Wellington hosting NZSS Track & Field Championships

Wellington hosts this weekend’s 47th New Zealand Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships and 45th Road Running Championships.

Some 1300 competitors from over 200 secondary schools throughout New Zealand, plus teams from the Cook Islands, Fiji and Niue, are set to descend on Newtown Park over three days in one of the biggest events on the school sports calendar.

Several high calibre athletes are set to take part. The field events will be headlined by Westlake Boys’ High School’s Connor Bell, who recently shattered his New Zealand U19 and U20 discus throw record with a 63.90m hurl with the 1.75kg implement, while the star attraction on the track will undoubtedly be Scots College’s Edward Osei-Nketia.

Osei-Nketia will headline the 240-strong contingent of greater Wellington region athletes when he lines up in the Senior Boys 100m and double finals on Sunday afternoon, barring catastrophe or misfortune in the preliminary races.

The NZSSA meeting record for the Senior Boys 100m is 10.60 (set in 1997).

Windy conditions aside, this record should come under threat given that Osei-Nketia was competing against the world’s best in the senior ranks earlier this year and recorded a PB of 10.19s when winning the Senior Men’s Australian 100m title earlier this year.

He won’t have it all his way though, with the likes of 2018 Youth Olympian Dominic Overand (Auckland Grammar School) entered, along with Wellington sprinters Jacob Waikari-Jones (Wellington College), Jordan Stewart and Issac Oliver (both St Pat’s Town), Ethan Butcher (Wairarapa College), Josh Matthews and Jayden Webb-Milner (both Rathkeale College) and Ethan McKenzie (HIBS) to burn off.

Other Scots College athletes could be in the mix in their events, not least College Sport Wellington Rugby Player of the Year Roderick Solo who is entered in the Senior Boys Long Jump, Triple Jump and 100m Hurdles. Earlier this year at the CSW Regional meet, Solo broke the Senior Boys Long Jump record with a leap of 6.78m, while also winning the hurdles in a record time that was unable to be ratified owing to wind.

Paraprarumu College’s junior sprinter Ben Lambert is another to watch on the track, alongside a strong contingent of Junior and first-time Senior girls middle distance runners from several city schools who will also challenge the best in the country.

Wellington Regional cross-country champion Will Anthony is entered in an 89-strong field in the Senor Boys Road Race, the year 11 one of eight Wellington-region runners in the Senior Boys 3000m.

The Senior Boys 1500m is always one of the more hotly contested races of the NZSSA Track and Field meet, with Whanganui Collegiate’s NZSS Cross Country champion Liam Back a leading contender and nine Wellington-wide runners in the 46-athlete start list hoping to make the final.

Many of the field events are decided on Saturday, such as a much-anticipated Senior Girls Shot Put that gets underway at 9.00am, and featuring Upper Hutt College’s Amania Mafi who broke the CSW record in March. She is up against a strong field that includes Westlake Girls’ High School’s Kaia Tupu-South and Christchurch Girls’ High School’s Jaidyn Busch, and others. Lynfield College’s Maddison Wesche threw over 17 metres to break the NZSSA meet record two years ago.

Chilton St James’ Elizabeth Hewitt will be hoping to follow up her record breaking form from the CSW Regionals in March in the Junior Girls Shot Put. Hewitt is also entered in the discus and hammer events in her age grade.

Several Wellington athletes will also line up in the Senior Boys Discus, that is headlined by Westlake Boys’ High School’s Connor Bell.  Wellington College’s Max Abbott, Wairarapa College Luciano Blundel and Tama Bartlett, Hutt Valley High School’s Caleb Sola and Scots College’s Zion Trigger-Faitele.

As well as Solo (see above), some Wellington region athletes could be in contention in the jumping events, such as St Pat’s Silverstream’s Sautia Misa (Senior), St Pat’s Town’s William Georgeson (Senior), Wellington College’s Xander Manketlow (Senior), Kuranui College’s Jarrod Yee (Junior).

On the flipside, a handful of leading local athletes won’t be there owing to injury or other commitments, such as Wellington East Girls’ College middle distance running champion Kirstie Rae who is nursing a niggle from the cross-country season.

The action gets underway on Friday afternoon and continues all day Saturday and Sunday.

The track meet concludes late Sunday afternoon with the relays. A new event this year is the mixed 4x400m relay, with teams comprised of two boys and two girls.

Meet Programme
The order of events is here: https://nzssaa.org.nz/static/nz-tf-2019/programme.pdf

View the meet records here: http://nzssaa.org.nz/static/record-holders.pdf

Oldest records:
The five oldest NZSAA records date back to the 1970s, these are:
Girls 100 Metre Sprint Junior 11.88 1973 Myra Matkovich – Kaitaia College
Boys Long Jump Junior 6.79m 1974 Kelvin Sefton – Pukekohe High School
Boys 2000 Metre Steeplechase Open 5:52.90 1975 Geoff Shaw – Northcote College
Boys 3000 Metre Run Junior 8:32.20 1977 Dave Burridge – Kamo High School
Girls 400m Junior Carlene Dillimore Waihi College 1981 54.42