For many years, Napier Boys’ High School was the stronghold of New Zealand secondary school orienteering.
Napier BHS won the NZSS Orienteering Top Boys School title 14 years in a row, one of the most impressive winning streaks of any school in any sport at the national level.
Last year the sky blue of Napier was replaced by a different shade of blue when Mount Albert Grammar School captured the title for the first time.
Last weekend, MAGS successfully defended their title in style at Woodhill Forest and Glenfield College as well as picking up the Boys Premier School title.
“Last year was a big year for us,” said team captain Adam Bateman. “It was going to be the 15th year for Napier to win so it was a pleasant surprise for us to win.”
“This year the orienteering culture at our school has really grown,” added Adam. “After last year’s success we had more people wanting to join and we have really increased our numbers with the juniors especially and this is really great to see.”
“We finished with about 500 points, which was really cool as we finished 160 points ahead of the next school, Havelock North High School.”
The NZSS Orienteering Championships were run over three days, with a three-person teams relay event on Friday, a long race on Saturday and a sprint race on Sunday. Points were accrued for each school in the two individual races as well as the relay.
In Friday’s relay, the MAGS teams won the Junior Boys, Intermediate Boys races and finished first and second in the Senior Boys.
“The course for the seniors on Saturday was about 6km, a bit of a longer run through the forest than the relay. You also accrue points for your school as well as trying to do your best for your individual result. The sprint is more of an urban run, around the school, with points awarded on the same basis as Saturday’s race.”
Team manager Neill McGowan said the school’s success has been a few years in the making.
Former MAGS student and New Zealand representative Kieran Woods has been coaching the boys team since 2016, building depth, consistency and a winning culture.
As well as the boys, the MAGS girls team had a successful weekend.
“The girls finished eighth last year, so we made a goal for them to return this year and finish in the top five,” explained Neill. “They ended up finishing third. Last year they got 107 points and this year they got over 300.”
Baradene College won the Top Girls School title, winning it back after losing last year to fellow Auckland School Diocesan, and also won the Girls Premier School title.
Prior to winning the NZSS title, the MAGS boys team also won the Auckland Relays and shared the North Island regional title this year.
In April, both senior and junior boys teams represented New Zealand at the World Schools Orienteering Championships in Estonia. Both five-member teams qualified for this by winning the NZSS title last year.
“The juniors finished third and the seniors finished ninth,” said Neill.
This follows on from 2017 when the MAGS juniors represented NZ in Italy and finished fifth. That team also won the Fair Play Award in those championships.
“With the World Schools every two years, hopefully it will give the boys a good incentive to win next year and qualify for the World Schools again in 2021,” enthused Adam who is year 13.
Several of the MAGS orienteering athletes are also accomplished in cross country and athletics.
“Luke Clements is one of our intermediate boys, and he actually finished the sprint on Sunday morning and then headed down to Papakura and won the Auckland U16 Road Running Championships in the afternoon,” said Neill.
Luke won the sprint race on Sunday, while MAGS student Mitchell Cooper finished second behind winner Will Tidswell (Havelock North High School) in the Senior Boys long race. Jay McElwee was third in both the Junior Boys long and sprint races.
Orienteering athletes also compete in multisport and adventure racing. “I know many orienteers, especially at other schools, who are big in adventure racing. There is a bit of crossover between the two,” said Adam.
Five MAGS students (Adam Bateman, Mitchell Cooper, Luke Clements, Sam Taylor Sinclair and Daniel Wood) have been selected for the New Zealand Schools team to compete in Australia later this year.
This year’s NZSS Orienteering Championships were livestreamed. Watch highlights of Friday’s relay races and see links to the action on Saturday and Sunday here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b__HAngtTc0
The New Zealand Secondary School Duathlon Championships held in Invercargill this past weekend featured small but highly competitive fields and fast racing under sunny skies at Teretonga Park.
The U19 Boys race was won by James Corbett from St Peter’s School, Cambridge.
James finished ahead of second to sixth placegetters Lachie Baird (Verdon College), Max Erkes (Francis Douglas Memorial College), Laurie Watson (Mt Aspiring College), Jack Staples (St Bede’s College) and Kaleb Hayes (Waitaki Boys’ High School).
