News & Updates

6 March 2022 • Track and Field

Maddi Wesche smashes through landmark distance in the women's shot

Maddie Wesche set a new PB of 19.10m on her way to victory in the senior women's shot put at the 2022 Jennian Homes Track & Field Championships today. (Credit: Alisha Lovrich).

On the week that the great Dame Valerie Adams called time on her epic career, Maddi Wesche emphatically announced that the present and the future of the women’s shot in New Zealand is in fantastic shape after she secured the national title with a stunning new personal best of 19.10m on the final day of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Hastings.

The Tokyo Olympic sixth-place finisher added 12cm on to her lifetime best with a monster second round throw – a performance which slots in at number six on the World Lists (including indoor throws) for 2022.

Maddi produced an outstanding series hurling the metal orb out to 18.99m – her second longest ever throw – in round four and 18.73m in the final round to clinch her third national senior title.

Behind, the emerging Tapenisa Havea (Canterbury) once again impressed as the 18-year-old – who has already set World U20 performance standards for both the shot and discus – added 5cm to her personal best with 15.97m to take silver.

“It is really exciting to be here today, the weather is amazing I just wanted to do something like I’ve shown in training, and I thought I touched on that today,” adds Maddi, who replaced her trademark sunglasses with a white cap to deflect the glare of the sun.

“I was prepared to throw 19m it has been in the works. We were hoping it would happen a little earlier but to do so at nationals is fine for me. This is just the beginning.”

Maddi will not target the World Indoor Championships later this month with her main focus the World Championships in Oregon and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Competing on her home track Georgia Hulls (HBG) ended a challenging week after falling sick with a bout of tonsilitis to retain her senior women’s national 200m title in style.

Despite not training all week, Hulls put her foot to the pedal to strike gold in a quick 23.10 (2.7m/s) 0.31 clear of Rosie Elliott (Canterbury), who concluded her memorable not to mention gruelling championships with a 200m silver to add to the 400m gold and 100m silver she won yesterday.

Bronze was taken by the improving Isabel Neal (Auckland) in 23.66 just 24 hours after winning senior national 400m silver.

Running with a bib daubed with names of all the important people who have helped her both inside and outside of her athletics life she was delighted to strike gold after a difficult build up to nationals.

“I did a warm-up and I felt horrible, so I’m just relieved it all worked out on the day,” said Hulls. “I know I could have run better and smoother, it was that old Georgia fight and scrap but I’m sure there are better things to come later.”

Eddie Osei-Nketia (Auckland) matched his achievement at the 2020 national championship by completing the sprint double with victory in the men’s 200m in 21.29 (2.4m/s). The 20-year-old sprinter produced a controlled performance to strike gold in 21.29 (2.4m/s) – 0.24 clear of Jordan Bolland (Auckland) in silver with 2021 champion Cody Wilson (Wellington) in bronze, clocking 21.60.

Laura Nagel maintained her superiority on the domestic endurance scene by completing the 1500m/5000m double in Hastings with an emphatic victory in the former event. The 30-year-old, who was raised in Napier, took control from the outset, setting the pace before turning on the afterburners over the final two laps to kick clear of the opposition. Nagel stopped the clock in a zippy 4:16.68 for the second fastest time of her career over the metric mile.

Behind, Holly Manning (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) finished strongly to add silver to the 800m gold she won yesterday in 4:20.05 with former national 1500m champion Katherine Camp (Canterbury) unleashing a late burst of speed to grab bronze in 4:20.82. Kara Macdermid (Manawatu Whanganui) who entered the home straight in second, unfortunately finished outside of the medals in fourth (4:21.18).

“I’ve been saying for a while that I’m not a 1500m runner, but I hoped to perform well which I think I did, I’m really stoked,” said Nagel.

“The plan today was to see if I could run the first two in 70 or 72 (seconds) and with two laps to go to pile it on,” she adds. “I thought Holly (Manning) was right behind me, but it was Kara (Macdermid), I was running scared.”

On winning not only the 1500m and 5000m double but also the national mile and 3000m title this year she said: “It couldn’t get much better, I have really enjoyed the season and to win the 1500m title as well has been awesome. The quality of women’s running has been amazing, and I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie.”

Tokyo Olympian Sam Tanner once again revealed his outstanding middle-distance gifts to regain the senior men’s 1500m title with a dominant display. Competing in only his second race of the domestic campaign, the Waikato Bay of Plenty athlete who last week chalked up an 800m PB in Christchurch, darted to the front from the gun and quickly opened up a clear gap on the pursuing field.

At the bell the 3:34 1500m athlete held a clear 20m advantage and although that gap was reduced over the final 400m oval, Tanner held on to win in 3:41.97 – 0.83 clear of the chasing Julian Oakley the deposed champion. Oli Chignell (Otago) shaded a tight battle from Auckland’s Matthew Taylor to grab bronze in 3:43.79. 

Tanner said: “It is a good feeling to get back on top and to be the fastest 1500m runner on New Zealand soil at the moment is exciting. I took on the pace partly because it was a timed final but also because of the World Athletics points system – I just want to run as fast as I can so I can get some good points for rankings in World Champs this year.”

“I’ve ticked the boxes that I needed to be ticked. I plan to go on to Night of 5s, where I’ll probably pace Hayden (Wilde) in the 5000m and then we’ll see where we are from there, maybe Australia or the US.”

After sustaining a broken ankle back in November, Connor Bell (Auckland) impressed in his first competition of the season to retain his national senior men’s discus with a best distance of 60.78m.

Last year here at Mitre 10 Park he fired the 2kg discus out to a personal best and New Zealand resident record of 64.29m and while understandably, given the seriousness of his injury, he was not quite in that form today he was elated to twice exceed 60m on his competitive return. 

“The injury was unfortunate, but I had a great medical team and thanks to patience and a lot of hard work I’m happy to be competing again. To come back and win nationals, I couldn’t ask for more. If you had asked me three months ago, I would not have expected to be here, so to be throwing and turning well and throwing good distances I’m really pleased.”

World University Games champion Aaron Booth claimed his maiden national decathlon championship with a total points haul of 7337pts. After battling well during the first day he admitted the second day did not quite go according to plan, but he was pleased to take out a maiden national title.

Matthew Wyatt, a former national 100m and long jump champion, earned silver with a total points haul of 5426 with Max Teruaa completing the Auckland 1-2-3 in bronze (5379pts).  

Christina Ryan took out her fifth successive national heptathlon from training partner Maddie Wilson in a competitive battle across the seven disciplines. The 24-year-old Canterbury-based athlete set PBs in the high jump (1.65m) and shot (12.86m) en route to a cumulative total of 5094pts from teenager Wilson (4949pts). Alice Taylor (Manawatu Whanganui) took out bronze with 4401pts.

“It is good to feel like you are included,” says Ryan on the fact the national senior combined events championships were incorporated into the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships for the first time in memory.

“A lot of time it feels like we (combined eventers) are put to one side and you miss out on the crowd, so to be a part of the main event this year is pretty cool. I’m stoked to win, especially against a strong competitor like Maddie, although my personal performance is about 200 pts down on what I wanted.”

Josh Hawkins (Auckland) cruised to a seventh national senior 110m hurdles in a time of 14.54 from James Sandilands (Canterbury) 15.47. The women’s 100m hurdles was a much closer affair with Celine Pearn (Auckland) edging victory by just 0.03 from Alessandra Macdonald (WBP) in a time of 14.61. Pearn upgraded on the bronze medal she won in yesterday’s senior 400m hurdles final.

Macdonald enjoyed quite a morning not only securing 100m hurdles silver but taking bronze in the senior women’s triple jump final to take bronze with a best of 11.61m.

The competition was won by Anna Thomson (Wellington) who secured her fifth national women’s senior triple jump champion with a best effort of 12.66m.

A season’s best throw of 56.06m in the final round propelled Te Rina Keenan (Auckland) to her third national senior title in a dramatic finale to the women’s discus. The 31-year-old thrower overcome Tapenia Havea – 13 years her junior – who set a second PB of the day (she also won women’s senior shot silver with a PB) with 53.40m. Tatiana Kaumoana (WBP) earned a third successive national senior bronze with 53.22m.

Nick Southgate landed his seventh senior men’s pole vault title and his first for four years thanks to a season’s best of 5.20m to defeat fellow Aucklander James Steyn.

Jared Neighbours (60.06m) upgraded on the bronze medal he won at nationals last year to replace last year’s champion Anton Schroder (Otago), who on this occasion banked silver with a best of 57.63m.

Ieuan ver der Peet (Canterbury) claimed a third national senior 3000m steeplechase title in four years, clocking 9:19:18 to outpace his fellow Cantabrian George Guerin (9:27.88) to take gold.

National mile silver medallist Anneke Grogan (Auckland) capped a fine season by claiming 3000m steeplechase gold in a PB of 10:34.20.

Lisa Adams returned to the shot circle for her first competition since winning the Tokyo Paralympic F37 shot put title last year to claim gold in the women’s shot put para open with a best of 14.31m.

National senior Para records were set in the women’s 200m Para open as Sarah James (Canterbury) posted 39.80 for a women’s 200m T53 record and Montana Brown a New Zealand record of 44.00 in the women’s 200m T34.

After setting a national record on Saturday in the men’s 100m T64 Mitch Joynt (Auckland) was only the slightest puff of wind away from also posting a New Zealand record in the men’s 200m T64 – crossing the line in 23.17 (his national 200m 64 record is 23.65) but with a 2.1m/s windspeed.

For full day four results go here