Cameron Avery found an extra gear over the summer.
He left school at Christchurch’s Cashmere High School at the end of last year and promptly went on a winning spree, capturing the ‘triple crown’ of New Zealand distance U20 track events – the national junior 3,000m, 5,000m and 10,000m titles.
“The recent track season was my most successful one ever,” Cameron said. “Traditionally track hasn’t been my best as there’s faster guys and I really needed to grind out races. Usually I have to race 3,000m or longer to really hit my straps and get a rhythm going.”
“Over the summer I managed to increase my finishing speed and I won those three events over a two month period.”
He rated winning the first one of the three, the 3,000m in Hastings, as the most satisfying because it was his breakthrough track title and because he wasn’t expected to win.
Cameron beat a pair of young athletes who are still at school into second and third to win the 3,000m title, Isaiah Priddey (Hamilton Boys’ High School) and James Uhlenberg (Sacred Heart College), who had beaten Avery in the NZSS race just a few weeks previously.
The 3,000m race played into his hands. “I’ve always had a fatal flaw of leading and then being like the sacrificial lamb at the end. The previous week I had run a race in a PB in which we went out really slowly and then we closed faster than I had ever done before and it seemed like I had put in half the effort.”
“Then the National title race was slowing up as well but at the 2km mark I put my head down and never looked back and hoped for the best.”
Crossing the tape as the winner gave him extra confidence and motivation to go on and win his more favoured national title races, the 10,000m and 5,000m ones in that order.
Most recently he competed in the Christchurch Half Marathon, finishing fifth overall in 1.09.21 (winner’s time 1.06.34).
“I was hoping to be a little bit faster, but unfortunately I had to stop about 200 metres from the finish to empty the contents of stomach – I had breakfast a bit too soon!
“I was still really happy with how I went. It is definitely something I am considering doing a lot more competitively in the future.”
What was a highlight from his secondary school running career?
“Making my first ever New Zealand team in Year 11 [in 2013]. I had only been training properly for about a year. I managed to hang on to the top senior boys at the NZSS cross country champs, which were on my home turf in Christchurch.
“It had been confirmed the night before that they weren’t going to be sending a NZSS to Israel for the World Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships - and qualifying for that team had been my goal. But I did qualify for the squad to Australia later that year, and subsequently made that team the next two years as well.”
Cameron has been running all his life, but he also credits where he lives as a big factor in his development.
“My house is literally right at the base of the Port Hills. I have got the luxury of stepping out the door in training and taking the flat road or the hills or both.”
“My main training partner Joey Dwyer only lives nearby and we improved greatly together in our last two years at school.”
Cameron’s coach is 1960 Olympic bronze medallist Barry Magee and mentor to several well-known New Zealand runners.
He admires Nick Willis. “I have had the honour of meeting him a couple of times. It was a real highlight to race him for the first time in the Christchurch Street Mile. All us juniors wanted a slow race so we could stay with all these top world ranked milers for as long as possible – we were lucky there as it didn’t kick off until about 500m to go!
“Nick has always been an inspiration for me, as well as a couple of local athletes like Rosa Flanagan.”
Cameron has been rewarded with a four-year USA university scholarship. “I’m heading to Stonybrook University on Long Island near New York, and I’ll be competing in cross country and both indoor and outdoor track and field.”
Academically he is looking at doing health science, but exactly what is not confirmed as their relevant qualifications vary to New Zealand’s.
Before he leaves, he’s aiming to compete in the National Cross Country Championships in Auckland in early August. “That will be my last race in New Zealand before I head overseas.”
Between now and then he’s in full training mode, currently running about 120km a week as well as doing some recreational fitness like going on mountain biking excursions across the hills with his mates.
For more information about scholarships for elite athletes CLICK HERE
One week after claiming seven out of nine titles at the Auckland Secondary School Cross Country Championships, the Westlake Cross Country team travelled to Rotorua for the highly anticipated New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships.
Racing against the best athletes in the country, Westlake lived up to its reputation of being one of the top performing Cross Country schools in the country, winning two of the three individual national titles as well as four from six titles on offer in the team events.
Having finished runner-up for the last three years after winning the title in the 2012 junior event, Westlake Boys 2014 Sportsman of the Year, seventh form student Dan Hoy, took out top spot in the senior event, clocking a time of 19:22 for the 6km distance. Dan ran at the font of the field for the entire race, before attacking on the penultimate hill of the final lap, deservedly taking gold to finish off his Secondary Schools Cross Country chapter in style.
After his third podium placing last year, fourth form student Murdoch McIntyre made it two wins for Westlake Boys, taking the junior boys race by four seconds from the silver medallist. Murdoch’s winning time was 13:19 for the 4km distance.
