Amy Walker Turns Track Form into Cross Country Success
Amy Walker surprised herself as much as anyone else in winning last week’s Wellington Regional Secondary Schools Senior Girls Cross Country Championships race.
“Going into the race I wasn’t expecting to win at all, I was just aiming to do my best and my focus was just on trying to stay with the front group for as long as I could,” said Amy of her successful race strategy.
“During much of the race I just focused on the one person in front of me and then one-by-one I got in front of them and it wasn’t until the last 800m or so that I was leading and I was able to hold on to the finish.
“It was quite a surprise for me as I haven’t been in this position before in a cross country race, it was quite surreal.”
Year 13 Amy won the girls’ Under 19 4km race in 15:16, ahead of St Mary’s College’s Sarah Hay in 15:36, Wellington East Girls College teammates Anna Bassett in 15:36 and Maali Kyle-Ford in 15:37 and Wellington Girls’ College’s Jessica Hughes in 15:49, who filled second through fifth.
She credits a combination of her coach Anne Hare, her track sprinting background and extra time training both outdoors and indoors due to Covid-19 and its associated disruptions for her win.
“With my coach Anne Hare I have been doing lots of gym work and strengthening, so I was able to sprint up the hills which I think was a big advantage and it helped me pass a lot of people.
“I didn’t start running until year 11 and have so far just done cross country as a way to stay fit for the track season. But because of Covid I have had more time to build up my fitness and I am really enjoying it this year.”
Before the lockdown came into effect in March, Amy was preparing for the North Island Track and Field Championships in Hamilton.
At the Wellington Regionals in March she won the Senior Girls 400m title, after making the semi-finals of the Senior Girls 200m at the NZSS Championships at Newtown in December.
“I only started doing the 400m this year, and after winning at Regionals I was quite keen to go to the North Islands to give that a good shot, but unfortunately it got cancelled.”
Despite winning the Wellington cross country title over 4km, she says she will stick to the shorter distance on the track and is looking forward to this year’s Track and Field Nationals in Tauranga in December.
She also has a background in several sports, including competitive cheerleading, netball, gymnastics and tennis but for now has settled on running. She uses the hillside and surrounds of nearby Mt Victoria as part of her training course.
Amy has recently joined the Scottish Harrier Club, and at this stage is looking at taking a gap year in 2021 and getting a job and focusing on running.
The New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships are in Hawera on 19 September and Amy has another reason to do well in that race.
“That race is on the day of my 18th birthday.”
Meanwhile, Scots College’s Will Antony was a dominant winner in the Senior Boys 6km race over 6km, finishing over a minute clear of second placed Jamie Barnes of Wellington College and with Liam Wright of Tawa College and Mason Waterworth of St Pat’s Town back in third and fourth.
Wellington Girls’ College’s Ava Sutherland was a clear-cut Junior Girls race winner, it was an Onslow College one-two in the Junior Boys race with James Wembridge pipping school mate Max Doherty, Amy McHardy of Wellington Girls’ College took out the Intermediate Girls race and Jack Hunter of Wairarapa College was a dominant winner of the Intermediate Boys race.
-Story Courtesy of College Sport Media