Jaidyn Busch (Christchurch Girls’ High School) and Kaia Tupu-South (Westlake Girls’ High School) won the Senior Girls’ Shot Put and Discus events in blustery conditions at Wellington’s Newtown Park on Saturday afternoon on day two of the 47th NZSSA Track and Field Championships.
Both throwers battled competitive fields as well as the elements to win their competitions, both defending their titles that they won last year in Dunedin.
Jaidyn said she was motivated to give it her all, and threw a best of 16.51m with her penultimate throw to head the 22-strong field of Senior Girls Discus throwers.
“I just wanted to leave everything out there, it is my last year and I just to push it out there and hope for the best, she said.
“It is always a really strong competition with all the other girls, so it was just great to win again.”
Jaidyn wasn’t entered in any other events, so how was she going to celebrate?
“I will go and get some KFC with my family! Then I will stay around and support the rest of the my team and watch some other events.”
This was year 13s Jaidyn’s last act of her school career, which earlier this year saw her represent CGHS at No. 8 in the Top 4 rugby tournament in Palmerston North that saw them as beaten finalists. She enjoyed watching many of her teammates win the Condor 7s last weekend.
Next year she plans on training hard for future events and starting study in Christchurch in teaching and early childhood care.
Kaia, who is year 12 and is Westlake GHS head girl in 2020, was second in the Senior Girls Shot Put with a best of 16.34m, with St Andrew’s thrower Tapenisa Havea third with a best on the day of 16.03m.
Tairi College's Zharna Beattie threw a personal best in finishing fifth and broke the Otago Secondary School’s record by about a metre and a half.
Jaidyn won the SG Shot Put last year with a best hurl of 16.00m, so her winning effort was a full 51cm improvement on that. In turn it was exactly 51cm short of the meet record set by Lynfield College’s Maddison Wesche two years ago in Hastings.
A few hours later, Kaia summed up her Senior Girls Discus win a word as “stressful.”
“You never know when someone is going to do something big – all it takes is one throw.”
She needn’t have worried, winning by over six metres to second placed Zharna Beattie.
Kaia’s winning throw was 46.25m, achieved with her final throw of the competition, but she had bettered 45m and then 43m in earlier rounds.
Runner-up Zharna threw 40.69m and last year’s Junior champion St Cuthbert’s College’s Violette Perry was third with a best throw of the 1.0kg implement of 39.30m. There were 20 competitors in the field.
Like Jaidyn in the Shot Put, Kaia won this event last year with a best of 44.88m in 2018.
Kaia was pleased to win the SG Discus, but was hoping to do the double heading into the day. “I really wanted to win the Shot Put as well, but coming second in that was extra motivation to win the Discus.”
“I have always got a silver in Shot Put and a gold in Discus – so hopefully next year.
Kaia said the wind was a tough and definitely a factor in the Discus event.
“I am happy though for the day today, everyone was finding it hard in the wind this afternoon.”
Kaia’s PB is 47.90, so in favourable conditions in competitions coming up she is hopeful of surpassing that distance.
Meanwhile, the Junior Girls Shot Put was won by Natalia Rankin-Chitar from Saint Kentigern College, with Elizabeth Hewitt from Chilton St James second and Suzannah Kennelly from Auckland Dio third.
The same three competitors filled the gold, silver and bronze medals on the podium of the Junior Girls Discus, with Natalia doing the double and winning, and Suzannah second and Elizabeth third.
Elizabeth Hewitt had won the Junior Girls Hammer throw on day one of the meet on Friday, heading off Manurewa High School sisters Jasmine and Jamane into the second and third.
The Senior Girls Hammer Throw is scheduled for Sunday at 11.00am.
On Monday, Jaidyn, Kaia and other leading athletes from this weekend’s Track and Field Championships will be attending a Pathway to Podium camp.
The following has been written by Finlay Abbot - Dad, Sports Enthusiast & Bottle Washer at Sola Power Throwing Academy, Wellington.
