching.
"It's very rewarding. It was a little bit bittersweet with a couple of results but I was quite happy," Wiencke said.
"Definitely the guys were in PB (personal best) shape... they've all got the natural ability, they're all very coachable and they all listen."
Wiencke said developing strength will be crucial now for the emerging stars who are reaching adult-level technique in adolescent bodies.
But one secret is more about grinning than grunt.
"What we work on is that relaxed muscles are fast muscles and relaxed movement is a repetitious movement," he said. "We call ourselves the smiling assassins because before they take off in a race or on a run-up, they have to smile. You can't have tension when you smile, you have to relax."
Wiencke said Langat's gold in the under 16 triple jump (13.96m) was phenomenal given he burnt his feet playing barefoot basketball a day before his event and had to jump with blistered soles.
"Kippy's been with us 10 months and he's won two state titles and two national titles," Wiencke said.
"We were a little bit disappointed from a coaching point of view because it was a great opportunity to go for the Australian record (14.50m) - the track was great and the wind was right.
"But he had blisters the size of cricket balls on the balls of his feet."
Langat kept the injury from his coach until after the event, but Wiencke had noticed he wasn't moving as 'crisply' as he had in practice.
"If he's all fit and going, he's got so much talent. He's really good."
Fuller won silver in the 16 boys long jump, with a personal best of 6.69 metres, while Gerard Okerenyang won bronze with an almighty PB in the hammer throw (57.64m).
Wells was a creditable seventh in the under 18 boys hammer throw and 12th in discus.
But the brilliance of Godfrey's talents in the same age group were overshadowed by disappointment.
Okerenyang injured a hamstring in his 100m final after running a 10.64s heat. Wiencke said that time has him ranked number one for his age in Australia. But he'd believed the sprinter was a real chance of clocking a world championship qualifier of under 10.5s.
"I said to him, you've got it in you," Wiencke said.
"In the 4x100m relay, he got the baton for the last leg with NSW about nine metres down and he ran an absolute leg and got within a metre. It probably would've been a qualifier. He made up eight metres on a guy who was also a finalist in the 100."
Godfrey missed a medal in the long jump by 1cm with his last leap. Wiencke said his 7.27m effort was from 30cm behind the line. If he'd hit the mark, gold beckoned as well as a world champs qualifier.