The 2018-2019 season has started with a bang. Successes include team road relay titles in Rotorua and a raft of great opening club night performances on a cold windy evening at Cooks Gardens.
The annual Wanganui Collegiate pre-season camp held in Tauranga was arguably the best held. The camp traditionally ends with the distance runners competing in the annual Rotorua Ekiden Relay.
The opposition for the Collegiate teams was not strong but the way they tackled the race and conditions was outstanding. The boys ran the fastest ever school time, slicing nearly 9 minutes off the previous best.
The team of Jo Sinclair, William Sinclair, Zach Bellamy, Liam Back, George Lambert and Ethan Gillespie completed the marathon distance in 2 hours 27.9 minutes to record the second-fastest time by any team in the 15-year history of the event,
The girls' team of Marseille Bowie, Josephine Perkins, Ashleigh Alabaster, Sarah Mathews and Caitlyn Alabaster sliced 2.5 minutes off the previous school best to lead and in the process set the fastest-ever all-female time.
Jo Sinclair and Liam Back carried this form on to Tuesday's club night in the 600m. Back took the pace with Sinclair winning the race home to record times of 1:22.76 and 1:23.85 both substantial personal bests. Max Crowley in third finished in 1:26.92 to set a three second best.
NZ Schools International Emma Osborne won the girls 600m from Sarah Lambert. Osborne's winning time was a respectable 1:43.83.
Fellow New Zealand Schools representatives Tayla Brunger and Genna Maples showed good early season form with good performances in boys races finishing second in their races. Brunger over 300m (41.73) and Maples over 60m (7.99 seconds).
Maples later won the 150m in 19.15 with team mate Brunger close behind in 19.41 to record two excellent early season bests.
Jonathan Maples won the aforementioned 300m over Brunger adding interest to the occasion by running the distance over hurdles in a good season opener of 41.59. Travis Bayler opened his season with a good 37.83 over the flat 300m.
George Lambert another member of the winning Ekiden team set a best to win the 2000m road race in a personal best 6:02.62. Triathlete Maddison Gray was the leading female also in a best time 7:27.13.
In the field events, Keiran Pere had the leading triple jump performance with a 12.82 effort with young Jacky Dai in second in 19.65. Dai had earlier won his 60m, Lucy Brown won the female division with a 9.84 effort with Paris Munro in second. Pati Leo impressed in the shot with a personal best 13.68m that bodes well for the season.
On the track, North Island Schools junior sprint medal winner Sophie Williams showed good early season form and had clearly benefitted by work with New Zealand coach Kerry Hill at the Tauranga camp. Williams won the 50m in a personal best 8.33 seconds and backed this up by finishing close to Maples and Brunger over 150m.
Action returns to Cooks Gardens next Tuesday in hopefully warmer conditions.