In Wellington, early next month, around 25 tall, powerful young men will strive to take their place in New Zealand’s Secondary Schools sporting history in the Senior Boys Discus at the 47th NZSSA Track and Field Championships. The Discus is one of athletics’ oldest disciplines, with no less than 2,700 years of history.
I doubt very much that any of them will ponder the prospect of this particular competition beyond their own hopes and dreams. These young men will simply put their all into converting the months or even years of training and experience, into throwing a 1.5kg discus from here to eternity.
Discus training usually consists of three facets. Weight Training, normally Olympic Lifting, plyometrics and stretching and, of course, throwing….hundreds and hundreds of throws…it’s hard grinding work where improvements are measured in centimetres.
The pondering, prediction and discussion is the domain of old people, like me. One of the great pleasures of sport apart from participating surely is watching, admiring and talking about it?
A Brief History
The New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics (NZSSA) Championships began in 1973 and quickly grew to become the nation’s most popular athletics event, both in terms of numbers of competitors and numbers of spectators. Over a thousand athletes now take part with several thousand watching. It is a fantastic event which is a great advertisement for one of the few truly global sports
Some analysis of the Senior Boys Discus competitions, almost all of which are listed on the excellent archives section of the NZSSA website, reveals some sporting greats and also reveals the growth of throwing in particular.
The very first Senior Boys Champion was R. Smith of Reporoa College who threw 46.98m
1978, only four throwers take part, with the winner throwing 46m
1981, Grant Chapman sets the record at 52.60m with second and third respectively at 52m and 51m respectively – early promise of things to come.
1987 – the first name which stood out, Courtney Ireland (who went on to compete at the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games) wins in a record 54.66m, then again in 1988 with 57.5m, with Pat Hellier second in 53.4m and Simon Read third in 52.98m. A standout year.
1989 – Courtney wins his 3rd title in succession in his final year at school with a mighty throw of 56.44m, Chris Mene (watch that name) is second in 55.02m and Pat Hellier 3rd in 51.94m.
These performances need context. The IAAF provides World Rankings each year with U18 as the youngest year group. The minimum threshold is 48m with the 1.5kg Discus. Throwing over 55m normally ranks in the top 50 in the World and top eight in Oceania (NZ, Australia and the Pacific Islands).
1990 – Chris Mene throws 61.76m to set a new record which stands for an amazing 27 years until 3 December 2017. An outstanding performance. Ian Winchester is a distant 2nd, over 10m back. Ian Winchester is the current NZ Senior Men’s Discus record holder with 65.03m. Ian wins the following year with 55.52m.
1995 – Shaka Sola – 2004 Athens Olympian – wins his first major crown. Shaka is now one of NZ’s top Throw coaches and athletics personalities. Walk with Shaka around the track at an Athletics meet but only if you are not in a hurry, it takes over an hour as he stops to talk to another friend he hasn’t seen in months.
2000 – I spot Thomas Waldrom’s name – Hurricane loose forward and English Rugby International.
2003 – All Black Great Victor Vito’s name appears.
2006 – Marshall Hall at 18 throws 50.79m, in 2017 Marshall Hall went to the World Champs after throwing 64.55m in the USA
2008 and 2009, World Champion Shot Putter, Tom Walsh’s name appears with a best of third in 49.71m.
Which brings us to 2013. Throw Coaches in NZ become misty eyed when they talk about this competition – one for the ages they say.
If there was a competition which demonstrates the Grand Canyon like abyss between where the competition started and what it has become, it was the Senior Boys Discus in 2013.
Sam Ulufonua wins with 58.60m. Sam is a strapping 6 foot 6 inch giant and has gone on to great things in representative rugby.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona is second in 58.47m. Another giant of similar stature. Now playing in the NRL with the Melbourne Storm.
Benedict Chong Wong is third in 51.81m
Matthew Bloxham is fourth in 50.66m – Matthew went on to set a NZ age group Hammer Record which still stands.
As if this was not enough, another seven throwers all throw in excess of 40m.
Astounding ! Amazing ! Never to be repeated ? Well, there’s a funny thing…
2015 – depending on how you look at it, this competition also ranks highly due to the amazing depth in the field and the performances themselves.
Nathanial Sulupo is first in 56.74m – Nathanial recently represented Samoa at the Pacific Games and medalled in both Shot and Discus.
Scott Gregory is in 54.80m – Scott still holds the NZSSA Junior Boys Hammer record. Scott has recently represented NZ in Rugby Sevens and plays for Northland.
Ben Power is third in 53.62m. Ben has played representative rugby for the Wellington Lions and Hawke’s Bay.
The depth of this field continued with an unprecedented 10 other throwers throwing over 40m.
Back to the Present
A preview is dangerous work….so many factors can ruin the outcome. In Discus, the weather is crucial and of course, we are dealing with young men, some of the most accident prone creatures on the planet.
My prediction is that the 2019 edition will eclipse those two magnificent competitions in 2013 and 2015.
It is likely to be the strongest field ever assembled and with kind weather and good fortune, will deliver an unmatched world class spectacle to those lucky enough to assemble on the steep dusty banks of Newtown Park
Connor Bell – Westlake Boys’ High School – aged 18 and half
Current record holder with 65.63m set in Hastings in 2017. The wind denied him the chance to improve the record in 2018. Connor is bound to be targeting 70m or more. Connor’s PB is an incredible 69.67m – this is an Unofficial World Record for a 17 year old (http://age-records.125mb.com/ ).
Another prediction – watch anyone throw an implement of any sort over 60m and you will let out an involuntary gasp and find yourself uttering the name of the Son of God.
Connor’s other Discus achievements include
2017 Youth Commonwealth Gold Medal & unofficial World Record of 63.66m as a 15 year old.
2018 Youth Olympics Gold Medal.
IAAF U18 World Rankings – 1st in 2018 and 2nd in 2017
Current NZ U18 and U20 record holder.
Nik Kini – formerly of Whangarei Boys’ High School and now at Shirley Boys’ High in Christchurch – aged 17 and half
Nik is 2019 NZ U18 Discus Champion. Nik has a current U18 IAAF world ranking of 9th and is number one in Oceania & NZ
Nik’s recent PB is 60.60m from 26 Oct 2019, hence my safe prediction is that Nik will throw over 60m.
Nik is also one of the top Shot Putters and Hammer Throwers for his age in Oceania and will be targeting Gold in both.
Nik has also played age group representative rugby for Northland.
Zion Trigger-Faitele – Scots College – turns 18 in Jan 2020
Zion won Silver in U18 Discus at the 2019 Australian Champs with 56.80m, his PB
Zion currently holds almost all age group records in Wellington from age 14 onwards for Shot Put and Discus
Zion’s U18 IAAF world ranking is 32 and he is ranked fifth in Oceania and second in NZ
Zion will also compete in Shot Put where he will push Nik Kini for Gold. Zion is also a representative basketballer.
Liam Ngchok-Wulf – Manurewa High School – 16 and half years
Liam’s improvement in 2019 has been astonishing. Liam has a recent PB of 55.92m from 26 Oct 19 which sees him ranked 44th in the World, 7th in Oceania and 3rd in NZ.
Liam is 2019 North Island Secondary Schools Intermediate Discus Champion and won a Bronze in U16 Hammer at the 2018 NZSSA Champs.
Liam is currently ranked second in Shot Put and fourth in Hammer in NZ in U18 grade where he will push hard for a medal in both events.
The 11 amazing athletes below all have current PB’s over 40m with some incredible talent in other events and some are bound to surprise.
James Coates, St Bede’s College – 47.36m – Consistent improver over the last four years in both Shot and Discus. Second Senior Boys Discus 2019 South Island Schools Champs.
Laycian Leaso, St Peter’s College – 46.66m – Discus specialist. Third U18 2019 Auckland Champs and CSW Regionals in Intermediate grade.
Max Abbot, Wellington College – 46.61m – Silver medallist 2018 NZ Schools U16 Discus. Second 2019 North Island Champs Intermediate Discus. Rapidly improving in both Discus and Hammer this season. Related to the Author.
Joseph Ford, Nelson College – 46.43m – Discus specialist. 2019 Senior Boys South Island Schools Champion.
Louis Northcott, Kapiti College – 46.33m – Sub 50 second 400m runner and Decathlete. Third Senior Boys Discus at 2019 North Island Schools Champs. Bronze medallist at 2019 NZ U20 Decathlon Champs.
Jayden Williamson, Rosmini College – 44.90m – Gold Medallist in 2018 U16 NZ Schools Discus, Hammer and High Jump. Current NZ Schools U16 High Jump record holder. Represented NZ at 2019 Oceania Champs winning Silver in U18 High Jump. Ranked 45th in the World in U18 High Jump.
Tamatoa Tepai, Auckland Grammar School – 44.03m – Discus specialist. Has featured in a number of Schools and Club events in the last two years.
Liam Johnson, Timaru Boys – 43.39m – Third at 2019 Senior Boys Discus, South Island Schools Champs. Outstanding Hammer Thrower currently ranked second in NZ in U20.
Joshua Bull, Catholic Cathedral College – 43m – Decathlete. Bronze medal at 2019 U18 NZ Decathlon Champs. Gold Medal at 2019 NZ Track and Field Champs in U18 Pole Vault.
Jordyn Hetaraka, Whangarei Boys High – 42.99m – 2019 Bronze medal at NZ Track and Field Champs in U18 Discus. Outstanding Hammer Thrower winning Silver at 2019 NZ Track and Field Champs in both U18 and U20 grades.
Tama Bartlett, Wairarapa College – 40.88m – 2019 Wairarapa Senior Boys Champion. Also capable performer at Javelin and Shot Put
By my calculations we could see someone throw 50m, which would achieve a good IAAF U18 World and Oceania ranking and “only” get 6th in this competition – shades of the historic Men’s Shot Put at the 2019 World Champs in Doha.
The Stage is set – come and see the show, 2pm Sunday 8 December, Newtown Park, Wellington.
In September, Michael Manson from Otago Boys’ High School went viral on the internet after scoring a freakish try for the New Zealand Barbarians Rugby XV against Australia.
With five minutes remaining, and down 10-25, Manson launched a hopeful counter-attack from close to his own goal line.
“I hadn’t seen much of the ball so I tried to think outside of the box and get involved,” Manson reflected.
“I kicked the ball behind a forward and got the bounce and thought, ‘you beauty.’ When I kicked it ahead again there was a defender in front of me and I thought, ‘bugger.’ Luckily I had the speed to get around the forward. When I scored I couldn’t really believe it, it was totally euphoric,” he said.
Manson was promoted to the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ team for their tilt at Australia and in December will partake in the Red Bull Ignite 7s, a programme designed to find “the next All Blacks and Black Ferns superstars.”
From Cromwell, Manson is from a family of sprinters and has only this year fully committed to rugby.
Manson is the Otago Boys’ High School senior 100 metres (m) sprint champion and holds the school record for the discipline.
In fact Manson is ranked in the top three Under-18 sprinters in the South Island and has a personal best of 10.8 seconds.
In 2017, Manson was the youngest member of the Otago Boys’ 4x100m relay team who won the National gold medal.
In 2019 he was the lead runner on the same team that won the South Island 4x100m relay championship.
“I’ve always been quick, but I’m lucky to have had some great coaches who have broken down my technique and helped me go faster,” Mason says.
“I came down to Otago Boys’ for more sporting opportunities. Rugby has taken over this year, but sprinting has given me some great opportunities and helped my rugby,” he continued.
Manson has proved to be a prolific try scorer on the wing for the Otago Boys’ First XV. He scored three tries in the South Island final last year, but Otago lost that game.
In 2019 he was the leading try scorer in the region. A second-half strike in the annual traditional against Christchurch Boys’ High School was particularly enjoyable.
“We were down 14-0 at halftime and our captain Tevita Asi spoke about gaining revenge on the team who ended our season last year. We just hit a zone after that. It was incredible. I don’t think anyone would have beaten us,” Manson enthused.
In the same fixture Otago wore pink socks in a campaign to protest and raise awareness of bullying.
