NZ Secondary Schools’ Cross Country

Held in Palmerston North over the weekend 17-18 June. A team of 17 athletes competed at nationals.

National Cross Country – Senior

It was fantastic to have a ten-man senior team in Palmerston North. Headed by well-established year 13 runners Luke Johnston, Josh Loose and Will McMeeken and supported by track star Cooper Wightman, hopes were high for a good result.

Josh Loose

Over the 6km and on a testing course, it was always going to be a test of survival. Unfortunately for Cooper, who had been unwell, he made the tough but sensible decision to pull out at the end of lap one. That led the three year 13s to lead the way. Luke, who has himself overcome a lot of adversity this past 18 months led the way for his team with a great run for 18th. Josh Loose ran the race of his life coming home in 31st, with Will McMeeken, who generally prefers a much shorter trip doing a great job for the three-man team coming home in 50th. For their efforts, the three boys finished 5th in the three-man, a mighty effort that placed them the top South Island team.

The following boys did a great job to help the six-man team to a 7th placed finish – again the top South Island team – Mark Weir 79th, Max Clinch 122nd, Will Saunders 129th, while George Fulton – 138th and Zavier Toaolamai-Holden 172nd, were others to finish in a field of close to 200 starters. Unfortunately, Henry Rumball was forced to pull out during the race with injury.

Zavier Toaolamai-Holden

National Cross Country – Junior

Our junior team today was headed up by an in-form Max Aldridge. Max again led the way for our team producing a brilliant run for 10th in the 141-man field, the first of the South Island competitors. Henry Sevier as he does so well made up a heap of ground on the second lap for 46th, another great run from him. A newcomer to the team Sam Dunnett, who turned a few heads early when he led the race, produced a gutsy performance for 108th, while Oakley Blackburn was not far off Sam in 125th.

Our three-man team finished 9th and were the leading South Island team.

National Cross Country – Year 9

We had three competitors in the year nine race and all three acquitted themselves very well. In a field of 136 starters, our boys placed – 27th – Percy Haughey, 59th Dallas Fox, 61st – Mason McLachlan. As a three-man team the boys placed 8th and were the top South Island team.

All three of these boys show a lot of promise as cross-country runners and I look forward to following what they can achieve in future years.