Nick Willis and Kelsey Forman honoured in awards

By Athletics Wellington

Double U20 track and field national champion Kelsey Forman and 1500m Olympic bronze medallist Nick Willis were the key winners in the Athletics Wellington awards at Victoria Universitys Hunter Lounge on May 3.

Forty-one awards among 35 categories were presented at the awards dinner, covering track and field, cross country, and road events for both junior and senior athletes, and volunteers in the Wellington and Wairarapa regions.

Kelsey Forman, the countrys top U20 middle distance track runner and the national U20 road champion, picked up the Senior Middle Distance runner and the overall female Athlete of the Year awards.

Forman was hoping to do well in the U20 1800m/1500m double at nationals this year.

"I was aiming to medal in both - and I got a personal best in the 800m," she said.

She didnt just medal; both medals were gold medals - the only Wellington athlete to win multiple national track and field titles. Still, she didnt expect to win the top award.

"Im a little bit puzzled - Im surprised. There are so many other amazing athletes," she said when told of her award.

Forman, along with Nick Willis, who is overseas, was unable to attend the awards dinner. She acknowledged her coach, Evan Cooper, who was nominated for Coach of the Year and also coached last years co-winner of the Male Athlete of the Year, James Preston. Forman said it would take a bit of getting used to getting recognised with the top award, when she is so used to hearing other names as recipients.

"Its pretty special - Im pretty pleased."

Forman was also nominated for the senior cross country and road award. That was won by Katie Kemp, who ran the second fastest marathon by a New Zealander in 2016, nearly five minutes under the IAAF qualifying standard for the Olympics.

Nick Willis was the male senior middle distance runner and also the male Athlete of the Year for his 1500m bronze medals at both the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the IAAF Indoor World Championships in the United States.

The top senior jumpers were brother and sister Anna and Scott Thomson. Anna Thomson equalled her personal best in taking out the senior triple jump at the National Track and Field champs, with Scott picking up a silver medal. Both are coached by their father, Richard Thomson. Anna Thomson is heading to Fiji as a member of the New Zealand Oceania Area and Combined Events Championships, which start on June 28.

The senior male thrower and the overall top thrower cup was presented to U18 national javelin champion Cam Robinson, who also won the event at the annual McEvedy Shield, a highly contested competition between four of the regions boys secondary schools. It is his first ever season in the sport, and he is also in the New Zealand Oceania team to Fiji, competing in the U18 grade.

"I couldnt believe it," he said when his name was called. "Theres lots of other throwers who were as good - the depth of throwers I was throwing with were quite good."

"Its the biggest thing Ive ever been given."

In junior awards, Hutt athlete Finlay Seeds, 13, won both the cross country and the middle-distance awards in just over his second year of competitive running. He has achieved phenomenal results, setting Wellington Junior records in the 1500m, and was also unbeaten in the 800m. He also set College Sport Wellington records in both, and was unbeaten in cross country and road events.

He said he was honoured to receive the awards in the presence of his peers.

"My hard work has paid off. Its not easy. Its pretty amazing receiving it in front of some class athletes."

Maia Wilkinson also picked up the same two junior awards, after winning almost every event she entered, in both road, cross country and track events.

Distance runner Phoebe McKnight, still only 15, won the Senior Distance award for her New Zealand and Australian U20 3000m titles. She was also the runner up in the U20 5000m at nationals.

Scottish Harriers took out both the male and female team awards after the Senior men and Masters women teams successfully defended their national road relay titles.

Coach of the Year is Mark Harris. He was the sole New Zealand representative at an IAAF Level 1 Regional Lecturers course in Daegu Korea, one of only three in the Oceania regions qualified to do so. He is one of just two New Zealand coaches appointed by Athletics New Zealand to revamp the countrys Run Jump Throw programme in New Zealand. Harris also won the Senior Volunteer award for his voluntary work over and above his coaching, such as work on the athlete coaching pathway documentation.

Life memberships were awarded to Athletics Wellington president and official David Lonsdale, and coach Willy Szeto.

A lifetime achievement award was presented to Fred Goodall, who is more widely known as a former test cricket umpire. Of his 59 years as a sports official, 21 of those were in track and field athletics, including as a chief judge at the Athletics New Zealand track and field championships .

WINNERS

Junior Para Athlete: Isaiah Koura-Albert

Senior Para Athlete Women: Libby Leikis

Senior Para Athlete Men: Keelan Ward

Senior Walker: Jacqueline Wilson,

Junior Thrower Girls: Amania Mafi,

Junior Throwers Boys: Zion Trigger-Faitele,

Senior Thrower Women: Montaya Wharehinga

Senior Thrower Men: Cam Robinson,

Junior Sprinter Girls: Joint Winner - Alyssa Wilson and Chethana Withrana

Junior Sprinter Boys: Khya Wilson

Senior Sprinter Women: Veronica Gould

Senior Sprinter Men: Nick Smith

Junior Jumpers Girls: Josephine Reeves,

Junior Jumper Boys: Roderick Solo

Senior Women Jumper: Anna Thomson

Senior Men Jumper Men: Scott Thomson

Junior Cross Country Girls: Joint winners: Esther Kozyniak, Maia Wilkinson

Junior Cross Country Boys: Finlay Seeds

Senior Cross Country & Road Women: Katie Kemp

Senior Cross Country & Road Men: Tony Price,

Junior Middle Distance Girls: Maia Wilkinson,

Junior Middle Distance Boys: Finlay Seeds,

Senior Middle Distance Women: Kelsey Forman,

Senior Middle Distance Men: Nick Willis,

Senior Distance Women: Phoebe McKnight

Senior Distance Men: Paul Martelletti

Female Team: Scottish Masters Women

Male Team: Scottish Senior Men,

Junior Female Volunteer: Amanda Goldsmith,

Junior Male Volunteer: Nga Holmes

Senior Volunteer: Mark Harris,

Junior Female Coach: Amanda Goldsmith,

Junior Male Coach: Jonathon Harper,

Senior Coach: Mark Harris,

Official: Jim McIlroy,

Lifetime Achievement: Fred Goodall

Life Members: David Lonsdale & Willy Szeto

Top Thrower: Cam Robinson

Top Female Athlete: Kelsey Forman

Top Male Athlete: Nick Willis

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand

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