“That was a nice gesture to highlight a serious problem,” Manson said.
“People look up to the First XV and if the First XV can make a stand against bullying then hopefully that will stop some of it.”
In December, Manson won’t be present at the National Secondary Schools Athletics Championships at Newtown Park, Wellington, but Otago will have a strong presence.
George Hamilton, Cameron Moffitt and Jacob Waide are three names worth keeping an eye on.
Hamilton is the school record holder in the Under-14 1500m. All-rounder Moffitt is the Under-16, 100m, 200m, long jump, discus and shot put champion, smashing the school shot put record of 12.77m set event by R.J. Dryden in 1974. The new distance is 13.79m.
Jacob Waide holds the school Under-14 shot put, long jump and 100m titles.
College Sport Media (CSNZ) thanks the One Foundation for their assistance with this and other stories in 2019.
Above: Senior Girls winner Kirstie Rae (733) leads her school teammates and the field in her race last Saturday / Image: Michael Dawson / michaeldawson.nz
Runner-up last year, Wellington East Girls’ College’s Kirstie Rae put the hammer down over the second half of the race to comfortably win this year’s New Zealand Secondary Schools Senior Girls Cross Country race in Timaru this past weekend.
Kirstie finished the two-lap, 4km course in 14.35 min, well ahead of second placed finisher Charli Miller from St Peter’s School, Cambridge in 15.14 min and with Olivia Cummings from Otumoetai College coming home third in 15.21 min.
Kirstie was quietly confident of doing well, but acknowledged the quality of the field and trust in her disrupted build-up in managing a slight hip injury as reasons to stay calm and focussed on the start line.
“Leading into the race I was quite nervous, because it was the last race for my school and I have done the NZSS race for four out of the five years, but I was just looking at giving it everything for my school once last time in cross country,” said Kirstie.
She won her race in a field of 113 starters in the Senior Girls field (from a total of 808 representing 136 schools in all races), in fine, cool conditions on a mostly firm, fast course.
“The start was about 400m of flat grass and then went into some rolling hills and there were a couple of hurdles in there as well. So for the first lap I just wanted to stay controlled and relaxed.
“Charli Miller went out hard and she was a bit ahead of me and then with a lap to go I started accelerating and getting a bit of a gap on her and ended up extending my lead to the end.”
Kirstie gave WEGC the edge to win both the three and six person teams. Baradene College was second and St Peter’s School third in the three team and Diocesan School second and St Cuthbert’s third in the six person team.
Kirstie’s WEGC teammates in the Senior Girls race were Maali Kyle Ford (12th), Saskia Cosgrove Drayton (15th), Amy Walker (20th), Caitlyn Bassett (34th), Grace Gordon (79th) and Katie McGivern (103rd).
WEGC’s Maia Wilkinson finished second in the Junior Girls race, behind winner Hannah Prosser from Timaru Girls’ High School, with school teammate Mackenzie Morgan (10th), Anna Bassett (26th) giving them a second placed finish in the three-person team.
The school also finished third in the three-person team in the year 9 race, with Eliza Squire (4th), Phoebe Squire (16th) and Amelia Newman (66th) bringing them home.
“It was really awesome being there with my school team and watching the year 9s in their first NZSS race and being able give them tips and encouragement as well, “ said Kirstie.
What is coming up for Kirstie? “In the first week of the school holidays we have got the North Island Cross Country Championships in Taupo, and the New Zealand Cross Country Championships in early August in Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt. That is the same location as where the College Sport Wellington Championships were held recently.”
Then there is the Australian Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships to look forward to in Wollongong on 24 August.
“I will be racing in the U20 race, which a 6km, and I have heard it was quite a flat course so it should be a very fast race.”
Kirstie got her first taste of competing in a 6km cross country against the best athletes in the world earlier this year at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Denmark – finishing 17th.
“It was an experience like no other, really amazing. On the start line we were lined up next to Kenya.
“It was three 2km loops and the course was really interesting with a lot of spectator points and a beer tent that we ran under with people drinking beer. We ran through a water pit, a mud pit and there was soft sand that made it tough. A part of the course was run on the grass roof of the Moesgaard Museum and we ran up and down that.”
