Wellington Runners In Top Form At NZSS Cross Country Championships

Photo courtesy of Michael Dawson – https://michaeldawson.nz

Wellington athletes were in top form at this past weekend’s 46th NZSSAA Cross Country Championships at Ashbury Park, Timaru.

A number of Wellington runners gained top results in the six boys and girls races on Saturday, including winning one gold and three silvers, and there were two fourth placed finishers. There were 808 athletes representing 136 schools at the event.

The next day many of the runners came together to represent their provinces instead of their schools for the relays – which Wellington dominated by winning five of the six relay races and coming second in the other one.

Wellington East Girls’ College year 13 runner Kirstie Rae came home with the gold medal in the Senior Girls race.

In an emphatic performance, Kirstie finished the two-lap, 4km course in 14.35m, well ahead of second placed finisher Charli Miller from St Peter’s School, Cambridge in 15.14m and with Olivia Cummings from Otumoetai College coming home third in 15.21m.

Kirstie, who finished runner-up last year was quietly confident of doing well. “Leading into the race I was quite nervous, because it was the last race for my school and I have done the NZSS race for four out of the five years, but I was just looking at giving it everything for my school once last time in cross country,” said Kirstie.

Kirstie gave WEGC the edge to win both the three and six person teams. Baradene College was second and St Peter’s School third in the three team and Diocesan School second and St Cuthbert’s third in the six person team.

Kirstie’s WEGC teammates in the Senior Girls race were Maali Kyle Ford (12th), Saskia Cosgrove Drayton (15th), Amy Walker (20th), Caitlyn Bassett (34th), Grace Gordon (79th) and Katie McGivern (103rd).

WEGC’s Maia Wilkinson finished second in the Junior Girls race, behind winner Hannah Prosser from Timaru Girls’ High School, with school teammate Mackenzie Morgan (10th), Anna Bassett (26th) giving them a second placed finish in the three-person team.

The school also finished third in the three-person team in the year 9 race, with Eliza Squire (4th), Phoebe Squire (16th) and Amelia Newman (66th) bringing them home.

“It was really awesome being there with my school team and watching the year 9s in their first NZSS race and being able give them tips and encouragement as well, “ said Kirstie.

The other standout individual performance by a Wellington athlete in Timaru was year 11 Scots College runner Will Anthony finishing second in the Senior Boys race.

Just 10 seconds separated winner Liam Back from Whanganui Collegiate, Will and third placed finisher Murdoch McIntyre Westlake Boys High School in their Senior Boys 6km race.

Eliza Squire (WEGC) was fourth and Amy McHardy (Wellington Girls’ College) was fifth in the year 9 Girls race. WGC won the year 9 three-person team race, with Molly O’Sullivan and Lucy Jurke joining Amy McHardy for that result. Sabine Kenworthy, Helena Errington and Lila Cor joined these three in winning the six-person team category for WGC.

Jack Hunter (Wairarapa College) was second in the Year 9 Boys race.

St Pat’s Silverstream’s Max Poland, Josh Jordan and Josh Allen won the three-person Junior Boys.

Maia Wilkinson (WEGC) was second, Katelyn Sceats (WGC) fifth and Edie Kozyniak (St Catherine’s College) sixth in the Junior Girls race.

Jack Julian (Wellington College) came fourth in the Junior Boys race and Julian, Alex Martin and Finlay Hagen were second in the Junior Boys three-person standings. These three plus Carrick Crafts, Josh Hagen and Thomas White combined to win the six-person teams race for Wellington College.

The format of the relay races on the second day were five-person teams with each runner running two 1km laps.

“That was quite tough after the race the day before, said Kirstie Rae. “I was definitely feeling it a little bit from the previous day and it was a cold morning.”

Kirstie ran the third leg of the Senior Girls relay, after WEGC teammate Amy Walker and second runner Emma Douglass from Wellington Girls’ College, and WEGC teammate Maali Kyle Ford was fourth and Esther Kozyniak from St Catherine’s College brought the team home.

Several Wellington athletes, headed by Kirstie and Senior Boys winner Will Anthony have earned selection for the New Zealand team for the Australian Cross Country Championships in Wollongong on 24 August.

Following that, many will be preparing for the NZSS Track and Field Championships in early December that are being held this year at Newtown Park.

46th NZSSAA Cross Country Championships 2019 – Individual results: https://nzssaa.org.nz/static/nz-xc-2019/results/results.pdf

New Zealand Regional Cross Country Relay Championships, Ashbury Park – 16 June 2019

Senior, Boys: Wellington 1, Canterbury 2, Wanganui 3. Fastest lap Will Anthony (Wgtn) 6:02. Girls: Wellington 1, Auckland 2, Waikato Bay of Plenty 3. Fastest lap Kirstie Rae(Wgtn) 6:51.

Junior, Boys: Wellington 1, Waikato Bay of Plenty 2, Canterbury 3. Fastest lap Mathijs Wetzels (WaikBoP) 6:20. Girls: Wellington 1, East Coast North Island 2, Wanganui 3. Fastest lap Maia Wilkinson (Wgtn) 7:15.

Year 9, Boys: Canterbury 1, Wellington 2, North Harbour 3. Fastest lap Cameron Maunder (Nth Harbour) 6:27. Girls: Wellington 1, Canterbury 2, Auckland 3. Fastest lap Eliza Squire (Wgtn) 7:26.