The U19 Boys race comprised a two-lap 5km run around the outside 2.6km track, followed by an 8-lap, 20.8km cycle leg around the same course and then the final transition for a two-lap 2.2km inner track run.
James said the race went really well. “ Before the start, I was really nervous as I have raced Jaxon [NZSS U19 Boys triathlon champion out of Southland Boys’ High School, didn't finish this race], Max and Lachie before and know they are strong competitors that have done really well his season and I knew it would be really tough to beat them,” he said.
How did the race pan out? “With a new coach this year I felt confident and wanted to show that. I set off fast in the first run to gain the lead. I was then passed on the bike by Lachie about half way through. I fought hard to stay near him and as I came off the bike I made sure to have a quick transition to be first out on the run. I set off at a fast pace and lucky my legs held to be able to pull away and win the race.”
James said winning this race has given him confidence ahead of the summer season of racing, after winning the NZSS U16 Triathlon last year in Nelson. “A highlight for me was winning NZSS U16 race. I was disappointed with my NZSS triathlon nationals this year, so winning the NZSS duathlon was a boost.”
James finished eighth behind winner Jaxon and with Lachie seventh and Max 10th, at the NZSS U19 triathlon race in New Plymouth in late March,
James has been training hard over winter “ I’ve recently moved coaches to Craig Kirkwood. The training has been great. I typically swim four times a week with Carl Gordon who has helped me a lot and the squad is fun. I bike four times a week and run five times.”
“Luckily being in Cambridge I'm surrounded by amazing athletes that push me and support me to be my best. At St Peter’s there are other students I can train with to keep things interesting and fun.”
James, who is year 12 at St Peter’s, spent several years living overseas, where he started triathlons.
With a New Zealand mother and an Irish dad, he was born in Singapore and did a lot of growing up in Asia. “I started off mad keen on rugby when we were living in Singapore and New Zealand the first time around. But when we left NZ for Manila in 2013 and then on to Singapore in 2015, I found it harder to keep developing in rugby.”
His love for competing in sport saw him turn to swimming and running.
“My love for running started in Manila where I had great support and encouragement from my school coaches and my friends’ parents as I found my feet. I think running is still my strength. When we moved back to Singapore in 2015, I started cycling and completed my first triathlon - on a mountain bike - and loved it.
“I did well on the local scene but decided to move to St Peter’s Cambridge as a boarder to improve and compete more. The first year was tough. Year by year, I have been gaining more experience. There are so many great triathletes in New Zealand every race is a challenge which is fantastic.”
As well as winning the U16 NZSS race in 2018, other highlights were the few ITU races he has competed in and been pleased with his performances for his age. “It certainly is another level of racing and I hope to do more of it. I’ve qualified for both Duathlon and Triathlon age group World Championships this year but not going as I really have to focus on my school work. I loved the age group World Championship experience last year in the Gold Coast.”
In the short term, there is a small break in the triathlon season and he will take this time to get a good base of training in. He will also be participating in a cycling series in the Waikato as part of a team, while he also competes in middle distance running on the athletics track.
James Corbett – last two years achievements:
NZSS National Duathlon U19 - 1st
Tri NZ Duathlon Sprint Champs - 3rd (2nd in age group U19). Qualified Duathlon World Champs
NZSS Triathlon individual U19 - 8th
NZSS National Triathlon U19 team - 1st
Suzuki Tri NZ Sprint champs 16- 19 - 8th. Qualified for age group World Champs
Devonport OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Championship Juniors - 24th
NZSS National Triathlon individual U16 - 1st
Suzuki Tri NZ Sprint champs 16- 19 - 12th; Qualified for age group World Champs
ITU World Champs, Gold Coast U19 - 37th
WBOP SS tri individual and team - 1st
WBOP SS Duathlon individual and team - 1st
WBOP SS cross-country -3rd
Wbop 1500m - 2nd
WBOP 3000m - 2nd
2019 NZSS Duathlon Championships – full results:
17-year-old Alpine ski racer Alice Robinson (Queenstown) has carried through her success from the northern hemisphere season to home snow,
winning the NZ National Women’s Giant Slalom Championship title at her training ground of Coronet
The New Zealand Alpine National Championships hosted by Coronet Peak, the official ski area
partner of the New Zealand Alpine Ski Team, finally got underway in Queenstown today with the
women’s Giant Slalom after heavy snowfalls and poor visibility put racing on hold yesterday
(Saturday 10 August).
