Two New Zealand Secondary School track titles in two hours.
It doesn’t come much better than that for Wellington East Girls’ College runner Tessa Hunt.
On Sunday, Hunt won the Senior Girls 800m title and backed it up not long after with the Senior Girls 1500m win.
It was double delight for WEGC, with Hunt’s teammate and good friend Kirstie Rae coming in fifth in the 800m and then finishing third in the 1500m.
Speaking to College Sport Media between races, Hunt said she was nervous heading into the 800m final. “I was really nervous – I knew that [second placed finisher] Lily Trotter was in good shape and I knew it would come down to a sprint finish.”
“I don’t even know what happened there, I just hit the straight and ran as hard as I could and it worked out well for me!”
Like the Senior Boys 800m that followed, the eight starters were all still in contention in the final bend from home, but Hunt launched her sprint for home at the start of the home straight and kicked on to win in 2:13.08 in a new personal best time.
Lily Trotter from Christchurch Girls’ High School finished second in 2:13.66 and Sophie Atkinson from Glendowie College came third in 2:15.51.
All going well, Year 12 Hunt and Year 11 Rae will both be back in 2018. “Kirstie and I train together; we do everything together, so this is great for both of us together.”
Hunt explained her preliminaries leading up to the 800m final. “I ran 2:17 in my heat, it was a bit faster than I was hoping but I felt fine. I also did the 1500m heat so I was a bit stuffed on Saturday.”
Heading into the 1500m final, Hunt was optimistic at the time. “I’ll see how I feel, there is tough competition but I don’t know what will happen.”
She obviously felt great in the 1500m, again burning off the opposition in the home straight to claim the double in a time of 4:40.67.
Aimee Fergusson from Rototuna High School in Hamilton came second in 4:41.28, ahead of Rae in third in 4:44.00. Hannah Knighton of Waikato Dio finished mid-field, backing up her earlier win on Sunday in the Senior Girls road race.
This was Hunt's first major win at this meet. “I won the NZ Track and Field Championships last year in Hamilton and then Lily Trotter won the secondary schools race last year so there has kind of been a rivalry between us.”
A Pathway to Podium athlete, Hunt won the 800m at the Oceania Championships in Fiji in early July.
Hunt is also a leading cross country runner in the winter months. “I am going to the World Cross Country Championships in Paris next March so I am looking forward to that.”
Of note, another Wellington runner, Isobel Hagen from Wellington Girls’ College, finished a spot behind Rae in sixth in the Senior Girls 800m.
Hagen’s younger sister Lucy Hagen won the Junior Girls 800m final (pictured left). That race also featured another WEGC runner, Maali Kyle-Ford, who finished sixth.
Meanwhile, nine new championship records were set over the three days of competition and two athletes, Lucy Sheat and Olivia McTaggart surpassed qualifying standards for World Junior Championships.
Lucy Sheat of Marlborough Girls' College ran a stunning senior girls 100m final at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Track & Field Championships, setting a new record of 11.59, erasing the oldest record in the books, Kim Robertson’s 11.66, set at the inaugural NZ schools championships in 1973.
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