A strong team travelled down to Dunedin to represent Wairarapa College at the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Athletics. Here is a summary of the week from Miss James:

Felicity started the last day of competition off with a gutsy run around the windy and flat 3km road race course.  Her goal was to run under 13mins and not come last.  In a classy field of athletes, she came 21st in NZ for Year 9 girls and proudly ran 12.20mins (4min/km).

In the Senior Boys 400m heats Mikael won easily, qualifying second fastest.  In the semi-finals Mikael came first in a time of 51.45sec and went through as the third qualifier for the finals on Sunday.  On finals day, Mikael fought hard in tough conditions.  He came 7th in a time of 51.23secs which he was disappointed with but will rest and then rebuild for club national in March 2019.

Ethan also qualified for the 400m semi-finals with a great run in the fourth heat on Friday in 54.86mins.  He narrowly missed out on the final with a new PB of 53.58secs to place 7th in a hard semi-final.  He also contested the Senior Boys 100m with a valiant effort in the sixth heat placing 6th in 12.20secs.

In the Senior Boys 3000m, Liam Lamb achieving a new PB of 8.54.15mins, came a respectable 11th place.

Tama represented WaiCol in the Senior Boys discus and shot put and achieved 20th place in both against a strong field of throwers which included the World Record Holder and Youth Olympic Champion, Connor Bell.  He was pleased with his efforts and threw 30.15m in the discus and 10.32m in the shot put.

William Larkin took part in the 1500m on Saturday coming 7th in a strong heat in 4.54.66mins.  He missed out on the final but was happy to have experienced this event at a National level.  On Sunday, William raced in the 2000m steeplechase coming 10th in 7.29.63mins.  This event is gruelling as the runners must jump over high hurdles (4 per lap) and navigate the water jump 5 times.  William is now looking forward to the next couple of months of steeple chase training to get better over the hurdles.

Travis bravely took on three punishing events at nationals.  In the Junior 200m he came 7th in heat 2 in 26.85 secs but sadly missed the semi-finals.  Travis threw a respectable 8.59m in the shot put to come 23rd and then came 24th in the discus with a massive 30.15m effort.

Josh entered four events at Nationals and knew it would be a big ask but he excelled in every single event.  His first medal (bronze) came in the Long Jump (T20) with a jump of 4.36m.  Also, that day, Josh claimed the silver medal in the 200m (T20) in 27.49secs.  On Sunday, Josh collect another silver medal in the 100m (T20) in 13.54secs.  The most impressive race on Josh’s campaign was the Gold medal in the 400m (T20) where Josh was pushed right to the line by another athlete.  He held on to win but it was very close, and we were all very nervous and excited watching him.

Ben smashed the field in the discus (T20) to claim the gold medal and new NZ record, throwing 19.97m.  He also bought home a silver medal in the javelin (T20) with a decent distance of 19.60m.  Ben narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the shot put (T20) when he threw 6.87m to come 4th.

Our 4 x 400m Senior Boys’ team had a mixture of experience and novice.  Mikael led the charge with a solid first 400m to put us in first place and the lead was consolidated by Ethan Butcher.  Liam Lamb ran Leg 3. After competing in the 1500m and 2000m Steeplechase William ran against men much older than him to anchor the team to 14th place in 3.45.03mins.

We were lucky enough to have four amazingly helpful parents accompany us on this trip and without their tireless support we wouldn’t have achieved what we did or come of the trip.  Special thanks to Theresa Bartlett, Andrew Starzynski, Melody Taylor, and Sandy Taylor.