Starting from bib seven, Robinson – who is now ranked 10 th in the world for women’s GS – took a
convincing 2.01s lead in run one and stretched it to 3.34s ahead of GB’s Cara Brown on run two.
“I’m really happy,” said Alice. “I knew I could have probably skied a little better in the second run but
I’m just really happy to take away the title.”
The course was set on The Hurdle run where soft snow conditions added a challenge for the racers
with the course getting bumpy and several racers, including defending champion Piera Hudson
Eliza Grigg was the second NZ racer home, finishing in eighth place overall, and Katie Crawford, third
for NZ, 22nd overall.
Whangarei Girls’ High School were thrilled to put their name on a New Zealand Secondary Schools trophy this past weekend, winning their maiden NZSS Squash Championships title in Tauranga.
Whangarei GHS were top seeds heading into the tournament, but they had to be at their best to see off the other leading schools, who included recent champions Palmerston North Girls’ High School (third), Havelock North High School and Westlake Girls’ High School.
Whangarei GHS beat Westlake Girls’ High School in their semi-final tie on Saturday and returned on Sunday to defeat Havelock North Girls’ High School in the final.
It was a team tournament that saw schools play the best of five singles games against each other per tie, with the respective seeded players facing off against each other, i.e. fifth versus fifth and first versus first.
Whangarei captain and the team’s second seed Pippa Saunders said their strength and the key to victory was in their depth of players, having strong players all the way through the squad.
“In past years we have had really strong players, but the depth dropped away a bit at the bottom, but this year we had a team full of B graders so our bottom players won all their games comfortably,” said Pippa.
“It is pretty hard to get a team full of top players, so having that consistency is the key to winning this event,”
The team ranged in age from years 9 to 13, with three year 9 players in the squad including third seed Chelsea Traill who was named in the NZ Junior Girls team after the tournament. Top seed Shea Ferguson is year 11.
Whangarei came second in 2014 and 2015 and finished fifth last year.
Pippa said there was extra expectation on the team heading into the weekend as top seeds.
“We were a bit nervous going into it, being top seeds we were almost supposed to win but we knew it was going to close as the other high ranked schools were really strong as well.”
Whangarei started the tournament with a bye, before beating 17th seeds Papamoa College 5-0, then ninth seeds Tauranga Girls’ College 4-1 before the semi-final and final wins.
“We then won our semi-final 5-0, but we knew our final as going to be really close. Chelsea was up first and we knew that she needed to win because our top player Shea had a tough game and it was going to be hard for her to win. So if Chelsea had lost it would have come down to the last player, who was actually myself.”
Chelsea won her match in three sets against Rakairoa Joyce. Next, Amy Brown won the battle of the fifth seeds 3 sets to 1 to put Whangarei up 2-0. Havelock North’s Jena Gregory beat Shea in three sets to make it 2-1 to Whangarei.
Then the number four players took to the court with the tie still very much alive. Ruby Collins kept to her game plan and won 3-1, sealing the tie for Whangarei Girls’ High School.
The dead rubber match saw Havelock North's Jasmine Roydhouse-Ross beat Pippa 3-0. “I was really relieved when Ruby won her match in four sets – I think I just celebrated a bit too early and lost my focus in my game.”
Pippa said the format of the tournament makes for plenty of excitement. “It is very tense, you are clapping after each point and it is very nerve-wracking at times.”
What happens now? ”We all play in the Northland development squad, and coach Paul Ormsby comes up from Auckland every week. We all play individually in the Northland tournaments but we come together soon for the junior nationals for Northland in individual and team events.”
Pippa said that for herself and Shea, squash is their sole sport but others in the team also play other sports, such as Chelsea who plays both cricket and hockey.
The NZSS Squash Championships attracted some 20 girls schools and 32 boys schools and was played over three days across three different squash clubs in Tauranga.
Mount Albert Grammar School defeated hometown school Tauranga Boys’ College 3-1 in the boys final.
The winning NZSS Whangarei Girls’ High School team was (seeding in brackets):
Shea Ferguson (1), Pippa Saunders (2), Chelsea Traill (3), Ruby Collins (4), Amy Brown (5), Olivia Rhodes (6), Jordyn Chapman (7). Coach: Delwyn Houlihan. Manager: Justine Collins
NZSS squash champions - last 20 years:
This coming September’s Senior Boys NZSS Underwater Hockey tournament at Kilbirnie Pool shapes as one of the most competitive national secondary school sports titles to be contested this year.
Any one of about 10 teams, from the top of the South Island to the top of the North Island, could win, including the leading Wellington schools who filled four of the top five spots at this past weekend’s Central Regional Tournament that was held at the same venue.
Nelson College won both the Junior and Senior Boys titles, with Wellington College teams runners-up in both divisions.
Wellington College Senior A captain Will Durkin praised Nelson College who were something of an unknown to the Wellington teams heading into the tournament.
“We had no idea what they would they were going to be like,” said Will, “ most of us local teams had already played each other multiple times and we all had a pretty good idea of what to expect from most of the teams and the players to look out for.”
“But they put up a good fight, having no previous knowledge themselves of our teams. The final against them was a good game from both sides of the pool.”
Nelson beat Wellington College 4-2 in the Senior Boys final, after coming back from an early 0-1 deficit. One of Nelson’s goals was a penalty shot, which means everyone gets out of the water except for two attackers and one defender and they look to score that way.
Wellington College beat Hutt International Boys’ School in one semi-final and Nelson College beat St Pat’s Town in the other.
Wellington College and HIBS have a healthy local rivalry.
“We have played them several times recently and our results have gone both ways. We would win once, they would win next and then we would win again.”
The local schools play for the Solomon Shield during the regular season, a challenge shield that the holders put up in every game.
“HIBS came into this season with the shield, and then we took it off them and held it for a few weeks, and then literally last week just before the Central Tournament they won it back off us.”
Scots College and St Pat’s Town are also two strong schools in Wellington.
“St Pat’s ended up beating HIBS in the third and fourth playoff and won the bronze medal.”
It’s a similar story in the Northern Zone, where several Bay of Plenty and Auckland schools are all similarly ranked.
Howick College won last weekend’s Northern Zone Tournament, while Tauranga Boys’ College are the defending NZSS Junior Boys and Senior Boys champions, having also won the Senior title in 2017 for the first time.
Wellington College last won the nationals in 2011, but have a successful record, winning the NZSS Senior Boys title 10 times in 14 years between 1998-2001 and again in 2005, 2006 and 2011.
Other Wellington schools to annex the Senior Boys NZSS title include Wellington High School (1985, 1987), HIBS (2003, 2004, 2007) and Scots College (2010, 2012, 2013).
Will spent three years in the Wellington College Junior A team, part of a team that finished second in the Junior nationals in his year 10, but was injured and didn’t play in last year’s Senior nationals as Wellington College came fourth.
Wellington College won the NZSS Swimming title last year, but only a couple of players in the current Senior A underwater hockey squad were also in the swim team last year. Similarly, few players play water polo.
The sport is similar to ice hockey, except underwater and along the bottom of the pool as its name suggests. Games are nine or 10 minute halves, with six players from each team in the water at once.
How do players communicate during games?
“It comes down to the tactics of the game,” explained Will. “That is where it is really important to know where people are in the water. You need to do your personal job and need to trust your teammates that they will too when you are at the bottom of the pool.”
The six players set up in formations. “At Wellington College we play a 2-3-1 formation, which is two forwards, and two wings and a centre in the middle line and then a goalie. But the goalie isn’t like a football or outdoor goalie, they are more like a centre back in football or fullback in rugby.”
The formations change. “When I was trialling for the New Zealand U18 team last year we were being taught to play a different formation, which meant I had to adjust accordingly.”
Plus at any one time only some of the players are actually below water in the thick of the action, owing to players having to come up for air and breath through their snorkels.
“You really want to be on the bottom as much as you can. You can be the best player in a team but you can’t do anything if you are on the surface.”
Wellington College train as a team on Sundays and plays the College Sport Wellington competition on Tuesday nights.
