Triathlon, rowing and tennis, three hugely popular sports in New Zealand but with differing impacts on the international stage, rolled out their stars of tomorrow with high-profile events during the New Zealand SS summer tournament week.
While St Kentigern dominated the national team event at Albany Tennis Park, honours were well spread in the triathlon championships, which attracted more than 700 competitors across 10 grades at Lake Karapiro, and at the Maadi Cup regatta at Lake Ruataniwha.
St Kentigern's Sam Ward won a fierce battle with Troy McAlister (Central Southland College) to win the elite boys' under-19 triathlon title by 37seconds after breaking away midway through the first lap of the run.
Ward, back from a bold showing at the recent Oceania Championships in Tasmania, had to hang tough on the bike as McAlister employed pre-race tactics in attempting to drop his great rival.
"That was one tough race, I was only just hanging on during the bike," said Ward. "Troy was hammering it and I was doing all I could to stay with him.
"This is my last shot at the title as I'm 17 and this is my final year so it is great to get the win."
In the women's under-19 race, Elise Salt (St Cuthbert's) gradually improved on each leg after emerging third from the water. She was second off the bike and first over the finish line ahead of Steffie Holcroft (Hillcrest HS) and Emily Pearce (Kristin).
The under-16 racing was equally intense around the Karapiro course, with a breeze making things tough on the return leg on each lap of the bike course on an otherwise perfect day for racing with Alana Lythe (Westlake Girls' High) and Jonty Morreau (Auckland Grammar) taking the honours.
St Kentigern scored their impressive double in taking the girls and boys' honours on a tense final day of the team tennis championships.
Defending the title they won a year earlier, the St Kentigern girls, despite minor changes to their line-up, were too strong for second seeds WGHS, winning 5-1, with captain Kelly Drew, at No 2, the only casualty in losing her singles to Rosie Cheng.
The battle for the boys' title was much closer as St Kentigern lined up against the strong Auckland Grammar team. The four singles rubbers were split 2-2, leaving the honours to be decided in the two doubles.
AGS won the bottom doubles in a super tiebreak to take a cliff-hanging 3-2 lead but when St Kentigern captain Ryan Henderson and partner Olly Sadler beat Niko Vulinovich and David Jiang in straight sets St Kentigern claimed the crown on a countback of sets won.
In the mixed grade final at Forrest Hill Tennis Centre, St Peter's School (Cambridge) beat defending mixed champions and second seeds Tu Toa.
The always keenly contested under-18 eights at the national rowing championships were a triumph for earthquake-ravaged Christchurch schools with Christ's College holding off the two-pronged Auckland attack from AGS and WBHS to win the boys' race and St Margaret's College prevailing in the girls' event from Waikato schools Waikato Diocesan and St Peter's School.
Honours were well spread through the country in the 48 finals rowed in perfect conditions.
There is no stopping Sacred Heart speedster Dalton Coppins. Fresh from his sprint double at the Great Auckland Championships, Coppins, 16, repeated the effort at the North Island SS track and field championships in Tauranga.
His 10.78s 100m was good enough to beat Waikato's Blake Gordon (10.95s) and go under Joseph Millar's 2009 M16 national record of 10.80s.
North Island championship records were set by Kyle Van der Merwe in the senior boys' discus with a 56.64m throw; Mt Albert Grammar's Niven Longopoa in the junior boys' 80m hurdles (11.53s); Tau Fa'aolataga with a 36.97s run in the junior boys' 300m; Ellie McCleery in the senior girls' 400m (55.50s); Talia Horgan in the intermediate girls' 400m (56.26s); Emma Fulbrook, intermediate girls' javelin (39.90m); and Maria Hodge in the junior girls' 300m clocking 41.10s. Kieron McDonald set a senior boys 1500m record of 3m 53.15s.
While golfer Lydia Ko continues to fly the Pinehurst flag, their young riders are making their mark on horseback.
Led by Megan Joustra and with solid support from Zoe Ander, Tyla Myburgh and Hannah Comrie, Pinehurst School won the North Island SS dressage championships. Their development team of Sara Brooks, Maddy Buttle and Elleysha Eastell finished fourth behind Diocesan.
The open championship win followed their success in the recent Auckland SS Ribbon Day where Pinehurst teams finished first and third.
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