Unsurprisingly, the Africans went straight to the front, but the pace was only moderate early on giving Kirstie time to settle. “I was in the chasing pack, with an Australian and a few Japanese. I think the Africans ended up filling the top 13 places, then it was two Japanese, and Australian and then myself.”
As well as the senior team, Kirstie was part of a junior New Zealand Women’s team that included Hutt Valley High School’s Phoebe McKnight (34th), former Wellington East NZSS track champion Tessa Hunt (88th), St Cuthbert's College’s Isabella Richardson (93rd) and Te Kuiti High School’s Samantha Corbett (99th).
Prior to heading to Denmark, Kirstie ended the recent track and field season in top form, winning the Senior Girls 3000m in a new record time of 9.38.69 and breaking the 12-year record by 15 seconds at the Wellington Regional Championships.
“I only just started doing the 3000m at the beginning of last season. It is all relatively new to me but I do like that distance. I also like the 1500m too.”
This year’s NZSS Track and Field Championships are at Newtown Park in Wellington, just up the road from school.
“It will be exciting having that on my home track and it will be good having all my family and friends watching. It is always an interesting meet as it is still early in the athletics season, but it will be by last race for Wellington East so hopefully we can pull out something good.”
Following that, she is looking at earning a running scholarship to a USA university next year.
Kirstie’s coach is Alistair Leslie, while Wellington Sports Medicine also provide an invaluable assistance to her running career.
Her parents are also really supportive, and Kirstie thanked her mum for cooking her pre-race pasta on Friday night this past weekend.
2019 NZSS Cross Country full individual results: https://nzssaa.org.nz/static/nz-xc-2019/results/results.pdf
“I can’t do everything, but I try to,” enthuses Kapiti College’s Louis Northcott on his busy sporting life.
Louis is a leading player and fullback for the Kapiti College First XV currently playing in the Wellington Premiership, and a top performer in both track and field in the athletics arena. He also plays cricket for his school’s First XI in the summer when he is not running, throwing and jumping his way to medals.
Part of a rugby playing family, Louis’ younger brother (year 12) Ted plays prop and his older brother Stanley has left school now and plays lock for the Paremata-Plimmerton club and made his Premier club rugby debut this past weekend.
This is both Louis’ and Ted’s second year in the Kapiti College First XV.
After going through the grading rounds – and beating Upper Hutt College 33-31 in a thriller in the last qualifying match, Kapiti College have so far had defeats to St Pat’s Town (18-62), Aotea College (7-43) and Scots College (5-41).
But the recent loss to Scots who are widely considered amongst the title favourites this year was encouraging. “We were happy with the way we played against Scots because was held them to 5-12 at halftime, the result just got away on us a bit at the end.”
Kapiti now have two consecutive home games coming up, against Wellington College and Rongotai College.
The captain is fellow year 13 student centre Taine Hata. “It is Taine’s third year in the First XV, and he always does a good job and motivates the boys and convinces us that we deserve to be in the Premiership.”
This was borne out in that last grading win against Upper Hutt College. “We were leading and then in the last 10 minutes or so we were pinned inside our 22 and it was a huge defensive effort and it really just showed us how much we wanted to be in that top grade this year.”
Kapiti College is fielding a young team, particularly in the forwards where one of the props is year 10 and half the rest of the pack are year 11s.
Playing fullback, Louis also wears the same jersey of another former Kapiti College First XV player, Christian Cullen.
Known as the Paekakariki Express, Cullen scored 46 tries in 58 Tests for the All Blacks between 1996-2002 and was College Sport Wellington Rugby Player of the Year in 1993.
“Christian Cullen grew up in Paekakariki, where I am also from, so he has always been someone to look up to. I have met him a couple of times as well.”
Louis had been doing athletics since he was 10, starting through his dad. “I have always loved it and it probably becoming my more preferred sport, but I love rugby and athletics equally.
Louis is a combined events athlete, having competed in two decathlons so far.
In February, he finished third overall (winning three events) in the New Zealand U20 Decathlon Championships.