The Wellington College Senior A and Junior A teams that finished runner-up at the Central Regional Tournament are:
Will Durkin, Adam Muir, Ben Stirling, Daniel Markland. Lewie Harland, Caelum de Vos, Tom Adams. Ollie Lau Young. Jacob Rhodes
Mathieu Ewers, Freddie Thorpe, Nicholas Jones, Krishin Cox, Sam Falloon, Tim Stirling. Jed McLachlan. Daniel Ewers, Ben Kuggeleijn, Luke Rhodes, Max Coram
This year, two teams of equal ability will be selected to compete for the Southern Cross Trophy against the six Australian states and the Australian Capital Territory in the 2019 Australian Schools Championships from 27 September -6 October.
The teams are:
Non-travelling reserves (in order of selection)
Senior Boys: Thomas Brendolise (AK), Michael McCormack (AK)
Senior Girls: Anna Cory-Wright (AK), Rebecca Greenwood (AK)Junior Boys: Daniel Wood (CM), James McGuire (CM)
Junior Girls: Rachel Duston (AK), Pippa Plummer (NW)
* Anna Duston’s selection is dependent on her proving her fitness to the Selection Panel’s satisfaction at either the North Island Secondary Schools Championships (18 – 20 July) or the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships (23 – 25 August)
They have caught the adventure racing bug at Taradale High School.
This past Queen’s Birthday weekend a team of 44 Taradale High School students travelled to the Blue Lake Reserve to compete in the annual 3D Rotorua Multisport Festival.
The mixed team of year 9 to 13 students competed in the 30km New Zealand Secondary School Multisport Championships (kayaking, mountain biking and trail running), as well as shorter running and duathlon races.
There were 38 athletes entered in boys and girls U16 and U19 categories in the NZSS Multisport race, with competitors from schools in the Bay of Plenty, North Harbour, Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Taupo, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington and Canterbury represented.
Taradale HS athletes won four categories, with Greer Findlay winning the 5.5km run, Ben Smyth winning the Duathlon and Ben Wilson and Matt Adams winning the respective U14 and U19 NZSS Multisport divisions. Sophie Hogan and Jaimee Wilson also finished second and third in the Girls U19 race.
U19 winner Matt Adams was returning from last year and was pleased with his race.
“I did this event last year and I was second in the U16 race, but last year I crashed on the bike leg and my time was over 10 minutes faster this time,” said year 12 student Matt.
Matt was third across the line, with U16 division athletes filling three of the first four places overall.
Whakatane High School U16 athletes, Hayden Sisson and Ari Goodman were first and second overall and Matt’s U16 and year 11 Taradale HS teammate Campbell Gray was fourth.
The 30 km race consisted of a 5 km paddle, a 20 km mountain bike ride and then a 5 km trail run home to the finish.
Conditions were fine and cold, but the tracks were soft and muddy following recent rain.
Matt is mostly a runner – and the longer the better.
“I train mostly for running and have done half marathons and did a full marathon in Waihi last year.
“But in this event just gone the mountain biking is much longer it is where you can make the most gains. On Sunday my best leg was the bike. For example, I was three minutes behind teammate Campbell Gray on the kayak but I caught up to him on the bike. We raced into transition together but I held him off on the run.”
In February, Matt and good friend Jack Graney (didn’t compete at the 3D in Rotorua) competed in the Coast to Coast, the famous race that traverses on side of the South Island to the other.
“Jack and I competed in the tandem category, which means we have to stick together for the whole race. We did heaps of training for that and it was great fun.”
Matt’s goal is to enter the Coast to Coast in 2021 as an individual.
The Taradale High School’s adventure racing team’s next race together is the North Island 6-hour Hillary Challenge race in Rotorua/Taupo on 23 June. “These are the Hillary Challenge qualifiers, and the team comprises four boys and four girls.”
Last year the team didn’t enter the Hillary Challenge qualifiers so making the Hillary Challenge Finals is a goal for the team to aspire for. The combined New Plymouth BHS/GHS team won this year’s national event.
There are some strong rivalries amongst Hawke’s Bay schools such as Taradale HS, Havelock North High School and Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools in all the multisport, adventure racing and orienteering events and one or more is invariably prominent.
Like all adventure racing schools, students from several sporting backgrounds come together to form Taradale HS’s team.
“We train three mornings a week together, but personally I did a lot of kayaking and running on my own. I like to train in the mountains if I can, so a couple of weeks before the event I did my long 21km run in the Kaweka Ranges.”
