Coming from a family of keen mountainbikers, there really was no doubt Rotorua's Poppy Croucher was going to be part of the first mountainbiking event at Aims Games.
The Mokoia Intermediate student was one of about 200 young athletes who competed in the tournament's first mountainbiking event across four divisions. It included 11km Year 7 Boys, Year 8 Boys and Year 8 Girls races and a 5.5km Year 7 Girls race.
Poppy, who finished her Year 7 Girls in fourth place, secured a top five placing.
Poppy, who can often be found riding among the redwoods in the Whakarewarewa Forest with her friends and family, said she enjoyed the speed of the downhill but the technical uphills were also a highlight.
"It was really fun. I like the downhill and it had good uphill as well," Poppy says.
As a Year 7, this year is Poppy's first Aims Games event, competing in the mountainbiking and cross country events, finding herself more drawn to endurance type sports. However, she keeps herself busy outside of Aims Games with hockey and netball.
She and her mum, Sarah Croucher, enjoyed their Aims Games experience, and will continue to ride under the redwoods any chance they get.
"Our whole family ride, but quite socially," Croucher said.
Mountain biking event director Tristan Haycock said it was cool to see so many young people get involved in Aims Games' first mountainbiking event.
"To have this in Aims Games opens a lot of doors," Haycock said.
"It's great to see everyone out having fun."
The endurance mountainbike athlete said he wasn't any good at the sport when he was intermediate-aged, which proved any one of those competing in today's races could succeed in the sport.
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"At this age I was never any good at mountain biking.
"I was never any good at any sport but I was competitive and it was fun."
Other Bay of Plenty and central North Island riders to secure top five placings included
Taupō Intermediate's Toby Bowler, who was 2nd in the Year 7 Boys' race, Mount Maunganui's Taine Roy, who was third and ACG Tauranga's Kieran Slaven, who placed fourth. In the Year 7 Girls race Aquinas College's Eliana Hulsebosch was second and Pāpāmoa College's Alex Tilby-Adams was behind Poppy in 5th.
The Year 8 Boys race Bethlehem College's Riley Glover placed 3rd and the Year 8 Girls race was won by Mount Maunganui College's Poppy Lane, followed by Whakatāne Intermediate's Eva Fuller in 2nd.
Poppy Lane, who also competed in football during the games, said she felt good to have won her race and was looking forward to continuing her tournament with finals today.
Year 7 Boys - 11km:
1st: Fletcher Adams (Berkley Normal Middle School), 39min 13.39sec.
2nd: Toby Bowler (Taupō Intermediate), 41min, 0.58sec.
3rd: Taine Roy (Mount Maunganui Intermediate), 42min, 45.83sec.
4th: Kieran Slaven (ACG Tauranga), 43min, 43.24sec.
5th: Liam Brown (Maungaraki School), 43min, 49.98sec.
Year 7 Girls - 5.5km:
1st: Caoilinn Gray (Cambridge Middle School), 20min, 09.08sec.
2nd: Eliana Hulsebosch (Aquinas College), 22min, 09.79sec.
3rd: Victoria Barrett (Hilltop School), 23min, 19.13sec.
4th: Poppy Croucher (Mokoia Intermediate), 23min, 42.94sec.
5th: Alex Tilby-Adams (Pāpāmoa College), 24min, 29.69sec.
Year 8 Boys - 11km:
1st: Payo O'Sullivan (St Martins School), 37min, 01.41sec.
2nd: Kieran McMillan (Morrinsville Intermediate), 37min, 16.60sec.
3rd: Riley Glover (Bethlehem College), 37min, 22.07sec.
4th: Alex Shapley (St Heliers School), 38min, 19.24sec.
5th: Jonny Barclay (Remuera Intermediate), 38min, 20.65sec.
Year 8 Girls - 11km:
1st: Poppy Lane (Mount Maunganui Intermediate), 42min, 45.98sec.
2nd: Eva Fuller (Whakatāne Intermediate), 45min, 39.11sec.
3rd: Lara Comeskey (Tawa Intermediate), 46min, 20.25sec.
4th: Meghan Baker (St Martins School), 47min, 03.08sec.
5th: Alexandra Clark (Remuera Intermediate), 47min, 44.86sec.