A National champion and a South Island champion in two sports in the space of three days.
Year 13 Mount Aspiring College athlete Janus Staufenberg admitted to College Sport Media he was a bit sore, but he was looking forward to his two-week break after his Summer Tournament weekend of success.
Last Thursday and Friday, Janus was in Whanganui at the NZ Schools Triathlon Championships, where he won the Boys U19 individual triathlon, came second in the Boys U19 individual aquathon and picked up another second with his school team in the U19 teams triathlon.
He then flew to Dunedin where he lined up against the best middle distance runners in the South Island and won the SISS U19 1500m race in a record time.
Was it always the plan to compete in the two events? “Not quite, I specifically trained for triathlon and that was what I was targeting to compete at, but I recently ran at the Otago-Southland Regional Athletics Championships and did a pretty flash time there so I thought I might as well give South Islands a go as well.”
What were his expectations? “In the triathlon I was definitely hoping to win. I have been to all the Tri Series races in the summer and have been on the podium a couple of times and have always wanted to win one – so was really stoked to win that.”
Janus won the U19 individual triathlon by 10 seconds to second placed Bradley Cullen of Hamilton Boys’ High School and with James Matthews of Sacred Heart College 12 seconds back in third. In the U19 individual aquathon, Janus’s and Bradley’s places were reversed, while Janus’s Mount Aspiring College teammate Gregor Findlay came third.
“In the 1500m, I had heard of Nick Moulai [from St Bede’s College, who came second] and wanted to give it a crack and see how I went. I just sat behind me and we had a wee sprint off.”
In fact, the 1500m race was a highlight of the SISS meet. Janus and Nick were together all the way out in front until the 200m mark when Janus put on the afterburners and Nick just didn't have the gas over the last 50 metres to stay with him. Both went under the old SISS record, Janus winning in 3.54.37.
Janus, who was born in Germany but has lived in Wanaka his entire life, said he hopes to earn selection in the New Zealand team. “The World Junior Triathlon Championships are in the Netherlands in September.”
There’s also the cross country season coming up, with plans to work towards competing at the NZSS Cross Country Championships in June in Christchurch. Last year as a Year 12, he was the first Otago-Southland runner home in finishing 13th in the Senior Boys race in Rotorua, behind winner and fellow triathlete Dan Hoy of Westlake Boys’ High School.
He didn’t compete at last December’s NZSS Track and Field Championships but is considering competing in this year’s nationals in Hastings, depending on his year pans out.
That also includes his year in the classroom, where he has a busy NCEA coming up in “full on subjects” such as sciences, maths and English.
Other Mount Aspring College athletes to excel at the SISS athletics were Zoe Smith who won the U14 Girls 800m and 1500m races, after breaking long standing records at the recent Otago and Otago-Southland Regional Athletics Championships meetings, and Sammy Burke, who won the Senior Girls 3,000m fresh from finishing second in the 5,000m at the Australian Track and Field Championships.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand