All that glitters is not gold.
Last week I focused on the 28 Whanganui Track and Field Championship winners and this week I will focus on athletes who did not make the top step of the dais.
As reported last week Genna Maples was our leading athlete in terms of medals winning nine individual medals and six relay medals. Not all these were gold. Along with her five gold medals were a further four silver medals and although in four winning relay combinations on two occasions she and her team had to settle for silver.
Three of those silver medals came when finishing behind rising sprint star Sophie Williams. Williams had to settle for a silver and bronze at her first New Zealand Schools but gained encouragement by running in two relay teams.
At the Athletics New Zealand Championships three months later Williams made her major breakthrough when the 14-year-old took the 100m title running her first sub 12 second run (12.86). She did not contest the 200m and had to settle for second in both relays.
Williams rounded the season with two individual titles and two relay titles.
Hopefully last week I did not miss any individual title winners. Many of these also took medals of lower denomination in other events, or like Sophie Redmayne won no individual medals at New Zealand Schools took a bronze at the Athletics New Zealand Championships and finally topped the podium at North Island. Part of this progression had been her successful participation in successful relays.
New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country International Rebecca Baker may not have won a title but enhanced her growing reputation as a leading middle distance runner.
At New Zealand Schools in December she won silver and bronze over 1500m and 3000m respectively in quality fields in nationally high-ranking performances. Baker did not attend the Athletics New Zealand Championships in March but returned to take second over 1500m at North Island. Baker had to dig deep as she was clearly unwell in Tauranga.
The aerobic strength developed over summer will I am sure pay dividends on the hockey turf his winter and she should also be among the leaders at the New Zealand Schools Cross Country in June.
Fellow New Zealand Schools Cross Country internationals Sarah Lambert and Zach Bellamy did not win any track medals but ran in a series of finals at major competitions.
They set a series of personal bests through the season and look to consolidate their track progress over the winter in cross country and will return next summer with the hope they can finally win track medals.
Karl Loebe, on exchange from Germany, may not have won any titles but impressed at New Zealand Schools reaching the final in three individual events and won a medal in relays. At the North Island Championships, he took silver in the Intermediate Boys 800m and will return to his native Germany with many track and field memories.
George Lambert gained a third place in the New Zealand Schools Road Race in December and added steeplechase bronze medals at both the New Zealand Championships and North Island Schools this year. These medals will bring encouragement to this hard working and promising middle distance prospect.
Josephine Perkins, who ran solidly in the middle of the field at New Zealand Schools on the track, won her first medal as part of the Road Race team and finally won her first individual podium place over the steeplechase barriers finishing second to team mate Ashleigh Alabaster in the under 16 event at North Island. In both steeples and in the 3000m where Perkins finished sixth, she produced significant personal bests.
Maggie Jones won her first individual podium place by finishing second in the 80m hurdles at the North Island Schools. In the same race her Whanganui High School team mate Paris Munro was fourth and Munro backed this up by running well over 300m hurdles. Both athletes have exciting futures and have youth on their side,
Other athletes gained success as relay team members and have shown promise in their individual events.
Lucy Brown ran the third leg in the Collegiate 4 x 100m team that broke the New Zealand Schools record and at the same meeting finished sixth with a massive personal best over Long Jump. Brown is still in the Junior grade at the end of the year and could well be an athlete to watch.
Other athletes who ran in successful Whanganui Collegiate and Whanganui High School relay teams over the season who may not have yet won a medal individually could, like Sophie Redmayne, make an individual break through next season.
It has been a wonderfully successful season and we all hope this can be built on in the 2019-2020 season.