St Peter’s School, Cambridge student Charli Miller returned to class this week a national champion, having won the Girls Year 9 race at the National Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships in Rotorua on Saturday.
Charli, who is also the Year 9 Girls North Island 1,500m and 3,000m athletics track champion, won her 3km race in exactly 11.00 minutes, ahead of Briana Irving (Gisborne Girls’ High School) in 11.04 and Olivia Cummings (Otumoetai College) in 11.17.
Charli went into the race hoping to do well, after also winning the recent Waikato-Bay of Plenty Secondary School Cross Country title.
“Heading into the race I knew I had a chance to finish up the field, but I wasn’t too sure how it was going to go,” she said.
She credited her pre-race tactics for helping her win.
“Since this was my first national secondary school race, I concentrated more on trying to win rather than running to break a certain time.
“My plan was to try and stay behind the frontrunner for most of the race and then to kick off with about 300m to go using the downhill section, which worked really well for me.”
She benefited from having won the recent Waikato-Bay of Plenty race on the same course. “It definitely helped knowing what tactics to use, because I knew what parts would be good to take off on.”
Going by the times in the two races, her win would’ve also placed her third in the Junior Girls (U16) race over the same distance, which saw winner Hannah O’Connor (Sacred Heart, New Plymouth) in a league of her own in covering the 3km in 10.28.
On Sunday, Charli backed up the individual race win with a blistering run in the five x 2000m regional relays. Including the senior runners, Hannah was the fastest of all the girls, but Charli was second fastest. Charli’s Waikato-Bay of Plenty Year 9 team came second in their relay.
St Peter’s sent 30, mainly junior, athletes to Rotorua last weekend, out of a national total of over 950 competitors.
Lochie Montgomerie finished 10th in the Junior Boys race, running 30 seconds faster than the week before at the Waikato-Bay of Plenty race.
The rest of Charli’s teammates that made up the Year 9 girls team finished fifth in the 6-person team category. Their Junior Boys 6-person team finished 10th overall and our Junior Girls 3-person team 10th overall. Charli, Lochie and Monique Macdonald were selected in Sunday’s regional relay team.
As well as running, Charli is also a cyclist and plans on competing in the North Island Secondary Schools Cycling Championships and then later in the year the NZ Secondary Schools Duathlon Championships.
“I have done cycling for two years, which I use for cross training for running and also for duathlon and a bit of individual road racing.
She started duathlon last year and has recently started swimming to start competing in triathlons. She also plays left wing for the St Peter’s Junior A football team.
Then there’s the track running as well. “In summer I just focus on the track, I train more for the 1,500m and 3,000m events.” Last December she broke a 30 year old 1,500m record at the Waikato Intermediate Schools Championships.
Additionally, she’s a track hurdler. “That helps at the end of my longer races when I’m trying to out-sprint people, and also helps with the steeplechase which I want to get into when I get a bit older.”
As well as training and practicing, she concedes she’s getting busy. “I’m going to keep trying to do everything but as I get older or if I get more serious I feel like I am going to have to try and put some things on hold.”
Charli started running when she was young, winning her first inter-school primary school race in Year 4.
Charli thanked the people helping her. “I’d like to thank Tainui, which has given a lot of support for my running, my family, my coach John Tylden and also the St Peter’s Cross Country squad, which helped me with my training as well.”
NZ SS XC Senior Boys
1 Daniel Hoy (Westlake Boys HS)
2 Angus White (New Plymouth Boys HS) 19:33,
3 Goiteom Gebremedhin 19:42.
NZ SS XC Senior Girls
1 Tessa Webb 14:43 (Feilding High School),
2 Amelia Persson 14:45 (Christchurch Girls High),
3 Ari Graham 14:49 ,
4 Samantha Burke (Mt Aspiring College) 14:51
5 Tessa Hunt (wellington East Girls) 14:56
NZ SS XC Junior Boys
1 Murdoch McIntyre 13:19 (Westlake Boys High),
2 Luke Hill 13:23 (Waitara High School),
3 Liam Chesney 13:28 (St Patrick’s Kilbirnie),
4 Theodore Purdy 13:31 (Freyberg High School)
5 Dylan Lynch (Wellington College) 13:37
NZ SS XC Junior girls
1 Hannah O'Connor 10:28 (Sacred Heart Girls NP),
2 Liliana Braun 10.53 (Cashmere High School),
3 Kirstie Rae 11:02 (Wellington East Girls),
4 Aimee Ferguson (Rotorua Junior High School) 11:18
5 Lucy Rowe (Mahurangi College) 11:19
NZ SS XC Year 9 boys
1 Laurence Pithie (Christchurch BHS) 9:58,
2 Finn Seeds 10:04 (Hutt International BS),
3 Jeremy Burke 10:24 (Macleans College),
4 Felix Williamson 10:26 (Wellington College)
5 Mitch Snell 10:26 (Lindisfarne College)
NZ SS XC Year 9 girls
1 Charli Miller 11:00 (St Peters School),
2 Briana Irving 11:04 (Gisborne Girls High School),
3 Olivia Cummings 11:17.
Daniel Hoy took it to the next level in his final crack at the NZ Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships in Rotorua today, finally winning gold after four years of silver medals.
The Westlake Boys High School athlete ran at the font of the field for the entire race, before attacking on the penultimate hill of the final lap, recording 19:22 for the 4km distance.
Mitchell Small (St Andrews) kept him company on the first two laps, but wilted near the end, while Angus White (New Plymouth Boys) finished strongly to claim second place. Goiteom Gebremedhin (Papanui) also finished well for third.
Tessa Webb from Fielding High School won the senior girls race from Amelia Persson (Christchurch Girls) and Ari Graham (St Andrews).
Webb also ran in the leading bunch before getting away from Persson and going on to win by two seconds in 14:43.
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 Pats Kilbirnie). McIntyre's winning time was 13:19 for the 4km distance.
The most dominant run came from New Plymouth Girls High athlete Hannah O'Connor in the junior girls 3km, winning in 10:28 with a margin of 25 seconds from Liliana Braun (Cashmere) and Kirstie Rae (Wellington East Girls).
Laurence Pithie (Christchurch Boys) took out the Year 9 boys 3km title in 9:58 from Finn Seeds (Hutt International) and Jeremy Burke from McLean’s College.
The winner of the Year 9 girls race was Charli Miller (St Peter's School) from Brianna Irving (Gisborne Girls) and Olivia Cummings (Otumoetai).
Anton Besseling (New Plymouth Boys) and Siobhan Terry (Rotorua Lakes) were winners in the Para athlete championships.
Over 950 athletes from 120 schools took part in the championships, in their 43rd year, at the Agrodome in Rotorua.
The 43rd New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships are this coming weekend at the Agrodome, Lower A&P Oval, Rotorua.
This is one of the biggest events on the secondary school calendar, with some 960 runners from 120 schools throughout New Zealand taking part.
A number of individual and team winners will be crowned. The races are Year Nine boys and girls 3,000m, U16 Junior girls 3,000m, U16 Junior boys 4,000m, Senior girls 4,000m, Senior boys 6,000m and the combined Junior and Senior para races of 2,000 each.
A 24-strong New Zealand Cross Country paper team (12 boys, 12 girls) will be selected afterwards, with these runners eligible to travel to Canberra in August for the 2016 Australian Secondary Schools Championships.
With some 240 runners the Senior Boys race will draw the largest field of the day, with several noted contenders expected to battle it out for 2016 title honours.
Hamilton Boys High School’s Isaiah Priddey will be all out to add the senior boys’ cross country title to the junior boys’ title he won last year. He will be up against the inform Dan Hoy from Westlake Boys. Hoy was second last year to Conal Wilson in the senior boys and last week had no trouble winning the Auckland schools title at Pukekohe.
A strong field has entered with Max Karamanolis, James Uhlenberg, Nick Moulai, Jacob Holmes, Angus White, Stefan Przychodzko, Bradley Christison, Theo Quax and Jared Lautenslager all capable of a podium finish.
Katherine Badham (Takapuna Grammar) should have a heads up in the senior girls 4000m. Triathlete Badham won the Auckland title from Maiya Christini (St Mary’s Auckland) and Georgia Clode (Baradene College) who will also be racing in Rotorua.
Others who will up with the pace from the start will be Amelia Persson (Christchurch Girls), second in the junior girls last year, Tessa Hunt, Tessa Webb, Catrin Dawson, Grace Ritchie, Alice Bird, Gina Butler, Isabella Robinson, Bridie Edwards and former junior winner Ari Graham.
Hannah O’Connor (New Plymouth Girls) should successfully defend her junior title ahead of Phoebe McKnight (Hutt Valley High School) and Liliana Braun (Cashmere High School).
The year nine girls should go to Charli Miller (St Peter’s Cambridge) from Lucy Burrell (Baradene College) and Esther Kozyniak (St Catherine’s).
Leading contenders in the junior boys race include Jaxon Taylor (Southland Boys), Murdoch McIntyre (Westlake Boys) and Ayrton Shadbolt (St Andrews).
Jude Darby (Westlake Boys) and Jamie Robertson (Kings College) should continue their rivalry in the year nine boys race.
Three and six person teams champions will also be crowned.
As well as the NZSS Cross Country Championships on Saturday, the inaugural New Zealand Schools Cross Country Relay Championships are being run on Sunday. Selected athletes in this race have the opportunity to represent their region competing in a five-person relay team in each of the year 9, junior and senior grades.
Last year’s individual race winners were:
The Westlake Cross Country Team had a very successful day at the Auckland Secondary School Cross Country Champs on Thursday 9 June in Pukekohe.
The team of 55 boys won seven of the nine Auckland Titles on offer over a tough hilly course in windy conditions.
In the Junior grade the team won both the three and six person team titles with six runners finishing in the top thirteen. Judy Darby finished runner-up over the 4km course with Blair Hill 4th and JJ Weston in 6th place. They were well supported by Matt Gould 9th, Ben Lewis 10th and Arsh Kazi in 13th.
In the Intermediate grade over 4km Murdoch McIntyre finished first leading the team to a three and six person team victory. With 115 runners in the race the Westlake team had six runners in the top 16. Murdoch was well supported by David Moore 3rd, Jesper Bengtsson 9th, Josh Spraggon 12th, Nikola Sovljanski 14th and Daniel Robertson 16th.
Racing against the very best in Auckland the Senior Boys won the three person title. Dan Hoy won the Senior grade 6km race with teammate Joseph Clark runner-up and Bradley Hall in 5th. Strong performances from Euan Grigor 16th, Oliver Heal 19th and Oscar England 23rd led to a second place finish for the six person team.
The team look forward to continue their success in the upcoming New Zealand Cross Country Championships in Rotorua on the 18th June.
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