Coming from a running and discus background, Louis says he has had to learn all the other disciplines such as pole vault and javelin. “That’s all been a great experience learning to do all that and getting points in those events too.”
In early April in Tauranga, Louis won the North Island Secondary School Senior Boys 400m title, while the Wellington team he was part of won the 4x400m relay.
“The 400m is the event that I train for the hardest. A lot of people say that 400m training is what most decathletes should do so it just happens to work in well.
“I was really stoked with winning that. That was one of my proudest achievements so far, all the training that went into it and I had never won an individual North Island title before.”
Louis was also second in the Senior Boys Long Jump and Pole Vault and third in the Senior Boys Discus, and also part of Wellington’s 4x100m relay team that won silver.
The 4x100m team also included Kapiti College’s Jordan Stewart, who won the Senior Boys 100m as a year 12.
For now, louis’ sole focus is rugby. “Then after that, I will get into athletics training and look forward to the New Zealand Secondary Schools meet, which is being held in Wellington in early December.”
This will be his first NZSS Track and Field Championships appearance as well.
He will also look to keep playing cricket for for the Premier 2 cricket Kapiti College First XI. Unsurprisingly he is all-rounder.
This year’s College Sport Wellington Regional Cross Country Boys U19 winner Will Anthony has plenty left in this tank.
The year 11 Scots College runner in his first season as a senior shot to the front of last Wednesday’s 6km race and won by 36 seconds to the second placed finisher, Finn Seeds of Hutt International Boys’ School and with Thomas Strawbridge of St Pat’s Silverstream just behind in third.
“I was hoping to win, but I didn’t think it would be by that much,” said Will. “I was pretty surprised with the margin of victory.”
The race at Harcourt Park, Upper Hutt was a three-lap 2km undulating course.
“A few people sat on my shoulder for the first lap and then at the start of the second lap I started pulling a lead and then by the end of the second lap I was quite a way clear.”
There were 40 runners in the Senior Boys race, with Jack Paine (fifth) and Callum Hancock (seventh) two other Scots College runners that finished in the top 10. Scots won the three-person teams race, with Wellington College second and also taking the six-person teams honours.
Despite moving up from the Intermediate ranks for the first time, Will was familiar with some of his rivals. “I raced against Thomas Strawbridge a few times earlier this year and against him at the University Relays [harriers event, for the Olympic club] a few weeks back and I have run against Finn Seeds for a number of years as he is just one school year older.”
Will and Finn also train together, both under the guidance of coach Alastair Leslie.
One of Will’s next major goals is attending the NZSS Cross Country Championships in Timaru on 15-16 June.
“I will be aiming for top five, and then hopefully to be picked for the Australian Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships in August.”
Will finished fifth in the Junior Boys race last year in Taupo.
He also has a promising career on the track in the summer months, with his main event being 3000m and also running 1500m. His PBs for both are 4.06 minutes and 8.46 minutes respectively.
He did both events at the recent Wellington Regionals and North Island Secondary School Championships events in the Intermediate grade. “Unfortunately I was a bit sick, I managed to win the 3000m and 1500m at Regionals and then at the North Islands I came third in the 3000m and second in the 1500m.
He also went to the New Zealand Track and Field Nationals in Christchurch, coming second in the 1500m and mid-field in the 3000m, competing in the U18 grade.
He is looking forward to the chance of competing at home at Newtown Park at this December’s NZSS Track and Field Championships.
Will started running when he was eight and his family are supportive. “My granddad also used to do some longer races and marathons so I got some of it from him.”
What about other sports? “I used to play rugby but stopped two years ago to focus on my running. I used to play other sports too like water polo.”
Has Will managed to catch up with new student and sprinter Eddie Osei Nketia?
“I have met him at school but I don’t train a lot with school so I haven’t trained with him or anything.”
Will trains six times a week, consisting of three long runs and three interval sessions and Sunday mornings the gym with his coach.
A favourite place for Will to running is the Port Hills in Christchurch, when he goes there to see his family.
Click here for the Results – 2019 CSW Secondary School Cross Country Champs
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