Charlotte Floodsmith-Ryan (Chilton) preparing for NZ and Australian Champs

Charlotte Floodsmith-Ryan (Chilton St James) leads the pack

Charlotte Floodsmith-Ryan will draw on her experience of competing at the same meet last year when she joins the New Zealand Secondary Schools Track and Field team at the Australian All Schools Athletics Championships in December.

Year 12 Chilton St James student Charlotte is one of 16 athletes and the only one from Wellington recently named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Track and Field team for the meet in Cairns from 7-9 December, a week after the New Zealand Secondary School Championships in Dunedin.

“I was really happy when I found out I had been selected for this trip because I went last year to Adelaide and had a really good experience,” said Charlotte.

Last year she competed in the U16 division, so will be moving up to the U18s, and will just concentrate on the one race.

“I ran in the 800m and 1500m. I ran in the A final in the 800m and finished sixth. The girls in Australia are so much stronger than here and it was a really eye-opening experience how much faster they were.

“I am only doing the 800m, because it being held in Cairns and I am not quite used to the heat so I decided to just concentrate on that.”

She is coming off a positive performance in her final race of last season.

“At the North Island Secondary Schools I competed in the two races and won the 800m and came second in the 1500m.”

“They had an Intermediate age-group at the North Islands [just Junior and Seniors at the NZSS Championships] and I missed my Intermediate heat so I thought it wouldn’t be fair if I went straight into the final so I ended up running in the Senior race.”

How did the Senior 800m win pan out?

“It was actually annoyingly really windy. I know one of the girls would go out hard and set a good pace so I thought I would sit on her shoulder. But because of the wind it was hard and we ended up going really slowly in the first lap in 71s or 72s and we ended up doing the last lap in a massive negative split in 63s or 64s.”

Sophie Atkinson from Glendowie College in Auckland was second and Kirstie Rae from Wellington East Girls’ College was third. Kirstie also won the 1500m that Charlotte finished second in.

Before that Charlotte competed in several local, regional and national meets over the summer. Still a junior owing to her January birthdate she came second in the Junior 800m to Wellington Girls’ College’s Lucy Hagen in the NZSS meet in Hastings in early December.

Charlotte planned for a big cross country season just gone but says winter colds and school camps meant she missed out on regional and national events. “I didn’t get in as much racing as I had hoped, but I still think I have got a pretty good base for summer.”

Cross country was where it all began for her.

“I started running when I was eight and I started out running cross country and my first club was Trentham Harriers. So for my first few years of running it was all cross country and I didn’t really do much track.”

Charlotte Floodsmith-Ryan (Chilton) at the NZ Secondary School Nationals

But a switch in coach was a catalyst to moving on to the track.

“My current coach David Lewis is from a track background and he introduced me to the middle distance events and I just really like the 800m.”

Charlotte’s first track race was the Colgate Games and she hasn’t looked back.

Charlotte’s training partners include Hutt Valley High School’s Phoebe McKnight and Wellington East Girls’ College pair Tessa Hunt and Kirstie Rae.

“We all compete on the track but we are all really good friends outside of competing and we all run together on Sundays.”

Tessa won last December’s Senior Girls 800m – 1500m double, while Kirstie finished fifth and third respectively in the same races.

Right now Charlotte is training six days a week, which includes two runs, three track sessions and one doing cross training and swimming.

A background playing football is also beneficial. “I played a bit of football when I was younger and that helped me develop my speed which I use for the 800m – I think without the football I don’t think I would be running that distance.”

There is a small group of Chilton St James athletes making waves. High Jumper Josie Reeves was on standby to compete in the just completed Youth Olympics, Elizabeth Hewitt is a thrower [broke the Junior record at the CSW Regional Athletics in March] and Katelyn Sceats is a year 9 3,000m and steeplechase runner. “At North Islands this year we all won at least one event, so for a small school we did really well.”

The Chilton athletes will be heading to Dunedin to compete in the 2018 NZSSAA Track and Field and Road Race Championships from 30 November to 2 December. Charlotte then heads to Cairns for the Australian All Schools Championships early the next week.

– Article courtesy of College Sport Media