McEvedy Shield 2020 Preview
The 98th annual McEvedy Shield athletics competition will be staged at Newtown Park, Wellington on Tuesday 3 March.
Wellington College, St. Patrick’s College, Wellington, St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream and Rongotai College are the fierce annual combatants.
The McEvedy Shield features four age groups, U14, U15, U16 and Open. Ten track disciplines and six field events are held. Points are rewarded on a 4-1 basis for every event with the winner receiving four points.
Can anyone stop Wellington College from equalling Silverstream’s record of six consecutive wins in 2020?
The last school to win McEvedy other than Wellington College was St Pat’s Town in 2015 and they look the most likely to stop Wellington College’s streak.
In 2017 Wellington College won by a whopping 90 points but Town reduced two-thirds of the deficit last year.
In 2020 Town won the Old Boys Cup warm up against Silverstream by nearly 200 points. The Old Boys Cup follows the same format as McEvedy.
Wellington College matched their record streak of five in a row between 1993 and 1997 with their success last year.
Wellington’s greatest strength is on the track and especially in the middle and longer distance events. The top athlete is Alex Martin in the U15 800m and 1500m. He is the current New Zealand junior 800m champ and broke the McEvedy U14 800m record last year.
Jamie Barnes will be hard to beat in the senior 1500m while it will be a good battle in the senior 800m between him and last year’s winner Ruaridh Ferguson. Ruaridh will also be trying to pull off the senior 400m and 800m double.
The Wellington College senior relay team has broken the McEvedy 4x100m record in U14, 15 and 16 grades for the last three years but will have their work cut out for them with St Pat’s Town’s new recruit Jordan Stewart giving Town some added firepower. It should make the final event of the day compulsive viewing.
In the field Max Abbot should go well in the senior discus. He managed a fifth-place finish at nationals in December and is a member of the national squad traveling to compete in Australia soon.
Jamie Kearns has a full day ahead of him but his main events are the U16 long and triple jumps. He recently broke the Wellington College U16 triple jump record which had stood since 1991. He is also in the 100m, 200m, high jump and relay. He was the top points scorer for Wellington College last year.
Harley Patel-Muxlow has had injury concerns for the past year but is starting to find some form in the long jump. He has won medals at a national level in the past.
Wellington has won the Shield a record 53 times and are favorites for a sixth straight success.
St Pat’s Town
Town shapes as the biggest threat to Wellington’s vice-lock on the Shield.
Town actually won five more events than Wellington last year but struggled in the long distance running which could be an achilles heel again.
Town smashed Silverstream 429-231 at Old Boys, winning 50 of the 70 events.
Town will sprint and throw well again. The standout sprinter is Jordan Stewart, a national representative recently arrived from Kapiti College. He won the open 100/200m double at Old Boys, setting a cracking pace of 11.13 in the 100m.
Va’a Tui is the pick of the throwers. A product of the Shaka Sola throwing school he broke the shot put and discus records at Old Boys, throwing a huge 48.85m in the discs with another throw recorded at 54m going out of bounds.
Ryan Mallon is a fine all-rounder in the U14 age group winning the 100/200m double at Old Boys and setting a record in the long jump. Open Javelin thrower Charlie Skogstad and big Herman Suemanufagai back after a trial period with the Canberra Raiders are others to watch in the field.
The team will be captained by Kaya Wilson who won the 400m and high jump at Old Boys and competed to a high standard in half a dozen events.
Town have won the Shield 20 times overall.
St Patrick’s College, Silverstream
Silverstream holds the record for the most wins in a row with six between 1968 and 1973.
Silverstream haven’t won McEvedy since 2003 and have lost the last nine Old Boys Cup contests against Town.
One of Stream’s most accomplished athlete is national junior 100m champion Ollie Krijnen. A winner of four events in Year 9, he missed 2019 through injury, but showed ominous form at the Old Boys winning the U16 100m (11.40) and 200m (22.93) in record times.
Max Poland, Josh Allen, Josh Jordan and Logan Stoupe are others to watch on the track. Poland won the U14 800/1500m at Old Boys while Allen set a record pace in the same age group with his burst in the 400m. Jordan is a long-distance specialist and Stoupe is a rapidly improving middle distance runner.
Sautia Misa broke the U15 high jump and long jump records at McEvedy 2018. He is a fine all-rounder capable of competing in half a dozen disciplines and collecting vital points for his school.
Silverstream have won the Shield 14 times overall.
Rongotai College holds the record for the largest victory ever in 1989 and has won the Shield seven times overall.
There is genuine optimism that they will be very competitive in 2020. A first ever combined athletics day with Wellington College will have undoubted benefits.
Zayd Adam won the U14 100/200m double at the WC meeting and could compete in up to five events.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum Pose Tuilaepa is a real power athlete who will compete in the open 200m, 400m and hurdles.
Jude Sneddon has placed the past two years in the triple jump and enters the U16 contest with plenty of confidence.
Shot putters AJ Liumaihetau and Mikey Tutaki are strong prospects while Bevan Cox in the open 800m and 1500m has a never say die attitude and frequently challenges the leading contenders.
-Story courtesy of College Sport Media