Whanganui may well prove a playmaker in New Zealand's chances at the Australian Schools Track and Field Championships in Adelaide in December.

Five Whanganui Collegiate School athletes have been chosen for the New Zealand Secondary Schools track and field team to contest the Australian event. Four of the five make up a quarter of the New Zealand female contingent of 16, while 17-year-old Keiran Pere is one of eight male Kiwi contenders.

The four females are Genna Maples, 14, Tayla Brunger, 15, Emma Osborne, 15 and Grace Godfrey, 17 and the quartet have been selected to compete in relay events as well as their specialist disciplines.

Pere has been selected for the under-18 triple jump only on the strength of his ranking. Pere is ranked No3 in his New Zealand under-18 age group after finishing third at the Athletics New Zealand Championships and winning the North Island Schools senior triple jump earlier this year.

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Talented sprinter Maples has been entered for the under-16 100m, 200m and long jump as well as being a linchpin in the Kiwi relay team.

Maples has top form at New Zealand Schools, New Zealand Athletics and North Island Schools level in both junior and senior company and is the current NZ Schools long jump champion with a leap of 5.64m and holds the junior 100m and 200m national records.
Godfrey is entered in the under-18 400m where she is ranked No2.

She broke a longstanding Collegiate 400m record in San Diego in April clocking 56.94s and was also in the 4x400m record-breaking team that clocked 3:56.70 in Hamilton in March.

Osborne contests the 400m under-16 event in Australia. She is ranked No3 in New Zealand under-18 company. She was one of the junior girls 4x400m relay team to set a new record at the New Zealand Schools this year and is the North Island Schools 400m intermediate champion. Osborne is third in Collegiate's 400m all time rankings.

Brunger is entered in the under-16 400m alongside her older team mates, a distance she was ranked No4 in New Zealand under-18 circles last year before injury struck. She has bounced back brilliantly and now holds the national junior 400m schools title after finishing second at the North Island Schools in the senior 400m.

These chosen athletes follow hot on the heels of schoolmate Liam Back's selection to compete for New Zealand at the ISF World Schools Championships in Paris next April.
Coach Alec McNab said it was difficult to compere how his athletes and their fellow national contenders would stack up against the Australians in December.

"It's almost impossible to compere. The selections for Australia had to be made before our own New Zealand Schools, so it had to go on rankings at the time, their rankings played a major role," McNab said.

"The value for the athletes, especially the likes of Genna at her first international event, is being exposed to unknown competition. I'm sure they will all perform to their abilities."

The five selected to go to Australia is the largest ever contingent of Collegiate athletes in a New Zealand team. Collegiate had three members of the 2005 New Zealand Team to the World Youth Championships in 2005 and two members to the Oceania Championships in Tahiti in 2015, in 2013 and 2007.

Collegiate also had two members of the 12-strong team to the ISF World Schools in Budapest in 2016 - Jane Lennox and Christian Conder.