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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