Zoe Hobbs will be aiming for her fourth straight win in the sprints at the New Zealand secondary schools track and field championships at the Aorangi Stadium in Timaru this weekend.
The 18 year old from New Plymouth Girls’ High School won the junior girls sprint double in 2012 and the senior double for the last two years. Hobbs who has a best 100m of 11.76 and 200m of 24.01 is also the New Zealand junior women’s 100m, 200m and long jump champion.
Pressing Hobbs hard in both the 100m and 200m finals will be the Havelock North flyer Georgia Hulls, the junior girls double sprint champion for the last two years and the New Zealand youth sprint champion. Hulls has best times of 11.85 and 24.09. Given favourable conditions they could be knocking on the door of the long standing 100m record of 11.66 by Kim Robertson in 1973 and the 200m record of 23.91 by April Brough in 2002.
Christina Ashton and Phoebe Edwards will have matched hurdles in the 100m hurdles final on Sunday morning an hour prior to the 100m final.
Heading the senior boys sprints will be Ethan Holman, Jordan Bolland, Jonty Morison and Bailey Cotton. As in most years the senior boys 400m will be keenly contested. Alex Haye and Harry Symes both with times just under 49 seconds will face the younger up and coming sprinter Oliver Miller who has clocked 48.91 this season.
Miller, who will also contest the 300m hurdles, said that his focus has been on the schools championships.
“I haven’t stopped training since the North Islands here in April. I’ve been going hard all winter and really looking forward to the first big comp of the season,” he said.
“In the 400m you’ve got Alex and Harry both run the 49 flat mark and that’s where it’s going to be, they’re big boys I’m going to have to work hard against them. They’re year 13’s ending so it’s going to be hard, they’re older than me,” he added.
The senior girls 400m should be a three way battle between Alison Andrews-Paul with a best of 56.35, Amanda Fitisemanu 55.91 and Shannon Gearey 55.36.
Lucy Jacobs lines up against Ari Graham, Arianna Lord and Isobel Hegan in the senior girls 800m.
Jacobs who has a best of 2:09.91 has just come through a solid winter of training.
“I’ve had a perfect winter, I changed coaches (now with Maria Hassan) and I was really happy with that and I’ve sort of changed the way I train so I’m really happy with the change and I think this season is going to be a good one,” she said after a final work out on Saturday.
Jacobs will decide after the 800m whether she will contest the 1500m.
A good field of Harry Ewing, Daniel Hintz, Matthew Manning, Tom Moulai, James Harsveld and Jonathan Ansley will contest the senior boys 800m.
Ewing will also be doubling up at the championships in the 1500m and will take on the rapidly improving Guy Kilmister, James Uhlenberg and Theo Quax.
Schools cross country champion Conal Wilson will face a tough race against Cameron Avery, Oliver Chignell and Jacob Holmes in the 3000m while Sophie Rees should fight out the senior girls 3000m with Emerson Deverell.
Jack Beaumont national junior men’s 3000m steeplechase champion will be defending his 2000m steeplechase title and in the process give Geoff Shaw’s 1975 record of 5:52.90 a nudge. World youth championships representative Kelsey Forman should win the girls 2000m steeplechase. Leading runners in the road races are Uhlenberg in the boys 6km and Hanna English in the girls 4km.
Ben Power will be in action in the shot put, discus throw and hammer throw as will Scott Gregory and Hugh McLeod-Jones. Ryan Ballantyne who extended his Waikato Bay of Plenty under 18 record to 19.50m on Sunday should dominate the shot put. Kai Mason is down for the shot, discus and javelin throw.
David Van Den Bogaard the national junior champion will be up against the national youth champion Arnold Fage and the in-form Alex Mander in the triple jump. Kamal Patwalia who has cleared 7.06m this season should win the long jump.
James Steyn, Alex Mander and Ben Kennedy will feature in the pole vault, while in the high jump Dean Van der Busse should clear over two metres for the title.
Emma Kruszona has the senior girls hammer title in her sights along with Amber-Lee Brown who is also contesting the shot put and javelin throw. Maddison Wesche should win the shot put, Larissa McKewen is the leading competitor in the discus throw as is Eliza Harris in the javelin throw.
Atipa Mabonga is entered in the triple and long jumps. Last year in Wanganui Mabonga set a senior girls record of 12.21m in the triple jump and was second on countback to Edwards in the long jump with 5.80m. Emma Hopcroft third last year, Edwards and Mabonga should battle out the long jump title again.
The championships, held over three days will feature 1200 athletes from 194 schools.
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