News & Updates

16 June 2022 • Cross Country

Earl hopes to go one better in Nelson

New Zealand Cross Country Championships 2019 (Photo: Michael Dawson)

Bella Earl of Whangarei Girls High School will have her eye on the senior girls 4km title at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships to be staged at the Saxton Field Sports Complex in Nelson on Saturday/Sunday (18-19 June).

Earl, the national U18 champion, was second in the senior girls’ race last year to Hannah Gapes and has graduated from winning the Year 9 title in 2019.

She easily won the U18 4km in 15:07 at the Pakuranga cross country two weeks ago and the 4km in 15:05 at East Tamaki last Saturday. Stella Hammond (St Dominic’s) was second to Earl in both those races and will also line up in Nelson. Earl will also face strong competition from Zara Geddes of St Hilda’s Collegiate, second in the U18 cross country and 2000m steeplechase last season, plus the first three in last year’s junior race Ava Sutherland (Wellington Girls’ College) and Whanganui Collegiate School’s Amy McHardy and Louise Brabyn.

Others staking claims for a podium position will be Renee Carey (St Paul’s Collegiate), Amelia Green and Lucy Shennan (Diocesan), Rosaria Gibson and Bridie Restieaux (Villa Maria), Catherine Lund (Otago Girls High), Poppy Martin (John Paul), Sophie Robb (St Cuthbert’s), Kennedy Taylor (Southland Girls), Grace Wisnewski (St Peter’s), Niamh Motley (Craighead Diocesan), Elspeth McGuinness (Cashmere High School), Emma Ferguson (Nga Tawa Diocesan) and Lulu Davies (Wellington East).

A quality field will go to the start for the senior boys 6km title.

Christian De Vaal (Macleans College) is the defending champion from Hawera last year and was second in the national U18 championship.

De Vaal is expecting wet conditions.

“So hopefully we can push hard and come back with the win.

“Form is good, and the first k (kilometre) will be absolutely blistering like it always is. Probably sub three-minute pace and then you need to hold on to your pace and settle in and hopefully try and extend the gap,” he said.

He sees his training partner Ronan Codyre (Macleans) Daniel Sinclair (Whanganui Collegiate), Cameron Maunder (Westlake), Karsen Vesty (Havelock North HS) and Joshua Gill (Nelson College) as the runners to watch.

Vesty has had a stella track season winning the national U201500m, winning silver in the 800m and claiming national bronze in the mile. In the recent Under Armour mile he clocked a slick 4:09.20.

Maunder won the Year 9 championship in 2019 and Gill was third in the national U18 championship. Also in the mix will be Angus Sevier of Cashmere High School, the junior champion from last year and who placed third in the national U16 championship, Elliott Pugh (Bethlehem College), who was second junior last year, Daniel Prescott (St Thomas) third junior and second in the U16 championship and Theo Walker (Burnside High School).

Jack Erikson of Kings College should account well for himself in the junior boys 4km. The national U16 champion will face the national U14 champion Ben Oxford (Macleans College), the year nine winner last year Caleb Wagener (Auckland Grammar)  Connor Boulton (Macleans), George Wyllie (Tauranga Boys), Charlie Richardson (Sacred Heart Auckland), Kayden Theron (Papamoa College), Callum Wos (St Patricks Silverstream), Alfie Steedman and Jamie Maunder (Westlake), and Quinn Moss (Kings College).

Boh Ritchie (St Peter’s School) should add the junior girls 3km title to the year nine won last year. Ritchie is the national U16 cross country champion and won the New Zealand U18 mile title in 5:02.69. Also aiming for a podium finish will be Eva Green (Hutt Valley High) and Brynne Gordon (Cashmere High School).

Imogen Barlow (St Kentigern) will be hard to beat in the year nine girls 3km. But chasing her throughout will be Scarlett Robb (St Cuthbert’s), Eleanor Pugh (Bethlehem College) and Scarlett Gwin (Marist College).

Otto Church Christ’s College, Ivor Martin, Quinn Winwood and Samuel Rickerby (Kings College). Christian Geldenhuys (Macleans), Connor Smith (Westlake) and Henry Sevier (Christchurch BHS) will face off in the Year Nine boys 3km.

Para Athlete Jasper Moss T38 of Christ’s College, is the defending champion and he compete in the senior 2km.

The Regional Team Cross Country Relay Championships will be held on Sunday. There will be a boys and girls 5 x 2km relay with year 9, junior and senior grades competing at the same time in both relays.

Following the championships, a New Zealand Schools team will be selected to compete at the Australian Schools Cross Country Championships in Adelaide at the end of August.

By Murray McKinnon

***Tune into the Maori Active YouTube channel to follow the livestream of the junior races from 10.30am and the senior races from 1.10pm. (There will no coverage of the Year 9 races). The link is here.