Alec McNab continues his diary of events for the Whanganui competitors in the New Zealand team competing at the Australian Schools Championships in Adelaide.
Sunday, December 10
Whanganui athletes finally stepped onto the podium after the second-last event of the three day Australian All Schools Championships in Adelaide when the New Zealand team took bronze in the Under 16 girls Swedish Relay.
The Swedish sprint relay consists of 100m, 300m, and 200m and 400m legs.
The 100m was run by Faith Araba from Hawera, who handed over to the three Wanganui Collegiate members from the New Zealand Schools record breaking 4x400m team.
Tayla Brunger took the 300m leg, Genna Maples the 200m and Emma Osborne ran a sensational last 400m to come up into a medal place and was only metres behind silver and gold.
The race was not without its drama however, and there was a long, anxious wait for the result following a clash between Brunger and a New South Wales runner.
Brunger held her line going into the bend after 100m of her leg, only to knock the baton out of the hands of the NSW runner.
Brunger not only lost momentum but turned to see if her rival was OK and then got on with the business.
It certainly cost a few metres and possibly a further step or two on the podium.
Earlier in the day, Osborne had her first 800m race of the year, finishing fourth in the slower of two timed heats.
She did well to finish 11th overall for her non-specialist event in a pleasing 2m 18.01s.
Genna Maples recovered much of her spark, finishing sixth in the long jump and eighth in the 200m.
It is sometimes important to remember that Maples is still only 14-years-old and only a week earlier had a very demanding New Zealand Schools effort, coming home with three individual medals (two golds and a silver) plus two relay golds.
It was a demanding weekend in Hastings and it's hard for athletes, especially one so young, to pick up again a week later.
Maples was, as reported, frustratingly left just outside of the Under 16 100m final on Saturday.
Although not quite at her scintillating best, she made the 200m final at the expense of her close friend and training partner Brunger, who finished one place away from the final but had the satisfaction of running a personal best time in 25.50s.
Maples looked good in the long jump, but clashes of events and a mistake by officials meant she had to wait over 35 minutes between her first and second jump.
A run in the 200m final mid-competition did not help.
Maples finished sixth but safe in the knowledge that if she had nailed her run up she might have gained a medal.
This was one of the many lessons our team members learned and why the trip provided a valuable next step for this group of promising Whanganui athletes.
They are hugely grateful for the support from so many in the Whanganui community.