Westlake’s Medal Haul
Senior Boys Champion: Dan Hoy
Junior Boys Champion: Murdoch McIntyre
Year 9 Three Person Team Champions
Year 9 Six Person Team Champions
Junior Three Person Team Champions
Junior Six Person Team Champions
Senior Three Person Team Runners Up
Following on from their outstanding performance on the Saturday thirteen members of the team represent North Harbour at the NZ Teams Cross Country Relays on the Sunday. The North Harbour Junior boys’ team consist of five Westlake runners and walked away with the National Title. Junior team members were; Murdoch McIntyre, David Moore, Stuart Hofmeyr, Josh Spraggon, Nikola Sovljanski and Zach Keenan. In the Year 9 grade North Harbour placed runners-up with four of the five runners coming from Westlake. The Year 9 team members were; Jude Darby, Blair Hill, Matt Gould, JJ Weston and Callum Hockey (Rangitoto)
In 2015 NZSS Rugby Union found itself dealing with claims around cheating and inadequate management/ administration processes for the prestigious Top 4 competition.
It would be hard to argue that the top two teams in the country did not play in the final, but what was clear is that the final was overshadowed by allegations, reviews and judgements.
In October 2015 an independent investigation was completed by Peter Dale, with the following recommendations CLICK HERE.
Since then, the NZSRU have undertaken a comprehensive review of the Rules and Regulations for the National 1st XV Championships for Boys, Co-Educational Schools and Girls. As a result of the review, the NZSRU has now released new rules, ensuring alignment with those of the NZ Secondary Schools Sports Council.
The new rules cover player and team eligibility including timely disclosure of relevant documentation by both schools and NZSRU and complaints/disputes/non-compliance processes including sanctions, clarification of roles and responsibilities and appeals processes. In addition, the review identifies specific matches that will be managed under the jurisdiction of the NZSRU.
Regional Championship Coordinators (listed below) have been appointed to oversee and manage the preliminary components of the competition in each of the four regions and a National Championship Manager has been appointed to oversee the Semi-Finals in the Blues, Chiefs and Hurricanes franchises and the South Island Final between the Crusaders and Highlanders – as well as assist where required on any regional matters.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SET OF RULES
National Coordinator: Stephen Kissick
Blues: Jim Lonergan
Chiefs: Jamie Davis
Hurricanes: Nick Reid
South Island Schools: Geoff Steyn
Report originally published on New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council http://www.nzsssc.org.nz
Congratulations to the students below who have been selected in the NZSSAA Cross Country team for 2016!
Tessa Webb - Feilding High School
Amelia Persson - Christchurch Girls High School
Ari Graham - St Andrew's College
Samantha Burke - Mt Aspiring College
Tessa Hunt - Wellington East Girls' College
Akeira Worthington - Christchurch Girls High School
Bridie Edwards - Waimea College
Lily Trotter - Christchurch Girls High School
Hannah O'Connor - Sacred Heart Girls' College (New Plymouth)
Daniel Hoy - Westlake Boys High School
Angus White - New Plymouth Boys High School
Goiteom Gebremedihin - Papanui High School
Jared Lautenslager - Garin College
Christian Conder - Wanganui Collegiate
Mitchell Small - St Andrew's College
Isaiah Priddey - Hamilton Boys High School
To read more about the recent Nationals check out the competition report HERE
In 2012 Daniel Hoy from Westlake Boys’ High School was locked in an epic duel with St. Kentigern’s Matthew Manning for the National Secondary Schools’ junior cross country title. Hoy was the defending champion and the two novice combatants were neck and neck heading into the final 100-metres. Hoy recalls what happened next.
“We approached a corner with about 80 metres to go and I tried to slip past him, but I stumbled and fell over. I got up again but Manning got the break he needed and won.”
Hoy would finish second twice more, a source of major frustration. In his final year at school Hoy was determined to avoid the tag of perennial bridesmaid at the Agrodome in Rotorua. What changes did he make to his training approach?
“Last year I had an overseas campaign after Nationals so I was training real hard and in hindsight I was a bit burnt out. This year’s build up wasn’t easy, but it was less intense than 2015. I was more relaxed,” Hoy admits.
The course was also favourable for the type of race Hoy likes to run.
“There were a couple of hill climbs, one steep and one mild. I like a course with a couple of hills,” Hoy says.
Hoy expected fierce resistance from Mitchell Small (St. Andrew’s College), but the South Island Champion faded badly in the last 800m leaving New Plymouth’s Angus White as the nearest rival.
“I didn’t know a lot about Angus which was interesting. He was a tough opponent. He pushed me hard, but I had a strong finish,” Hoy says.
Hoy crossed the line in 19.22, eleven seconds ahead of White and well clear of Goiteom Gebremedhin (Papanui) in third.
Murdoch McIntyre made it two wins for Westlake Boys, taking the junior boys race by four seconds from Luke Hill (Waitara) and Liam Chesney (St Pat’s Town). McIntyre’s winning time was 13:19 for the 4km distance.
Laurence Pithie (Christchurch Boys) took out the Year 9 boys 3km title in 9:58 from Finn Seeds (Hutt International) and Jeremy Burke (McLean’s College).
Hoy will soon head to Japan and Singapore to compete in two Asian Cup open races in preparation for the World Championships in Mexico.
“I bombed at the World’s last year so I am determined to have a good race. I have another year in the under-19 age group. My goal is to achieve a top five finish and these races in Asia will be good preparation for the heat expected in Mexico,” Hoy concludes.
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