A team of Rathkeale College runners spearheaded by Senior Boys U19 winner Max Spencer were in good form at Wednesday’s College Sport Wellington Secondary Schools Road Running Championships. Spencer was a comfortable Senior Boys U19 winner on the clock, but a group of chasers headed by second placed finisher Toby Gualter of Tawa College gave him a tough race.
“It was a pleasing result and that was the first road race I had done in probably a year and a half,” Max said. “It was supposed to be a bit of a tempo run, I didn’t expect to be in the mix for the win.”
As well as Max, Rathkeale’s Kosta Mills finished third in the U16 Boys race, while Rathkeale’s year 9 team won their 3-person teams race just ahead of St Pat’s Silverstream. With 33 starters at the Trentham course, the Boys year 9 race was the biggest field of the day. The Senior Boys race was 6km and run over four 1.5km laps, which also suited Max. “Being used to track racing, it was nice to get that lap feel and hear the cheering from the Rathkeale boys when we ran past every time. I have also run a few 1500m races before so it was nice to get the split as I went past too.” Max explained how the race panned out.
“In the beginning there was quite a big pack of us, then after the first lap four of us pulled away. That was me Toby Gualter, Liam Chesney [St Pat’s Town] and one of the Silverstream runners.
“With about one lap to go it came down to three –Liam, Toby and myself – and I overtook Liam and then it became just me and Toby with about 1200m to go. After that, Toby put on three or four bursts and I didn’t know if I could stay with him and I was hanging on for dear life. He put in a massive burst in this puddle that we went in to and I knew I had to attack at that point and I managed to hold on to win.”
Max praised Toby. “He has only been in the sport for a year and he is an amazing athlete. It was a really impressive race for him and all credit to him, it was a fantastic battle.” Max is working towards a season on the track – with the 800m his specialty event.
“Most of my training is around the 800m and I am focused on that,” he said. “I am trying to get down to sub 1.50m and to 1.48m this coming season. That is the next challenge for me.”
Max, who was Wairarapa Secondary School Sportsperson of the Year in both 2016 and 2017, does most of his training in his home town of Masterton. His coach is Wayne Andrews-Paul, who used to live in the Wairarapa but now for the most part trains his athletes from his new home in the Bay of Plenty. At school, Rathkeale’s sports co-ordinator Scott Day is helping with the running programme and helping to organise the runners to attend as many regional and national events as they can. “We have got a really good influx of junior and intermediate talent at the moment at Rathkeale,” Max said.
Max’s next big meet is the NZSSA Track and Field Championships in Dunedin in December. Last December’s Senior Boys 800m was won in a minor upset by Central Southland College’s Dylan Forde in one of the more stirring races at the meet on Sunday afternoon in searing heat in Hastings. Forde pipped a competitive field at the line, winning the race in 1.54.57, with Macleans College’s Flynn Palmer second in 1.55.10, St Pat’s Town’s Josh Nairne third in 1.55.12 and Sacred Heart College’s Jono Ansley in fourth in 1.55.34.
Max was also in that race. “Unfortunately I had a bit of a shocker. I sort of got lost. With 300m to go they all started kicking and I just couldn’t stay in contention. Dylan ran an incredible tactical race, I watched it back on video and he nearly led from start to finish and still managed to kick at the end.” But Max had a good last half of the season.
“I managed to get my time down to 1.52m, and I managed to finish second at the Track Nationals behind Flynn Palmer [see above]. I tried to go out there and front-run, and it worked well until the last 150m. But Flynn really turned it on and I couldn’t quite keep up.”
Following this coming athletics season, Max is hoping to win a scholarship at a US university from mid-August 2019.
Meanwhile, in the In the Senior Boys teams three-person CSW road race, St Pat’s Town finished first with 21 points and Scots College second with 26 points. In the Senior Girls teams three-person race, Wellington Girls’ College won with 17 points, ahead of Wellington East Girls’ on 20 and Sacred Heart College on 54.