Taradale High School 3D Multisport Festival results:
NZSS Multisport Championships
1st U19 Matt Adams
1st U14 Ben Wilson
2nd U19 Sophie Hogan
3rd U19 Jaimee Wilson
3rd U16 Campbell Gray
1st Greer Findlay
2nd Grace Hogan
3rd Ella Hogan
2nd Sean Findlay
1st Ben Smyth
2nd Finn Durrant
3rd Dom Collins
The combined New Plymouth Boys’ High School / New Plymouth Girls’ High School teams are the 2019 Hillary Challenge Final winners.
The combined New Plymouth team fought it out all week with the second placed finishers, the combined Whangarei Boys’ High School / Whangarei Girls’ High School team.
From the Hillary Challenge Facebook page:
“What an amazing battle they had all week with second placed Whangarei Girls and Boys. Whangarei led after day two by 200 points, but a super strong rogaine expedition saw New Plymouth claw that back to be just a handful of points in front going into the final multi-sport race.
“The two teams raced head-to-head all day over the final 50km of paddling, trail running and mountain biking with New Plymouth edging further ahead with a 12 minute win. At the end of the 5 days they were separated by a mere 31 points, making this one of the closest finishes in Hillary Challenge history.
“Motueka High School, competing in the final for the very first time moved from 8th to 3rd place with a very strong final 3 days of racing. A very impressive effort!
This was the 19th running of the event, held at the Hillary Outdoors Tongariro Centre from 29 April – 3 May.
The event is only open to a total of 12 teams, each consisting of eight students from Years 12 or 13. The teams are scored on their skill, speed and endurance during a 5-day series of outdoor adventure challenges, including a 2-day rogaine style wilderness expedition and a multisport race on the final day. In true adventure racing tradition, the exact details of all challenges will be kept secret until the event.
Final results below:
Adventure racing is a fast growing sport in many schools, with several leading events around the country on the secondary schools calendar for competitors to train for and compete in.
One of these is the New Zealand Secondary Schools Adventure Racing Championships that was held in Cromwell this past Saturday.
The 14th annual NZSS Adventure Race attracted a number of four-person school teams from throughout the South Island and also some North Island schools including from as far north as Whangarei.
The one-day race mixed core disciplines of mountain biking, walking/running, kayaking, abseiling and navigation, with mental agility as well as physical fitness a core requirement for success.
The teams competed together in Boys, Girls and Mixed divisions. Mount Aspiring College won the Boys, Cashmere High School won the Girls and St Andrew’s College took out the Mixed division.
The Mount Aspiring College Boys team won in 6 hours 58 minutes, with StAC’s Mixed team finishing in 7 hours and 19 minutes and Cashmere High School’s Girls team recording 8 hours and 12 minutes.
The winning Mount Aspiring team of three year 12s, Campbell Wright, Laurie Watson and Jack Findlay had started adventure racing in year 10 together and pulled in Zach Smith (year 11) for the South Island adventure race two weeks prior.
They have competed against each other in triathlon but trained together for that with excellent coaches including Chris Waugh from Mt Aspiring Tri Club and Val Burke of Peak Endurance. They were very organised and worked really well as a team, breaking away from the pack only 200m into the start of the ride in the 6am darkness for a 5 minute lead at TA1.
That all blew to bits during the trek when CP1 proved difficult to locate though and the front teams were all searching for it together, after finding it they all left there together and Mt Aspiring knew they had to push hard to regain the lead.
Laurie made a brave navigational decision to take them up a high point which meant they then had the benefit of moving fast down a farm track. Their lead grew from there back on the mountain bikes with Campbell as motivator driving them ever onwards and the team supporting each other through the low points of racing. Abseiling, an orienteering leg and then kayaking left them with a solid win.
StAC’s team were third across the line, behind the leading two Boys team finishers, Mount Aspiring College and Cashmere High School (seniors) and ahead of the third Boys team, Cashmere High School (juniors).
The event started with a 12km mountain bike ride from Cromwell College up into the hills behind Bannockburn to the first transition.
From there, they did a trek gaining over 1000m in elevation finding and picking up several checkpoints along the way. This took the leading teams between three to three and a half hours.
The third leg saw the teams transitioning back to mountain bikes, then winding their way across the top of the mountain and back into Bannockburn. This took approximately and hour and a half on average.
Back down at headquarters, competitors then dropped their bikes and were asked to run about 1km up the hill and then do an abseil down a rock face and run back again.
