There was a family feel to the podium at Whanganui Secondary Schools Cross-country Championships held on the Tawhero Golf Course on Wednesday.
Fifteen-year-old Louise Brabyn, who had competed so well on the track at North Island School in early April, won the combined Girls race to head off her older sister Ana, who was making a welcome return to competitive running.
They went through the first of the two 1.5km laps locked together, with the younger sibling only opening a gap in the final kilometre to win by 15 seconds.
Year 9 Maia Lupton (Whanganui Collegiate) ran a heady race to cross the line third in 11min 48s, taking the Year 9 title ahead of older athletes in the combined race.
The Sinclair family were to the fore in the boys' grades with Mathew Sinclair repeated his success on the track in March taking. the Year 9 Boys' title completing the 3km race in 11 min 15s.
His Year 11 brother Daniel Sinclair, running as a first-year senior, finished second by five seconds to his Whanganui Collegiate and Schools International and defending Whanganui Schools champion.
George Lambert won with a smart 13min 20s effort with Sinclair less than five seconds in arrears.
Whanganui Collegiate dominated the Senior Boys' race, filling the first six positions. Triathlete Hunter Gibson was third followed by Jonah Seeds, Tom Hercus and Elliot Jones.
Honours were shared more closely in the Year 9 boys', with Corban Eiseman of Whanganui High School finishing second and Charlie Anderson of Cullinane third, with track sprinter Samuel Hermann (Collegiate) fourth and Jack Keenan fifth to secure team honours for Whanganui Collegiate School.
Toby Caro won the Junior (under 16) title for a Whanganui Collegiate clean sweep of the individual titles, winning in 14min 40s over the 4km race, Jakob Anderson of Cullinane finished second, 19 seconds in arrears, with Caro's teammate Oliver Jones taking third place in his grade with Travis Pinnock of City College fourth, ahead of Jakob Anderson's Cullinane teammate Jack McDougall fifth in his grade.
Thomas Fitzgerald was next home to secure team honours and a clean sweep of team titles for Whanganui Collegiate.
Pascale Bowie (Whanganui Collegiate) with her best ever performance in Cross Country was fourth across the line second senior home in fourth place in the combined race with Abbey Peters (Cullinane the second senior home (10th in the combined race) a place ahead of Lucy Brown who secured Whanganui Collegiate team honours.
Theodora Gempton (Collegiate) took second in the Junior Girls (5th across the line) one place ahead of Mady Petley in sixth to secure Collegiate team honours.
Carrie Rennie (High School) in ninth was the next Junior home. Rebekah Boden-Cave (Collegiate) was seventh across the line to take second in the Year 9 girls' with her teammate Allegra Fyers-Venn, in 15th, to secure third in the Year 9 grade and securing a clean sweep of team titles for the Whanganui Collegiate Girls' teams.
Many of the leading runners will travel to Hawera next month to compete at the New Zealand Schools Championships in nearby Hawera on June 19.
There were 68 finishers in the main championships but this was compensated by 15 teams (60 athletes) running in the 4x1km relay event using the short Tawhero loop. This initiative was clearly enjoyed by runners and provided an exciting participation conclusion to the traditional cross-country championships.