Results at a glance:
Senior Boys 6km (top 10 finishes)
1 324 Max SPENCER Rathkeale College 0:19:56
2 309 Toby GUALTER Tawa College 0:20:10
3 306 Liam CHESNEY St Patrick’s College, Town 0:20:19
4 315 Finn MOLLOY St Patrick’s College, Silverstream 0:20:38
5 326 Thomas STRAWBRIDGE St Patrick’s College, Silverstream 0:20:54
6 329 Mason WATERWORTH St Patrick’s College, Town 0:21:36
7 310 Callum HANCOCK Scots College 0:22:33
8 307 Oliver FAHEY Onslow College 0:22:54
9 328 Patrick WALL Scots College 0:23:09
10 323 George SLADDEN Scots College 0:23:14
Senior Girls U19 4km (top 10 finishes)
1 163 Tessa HUNT Wellington East Girls’ College 0:14:48
2 157 Emma DOUGLASS Wellington Girls’ College 0:15:31
3 158 Charlotte FLOODSMITH-RYAN Chilton St James School 0:15:37
4 166 Jayme MAXWELL Hutt Valley High School 0:15:59
5 160 Hannah GORDON St Mary’s College 0:16:25
6 151 Grace ALLAN St Oran’s College 0:16:40
7 156 Caitlin DOUGLASS Wellington Girls’ College 0:16:43
8 170 Olivia PUGH Wellington Girls’ College 0:17:03
9 171 Amy WALKER Wellington East Girls’ College 0:17:08
10 155 Grace CODY Wellington East Girls’ College 0:17:35
Other individual winners
AWD Girls 1.5km – Eleanor BASSETT Queen Margaret College 0:07:20
AWD Boys 1.5km – Isaiah KOUKA-ALBERT Heretaunga College 0:05:45
Year 9 Girls 3km – Katelyn SCEATS Chilton St James School 0:11:26
Year 9 Boys 3km – Jonah SEEDS Hutt International Boys’ School 0:10:23
Intermediate Girls 3km – Maali KYLE-FORD Wellington East Girls’ College 0:11:03
Intermediate Boys 4km – William ANTHONY Scots College 0:13:21
AWD, Year 9 and Intermediate team winners
AWD Boys – Rongotai College
Year 9 Girls – Wellington East Girls’ College
Year 9 Boys – Rathkeale College
Intermediate Girls – Wellington Girls’ College (3-person and 6-person winner)
Intermediate Boys – Scots College (3-person team)and St Pat’s Silverstream (6-person team)
Ashburton cross country runner Taonga Mbambo’s build-up to the Australian Cross Country Championships took a big leap forward last weekend.
The Ashburton member of the Canterbury University Athletics Club participated at the New Zealand Cross Country Championships as part of the Canterbury athletics team and from a field of 43 runners, finished third in the men’s under-18 race.
He covered the 6km distance is a time of 22.07 minutes to come home with a bronze medal.
With that done, he was now turning his attention to a trip to Australia later this month with the New Zealand secondary schools’ team where he’d compete in the Australian Cross Country Championships.
Mbambo said all he did would not have been possible without the help of the Ashburton community, which had supported him as he set about raising funds to be a part of that team to get to Australia.
It has been a big year for Mbambo.
Earlier this year he broke a record that had stood for 37 years at the Ashburton College athletics finals day, with his new record time of 9.24.8 minutes around six seconds faster than the previous record set by Bruce Gabites.
He then went on to set a new record for the under-19 men’s 3000m at the Aorakis, and at the South Island Secondary School Athletics Championships Mbambo was fourth in the under 19 men’s 3000m, finishing just seconds behind the winner in 9.01.39 minutes. He was also eighth in the 1500m.
At the Ashburton College school cross country he was first to cross the finish line in the 4km senior boys’ race in 12 minutes 47 seconds.
Mbambo was also part of the Ashburton College team that contested the Canterbury secondary schools’ road race in May.
The team was third overall, with Mbambo the fourth individual across the line. His selection into the New Zealand secondary schools’ cross country team to travel to the Australian Championships followed his sixth place finish at the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Cross Country in Taupo where he ran a time of 19.50 minutes.
Mbambo will travel to Australia’s Sunshine Coast in August for the Australian Open and Schools Cross Country Championships later this month.
Article courtesy of the Ashburton Guardian
The NZSSAA Cross Country Team is:
Samuel Tanner Bethlehem College
Liam Back Wanganui Collegiate
Murdoch McIntyre Westlake Boys High School
David Moore Westlake Boys High School
Stuart Hofmeyr Westlake Boys High School
Taonga Mbambo Ashburton College
Zach Bellamy Wanganui Collegiate
Hannah O'Connor Sacred Heart Girls' College (New Plymouth)
Kirstie Rae Wellington East Girls' College
Aimee Ferguson Rototuna Senior High School
Rebecca Baker Whanganui High School
Sarah Lambert Wanganui Collegiate
Olivia Cummings Otumoetai College
Esther Kozyniak St Catherine's College
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