Next they were given an orienteering card with 11 checkpoints on it, which they had to go away and complete. This took teams about an hour.
The final leg saw the four-person teams split into two-person kayaks and kayak 8-9km back into Cromwell, picking up three checkpoints on the way.
StAC’s team consisted of three boys and one girl.
Their team captain was Henry Spark (year 12), who was part of the StAC’s team that won the schools Coast to Coast race in February.
“One key to doing well in this team event is that you need someone who can read maps really well,” said StAC’s teacher in charge Greg Thompson. “So he was the navigator. If you don’t have a navigator you can spend a lot more time just trying to work out where to go [as happened, see above]. You have got to be thinking the whole time.
“Most teams have a dedicated navigator, and other team members have different roles. So someone might be in charge of eating and drinking properly and someone else with equipment and so on.”
In these races, teams know what to train for and prepare for, but are only given the course map the night before, so they can go away and study and plan their route as best as they can before the race the next morning.
The other three members of StAC’s team were Molly Spark (year 11, related to Henry but not his sister), Tom Wells (year 12) and Ben Ferrier (year 11).
StAC’s preparation for the NZSS race included competing in the South Island Secondary Schools race a fortnight ago in Gore – although it was with a completely different team.
“We finished second in that one, and had a year 10 and a year 11. The other students competing this past weekend were doing a mountain bike race in Hamner instead.”
Cashmere High School had six teams competing at the event. The winning girls team, Charlotte Doogue, Lilly van Keulen, Nina MacDonald and Eva Elliot, will be joined by athletes from the top Boys team Neal Hay and Will Sherratt in Cashmere's Hillary Challenge team early next term.
One of the next events coming up for school teams is one of the two annual Hillary Challenge 6-hour races.
This year's 6-hour races are in the North Island (In Rotorua on 23 June) and in the South Island (in Geraldine on 26 May). These are qualifiers for the Hillary Challenge final at the Tongariro Centre in the central North Island in 2020.
The 19th annual challenge to find the top Secondary School Outdoor Adventure Team in New Zealand - from teams that qualified from the 6-hour races last year - will take place 29 April – 3 May.
The 5-day Torpedo7 Hillary Challenge is held each year at Hillary Outdoors Tongariro, and is only open to a total of 12 teams, each consisting of 8 students from Year 12 or 13. The teams will be scored on their skill, speed and endurance during a 5-day series of outdoor adventure challenges, including a 2-day rogaine style wilderness expedition and a multisport race on the final day.
Schools that have qualified for the 2019 final are;
Whangarei Girls and Boys High (Whangarei)
New Plymouth Girls and Boys High Schools (Taranaki)
Motueka High School (Motueka)
Cambridge High School (Cambridge)
St Pauls Collegiate (Hamilton)
Macleans College (Auckland)
Westlake Girls and Boys High Schools (Auckland)
Middleton Grange (Christchurch)
Golden Bay High School (Golden Bay)
Cashmere High (Christchurch)
Francis Douglas/Sacred Heart (Taranaki)
Waimea College (Nelson)
NZSS Adventure Racing Championships, Cromwell 30 March 2019, top three placegetters from each grade:
1st: Mount Aspiring College
2nd: Cashmere High School (seniors)
3rd: Cashmere High School (juniors)
1st: Cashmere High School
2nd: Whangarei Girls’ High School
3rd: Columba College
1st: St Andrew’s College
2nd: Mount Aspiring College
3rd: Cromwell College
Pakuranga College took out the 2019 NZSS Baseball Championships at the tournament at nearby Lloyd Ellsemore Park in Auckland over Summer Tournament Week.
Pakuranga beat One Tree Hill College in a tense and nail-biting final – winning 12-11.
Individually, Jayden Ruhe was named the tournament’s Best Batter and Traye Wildbore was named Player of the Tournament. These two Pablo Montano were named in the tournament team from Pakuranga College.
Pakuranga won the tournament after recovering from a first-up 6-11 loss to Auckland Grammar School.
Gold - Pakuranga College
Silver – One Tree Hill College
Bronze – Auckland Grammar
Top hitter – Jayden Ruhe (Pakuranga College)
Top pitcher – Taiki Yamada (One Tree Hill College)
MVP – Traye Wildbore (Pakuranga College)
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