The 94th annual McEvedy Shield athletics competition will be staged at Newtown Park in Wellington next Tuesday.
Wellington College, St. Patrick’s College, Wellington, St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream and Rongotai College are the fierce annual combatants.
The McEvedy Shield features four age groups, under-14,15, 16 and open. Ten track disciplines and six field events are held. Points are rewarded on a 4-1 basis for every event with the winner receiving four points.
Who is looking strong in 2017?
Has won the Shield a record 50 times. The sheer size of the school role, nearly double the other schools, is a significant advantage.
Last year Wellington won by 61 points, the biggest victory since 2004 suggesting athletics is strong in Wellington’s Sesquicentennial year.
Wellington’s all-round excellence was the key ingredient in their 2016 triumph. Wellington won 22 of the 51 events staged. They won at every age group, with the under-14s grabbing 52 points, the under-15’s getting 44 and the open level 50. The under-16’s scored 75 points! Second place Town could only manage 43 points and the other two schools struggled to reach double figures.
The performances of juniors, Felix Williamson and Harry Jones were memorable. Williamson smashed the field in the under-14 1500m and 3000m. Jones won the under-14 400m, 800m and hurdles.
Joshua Williams is one to look out for in the U14 100m. He won this by a considerable margin last year as a 12 year old but is eligible to run in this grade again. Last year he placed second in the 100m at the North Island Secondary School Championships and made the final of the National Secondary Schools Championships. He will also compete in the shot put.
Joshua Morgan-Ranui was a bronze medallist two years ago in the National Secondary Schools Javelin and will be favoured to win that event for a third year in a row.
The team is captained for the second year by Liam Webb who is ranked in the top 10 nationally in the 400m.
St. Pats Town
Town has won the Shield five times in the last nine years and 20 times overall. There was a distinct impression 2016 was the last year of a great era in Town athletics – the depth coming through lacked the quality of the previous class.
However Town won the Old Boys Cup against Silverstream by 113 points, nearly double the margin they achieved in 2016. Town won 44 out of 54 events in total.
Yasheek Rosario is Town’s captain. The sprinter is ranked in the top five nationally for the 100 and 200m. He should win the open events.
Town appears to have considerable strength on the track. Joshua Nairne won the three events at the Old Boys Cup and will push hard in the 200 and 400m. Similarly Isaac Oliver completed the 100/200m double at Old Boys and is a rapidly improving performer.
Long distance runner Max Karamanolis has enjoyed success previously at McEvedy and will be hard to beat in the U16 1500m and 3000m
Last year Zion Trigger Faitele and Josiah Lealamisa claimed record wins in the shot put; expect this pair to flourish again and Herman Seumanufagai is a standout in discus and javelin.
St. Pats Silverstream
Hasn’t won the Shield since 2003, but has prevailed 14 times overall and holds the record for most consecutive wins with six between 1968 and 1973.
Silverstream claimed the Junior Neville Shield against St. Pats Town last year raising hopes of a competitive showing at the Old Boys Cup, but Stream was humiliated by an embarrassing 113 points.
Silverstream have lost middle distance runner Max Press and sprinter Jacob Minshull who were both ranked inside the top 10 nationally in 2016.
Eddie Korent is Silverstream’s captain. He was a national high jump champion two years ago (competing for HIBS) and should bag a few points.
Fakaofo Solomona is an impressive young prospect. He won the U14 100, 200 and 400 meters at Old Boys while Mitchell Southell won the 100/200m double in the U15 age group.
Euan Kortink, Todd Svenson and Josh McGregor are other individuals to watch.
Hasn’t performed well for a long time finishing last 18 times in 19 years. However Rongotai holds the record for the largest victory ever in 1989 and has won the Shield seven times overall.
Several Rongotai athletes have been training since before Christmas in a hope to reverse their fortunes.
The team is led by Sen Chut of Cambodian background. He will compete in the 100m, long jump, triple jump, shot put and relay.
Ezrah Vaigafa is a National U16 basketball rep whose aerial prowess will translate well in the high jump.
Reon Paul is the nephew of All Black TJ Perenara and will compete in the U16 100 and 200m as well as the relay.
Billy King is another fine sprinter in the U14 age group. King will feature in the 100,200 and 400m.
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