The Solo family is one of the most accomplished families in Wellington secondary school sport.
Bernadine and Priscilla Solo attend St Catherine’s College where Priscilla is the sports captain. Both girls have won National titles in athletics and represented Wellington in age- group rugby.
Brother Roderick Solo attends Scots College and is quickly forging a big reputation in both codes as well.
At last year’s National Secondary Schools Athletics Championships in Auckland, Roderick won the junior hurdles and long jump titles and finished third as the youngest competitor in the triple jump. Roderick is humble about his National title triumphs.
“It was good winning, but I could only do it with the support of my family, friends and coach. It was a tough race and I was lucky Dominic Overend [Auckland Grammar School] tripped over the last hurdle. I think I was just ahead of him heading into the last jump, but it was close,” he recalls.
Roderick would beat Overend in the long jump, leaping 6.54m as opposed to the former’s 6.52m.
In the triple jump Roderick narrowly failed to achieve a gold medal.
“The lead changed lots and I was in the lead after my second to last jump. Unfortunately the two older boys out jumped me in the last round,” Roderick reflects.
Callum Stewart from St. Andrew College was the eventual victor.
Roderick is a member of the Wellington Harriers club and has carried on his top form in 2017 ahead of the major regional meetings in March and April.
The twice North Island Secondary Schools triple jump champion won the long jump and hurdles titles at the Interprovincial championships in January and can now cover the 100m in a brisk 11.2 seconds.
That searing pace will excite the Scots College First XV who were a major disappointment last year failing to reach the semi-finals of Premier One after twice contesting the National Top Four decider. Roderick made a few appearances in 2016 and typically plays on the wing.
“I think we will have a strong team this year. We basically have everybody back. Some of the players to watch for are Malo Manuao, Tai Neli, Jack Gray and Jack Mexted,” Roderick enthuses.
Roderick wasn’t so keen on the food in Malaysia when he toured the country with a Scots development sevens team last winter.
“All we got was rice and noodles so one day we got takeaways and were the only team eating KFC,” Roderick laughs.
In unfamiliar heat Scots battled to third place. Heading to Samoa to watch the All Blacks play their historic first test in Apia in 2015 presented no such hassles. The Solo family won a competition to attend the game as New Zealand’s craziest rugby supporters.
“That was pretty crazy. We love our sport,” Roderick concludes.
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