Ava and Amy Running Up a Storm in Cross Country

Results from the NZ Secondary Schools Cross Country Champs below:

Individual medals
Ava Sutherland (Wgtn Girls) 1st U 16 Girls
Toby Ireland (HVHS)1st  AWD Y9 Boys P1
Amy McHardy (Wgtn Girls) 2nd U 16 Girls
Will Anthony (Scots) 2nd Sen Boys
Henry Beliveau (Wgtn) 3rd Sen Boys

Team Medals
Wgtn    1st Y9 Boys 3 person
Wgtn    1st Y9 Boys  6 person
Wgtn Girls 3rd Y9 Girls 3 person
Wgtn    1st U16 Boys 3 person
Wgtn    2nd U16 Boys 6 person
Wgtn Girls   1st U16 Girls 3 person
Wgtn Girls   1st U16 Girls 6 person
Wgtn    3rd Sen Boys 6 person

Top finisher in each grade
Y9 Boys   Joe Martin (Wgtn) 6th
Y9 Girls  Eva Green (HVHS)  9th
AWD Y9 Boys P1 Toby Ireland (HVHS) 1st
U16 Boys  Max Poland (SPS)  4th
U16 Girls   Ava Sutherland (Wgtn Girls)  1st
Sen Boys   Will Anthony (Scots) 2nd
Sen Girls   Lucy Jurke (Wgtn Girls) 18th

Relay Results:
Y9 Boys   2nd
Y9 Girls   5th
U16 Boys  1st
U16 Girls  1st
Sen Boys  1st
Sen Girls  5th
Y9 Girls were only 6 secs away from 2nd place, and Sen Girls were 9 secs away from 2nd place.


Following story courtesy of College Sport Media

Ava Sutherland (left), Amy McHardy (right)

While most of the country sought shelter from the shivering weather on Saturday, Ava Sutherland and Amy McHardy of Wellington Girls’ College were in their element.

The pair finished first and second in the Junior Girls’ National Secondary Schools’ Cross Country Championships at the A&P Showgrounds in Hawera.

Sutherland hadn’t beaten McHardy this year, but saved her best for the big stage.

“Amy got in front before me. I was running and I was like ‘come on Amy, let’s go, we’re nearly there.’ I think I got a bit of adrenaline or something. I wasn’t expecting to win” Sutherland admitted.

McHardy had led all the way.

“We both like to take the start and it was a really fast start. We got to the front after about 600 meters. When there was 30-meters to go Ava said ‘well done’ and got past me. We work together, train together and bring out the best in each other. We managed to win the three-person and six-person team races as well which was awesome,” McHardy said.

The final time for Sutherland was 11.25.50 with McHardy on 11.27.80. Gabrielle Healy (6th) and Kate McHardy (9th) ensured a Wellington Girls’ sweep of junior honours.

A flat start was followed by a downhill section that narrowed out and a short, treacherous, hill climb due to the thick mud and driving rain.

“It was really wet and muddy but that made it fun, a real cross country race, a real cool experience,” McHardy enthused.

Louise Brabyn (Whanganui Collegiate) was seven seconds adrift in third place.

“My favourite training course has eight river crossings and is really fun in the rain. I liked the course,” Sutherland concurred.

Both girls are aligned with the Olympic Harriers club. They train and compete in a mixed environment on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Nairnville Park as well as racing most weekends.

McHardy beat Sutherland for the Wellington Regional title, but both rely upon coach John Cope for their success.

“He makes sure we enjoy it, but when it gets close to competition he challenges us and makes sure we’re putting in the grind,” McHardy said.

McHardy first met Cope when she made the Wellington Interregional team while at intermediate. She was fifth in the 2019 Nationals in Timaru and has been the top junior runner in the capital.

Sutherland’s parents are eager runners and their daughter got serious about it in 2018.

“I had a long-time rival who kept beating me at intermediate. When I beat her the first time I continued to put a lot more effort into it, Sutherland revealed.

The next big race on the calendar is the National Secondary Schools’ Road Race in Akaroa, Christchurch in October.