The tight 100 metre lap at the Jubilee Stadium, the closeness of spectators and the action-packed 100 minute programme all contribute to the enduring popularity of the Collegiate Indoor Athletics.
The indoor meeting started right back in the 1970s as a championship over a seven event programme.
When the Collegiate Winter Sport Festival was instigated 18 years ago the meeting was included in its present match format; four events in each of the seven grades with teams of six. All team members must compete in at least one event (40 metres, 600 metres, 4x100 metre relay and a 3 lap team pursuit based on the classic cycling discipline).
The format has worked well and has helped generate energy and excitement that has made the event a highlight of the House Sport Festival. I will continue to promote the concept as it is exportable and can work well in any school.
Grey House retained the Collerton Trophy for overall supremacy. While the event was about team competition a number of athletes shone and made an early indication of form for the forthcoming season.
Tayla Brunger had her first competitive outing since injury at the Colgate Games in January and impressed over 600 metres and in the relay. Genna Maples won the 40 metres in the short sprint and powered past opponents in the final leg of the 4x100 metre relay.
Oliver O'Leary, another athlete who missed late summer action through injury, ran well in the 600 metres, while Grey team mates Liam Back and Richmond Wells made a significant contribution to the house victory.
Leading 400 metre runner Grace Godfrey was clocked at 41.1 seconds for her 3 lap 100 metres which bodes well for the season.
The season starts for the Senior Club on Tuesday, October 17, the AGM at Cooks Gardens is the following day and the Children's Club starts on Monday, October 30.
An exciting season lies ahead for all our athletes including as indicated in an earlier article some major events at Cooks Gardens through the summer.
These include the Regional League on November 4, the Cooks Classic on January 23, the New Zealand Combined Events on February 24-25, Whanganui Schools on Wednesday, March 14, a major International Mile a week later (provisional) and ending with the North Island Schools on April 4-6.
As we approach the season I will feature regularly some athletes who are likely to make a major breakthrough along with features on athletes who have already made a major impact.
Rebecca Baker (Whanganui High School) is perhaps better known as a representative hockey player but is also an exciting cross country and track and field athlete.
Readers of my weekly column will note that I have long advocated that such athletics involvement can be of invaluable help with other codes because of the speed , power and movement components developed through athletics.
Baker only just missed a podium place at the North Island Schools in the Intermediate Girls 800 metres. At the New Zealand Cross Country she was 5th across the line in Junior Girls (4th Kiwi home) and at the Round the Lake she ran an outstanding opening leg in Whanganui High School's win in the junior Girls. Watch this space.
Richmond Wells (Wanganui Collegiate School) is an exciting decathlon prospect following in the footsteps of New Zealand senior champion Max Attwell. At the North Island he gained a podium finish in both the Pole Vault (1st) and 300 metre hurdles (3rd) with a 110 metre hurdle 4th place.
At the recent indoor meet he looked strong in both individual and relay events. He is targeting the New Zealand Combined Events Championships at Cooks Gardens in February.