Scots College Year 11 athlete Hugo Jones didn’t let pouring rain dampen his delight in winning his first major NZSS athletics title in Inglewood on Saturday.
Hugo won the Senior Boys High Jump, beating his nearest two rivals on countback as rain got steadier throughout the competition.
All three medallists, including second placed Samasoni Hewitt from St Pat’s Silverstream, had a best jump of 1.90m.
“I was the winner on countback as the other two guys had knocked over bars in previous attempts, and I had a clean sheet until we hit the 1.90m level, “Hugo explained. “We then had a rain break, hoping for it to clear at least a small bit but it wasn’t going to, so we all went back out and unsuccessfully tried to go higher.”
“I went into the meet with a goal of clearing two metres, but the increasing heavy rain put paid to that so to win at that height was great. I have been really happy with my form, and I recently cleared my current personal best of 1.96m and have been training hard to improve this.”
Conditions were not too dissimilar to September’s re-scheduled College Sport Wellington Athletics meet at Newtown Park that saw Hugo break the Intermediate Boys High Jump record that had stood since 2009. Hugo leapt 1.91m that day.
Of the other two jumpers who won medals, Samisoni Hewitt from Silverstream is also finishing year 11 and Tia Wynyard from Kaiapoi High School in Canterbury is year 12 – so there could be a healthy rivalry over the next year or two at school athletics level.
Hugo praised his coach, Mike Ritchie. “He is an incredible coach and has helped me so much over the past two years or so in helping me get to where I am.”
This was his second school nationals after his first two years ago (cancelled last year) as a Year 9 saw him narrowly miss out on a medal.
He also had the ever-reliable support of his father on Saturday, whilst his older brother also competed in the Senior Boys Long Jump.
Hugo has been high jumping since year 4 in his first year competing at school athletics. “I managed to win that, then won and kept improving zone and regional wins each year since.”
As well as high jump, Hugo’s other sport of note is floorball.
There is little time for Hugo to rest on his laurels.
On Thursday he is off to Tauranga for a training camp and then to compete in his next competition on Saturday, the Christmas Classic.
Then on to several other of the ‘Classics’ meets over the summer, such as in Whanganui, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay. “I have a very packed school holidays, with several meets planned.”
So that’s also some chances to meet his readjusted goal. “My new goal is now jump 2.05m, so hopefully I get that soon and that would be pretty cool.
Hugo was one of six College Sport Wellington region athletes to win gold medals over the weekend, with Wellington College’s Corran Hanning winning two events to make it seven first placed finishes overall for capital athletes.
Hanning won both the Para Senior Discus and Shot Put events, setting a meet record in the latter and also finishing sixth in the Open Senior Boys Shot Put.
Four of the other five were also in the field, Upper Hutt College’s Josh Tia won the Para Junior Boys Shot Put. Tia was also second in two other Para events, in the Junior Boys 100m - with him and the winner both setting new NZSS records - and second in the Junior Boys Long Jump.
St Pat’s Silverstream’s Keegan Sharkey was the Junior Boys Javelin winner, winning the event on his final throw.
Hutt Valley High School’s Mikayla Sola won gold in the Senior Girls Hammer. Her winning throw of 45.34m was just 13cm further than the second placed athlete. Sola, this year’s College Sport Wellington Female Athlete of the Year, was also second in the Senior Girls Discus.
Of note, Sola’s younger brother Xavier was third for Rongotai College in two events; the Junior Boys Shot Put and Junior Bous Hammer.
Finally, Wellington’s sole gold medallist on the track was won in the blue-chip Senior Boys 100m on Sunday afternoon by Hutt International Boys’ Tyrone Trego.
Trego scorched down the track to win the 100m in 10.89s, ahead of two Canterbury schools second and third place getters. St Pat’s Silverstream’s Oliver Krijnen was fifth and Paraparaumu College’s Ben Lambert was sixth.
Other Wellington athletes to win medals over the weekend (18 in total) were: Poppy Healy (Wellington Girls’ College) second in the Junior Girls 800m, Alex Hewitt (Silverstream) second in the Senior Boys Hammer, Heath Abbott (Wellington College) second in the Junior Boys Hammer, Nelson Timalu (St Pat’s Town) second in the Junior Boys Shot Put, Ryan Mallon (St Pat’s Town) third in the Senior Boys Triple Jump and Jaguun Gunregjav-Willers (St Pat’s Town) third in the Junior Boys 2000m Steeplechase.
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