Isaiah Priddey of Hamilton Boys High School will be all out to add the senior boys cross country title to the junior boys title he won last year.
Priddey is one of the 960 runners who will descend on to the Agrodome in Rotorua for the annual New Zealand secondary schools cross country championships on Saturday and Sunday.
Priddey will have his work cut out in the 6000m race against the largest field at the championships at over 240. He will be up against the inform Dan Hoy from Westlake Boys. Hoy was second last year to Conal Wilson in the senior boys and last week had no trouble winning the Auckland schools title at Pukekohe.
A strong field has entered with Max Karamanolis, James Uhlenberg, Nick Moulai, Jacob Holmes, Angus White, Stefan Przychodzko, Bradley Christison, Theo Quax and Jared Lautenslager all capable of a podium finish.
Katherine Badham (Takapuna Grammar) should have a heads up in the senior girls 4000m. Badham comes from a solid triathlon background and has shown real strength over country racing. Badham won the Auckland title from Maiya Christini (St Marys Auckland) and Georgia Clode (Baradene College) who will also be racing in Rotorua.
Others who will up with the pace from the start will be Amelia Persson (Christchurch Girls), second in the junior girls last year, Tessa Hunt, Tessa Webb, Catrin Dawson, Grace Ritchie, Alice Bird, Gina Butler, Isabella Robinson, Bridie Edwards and former junior winner Ari Graham.
Hannah OConnor (New Plymouth Girls) should successfully defend her junior girls 3000m title ahead of Phoebe McKnight (Hutt Valley High School) and Liliana Braun (Cashmere High School).
The year nine girls 3000m should go to Charli Miller (St Peters Cambridge) from Lucy Burrell (Baradene College) and Esther Kozyniak (St Catherines).
Facing the starter in the junior boys 4000m are leading contenders Jaxon Taylor (Southland Boys), Murdoch McIntyre (Westlake Boys) and Ayrton Shadbolt (St Andrews).
Jude Darby (Westlake Boys) and Jamie Robertson (Kings College) should continue their rivalry in the year nine boys 3000m.
A total of 120 schools from throughout the country will be represented in the Saturday programme of six events.
Sunday sees a new feature with a regional relay competition with girls and boys teams racing for provincial honours. Teams from Auckland Waikato BoP, Wellington, Taranaki and Canterbury are expected to do well.
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand