Whanganui athletes travelled home from the Athletics (NZL) Championships in Christchurch at the weekend with excess baggage after an outstanding medal haul.
Tayla Brunger was the leading Whanganui medal winner.
She won the 100m-200m sprint double and backed this up with a silver in the 400m and a share of relay medals - a gold in the 4x100m and a bronze in the 4x400m.
Brunger opened the account on day one in the 100m, recording 12.07 seconds on a day of strong winds - a surprisingly legal wind of 1.1m per second - to win the under-20 title.
The under-20 400m final on day two lived up to its promise.
The race was won by Isabel Neal from Tasman, her maiden Athletics (NZL) title, in a personal best 55.56.
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Neal has overcome injury and the difficult conditions in Christchurch.
Brunger was second in 55.58 with Whanganui's Emma Osborne finishing 4th with a season's best of 56.86 (5th across the line) following the disqualification of Neal's team- mate Camry Smart.
Brunger ended the second day combining with her Collegiate team of Emma Osborne, Aria Carroll and Genna Maples to win gold in the 4x100 metres, breaking the Collegiate record by more than two-tenths of a second against regionally selected Centre teams, stopping the clock in 48.22 seconds.
On the final day of competition Brunger ran a huge best performance over 200 metres in an impressive 24.17 seconds but the following wind of 2.2m/s was just over the allowable level for record purposes.
Brunger ended her championships with a hard-earned bronze in the under-20 4x400 metres when she joined Monique Whiteman (Palmerston North), Emma Osborne and Sophie Redmayne. Redmayne, now at Canterbury University, continued her great service to MWA and Collegiate Relay teams with yet another relay medal.
Lucas Martin had an outstanding championships.
Like last year he chose to enter the under-20 3000m walk while still eligible for under-18 grade.
In a race that combined all three grades for both genders Martin crossed the line behind the senior men's winner international Quentin Rew, the female winner - another international, Alana Barber - and the under-18 winner, (NZL) schools champion Daniel de Toit.
In difficult conditions Martin was a few seconds shy of his personal best.
Two days later Martin lined up in another combined field over 10,000 metres, finishing the demanding 28 laps in 48 minutes 24.23 seconds - a full three minutes faster than his silver medal effort a year earlier.
Only the (NZL) internationals Rew and Barber were ahead of him after an outstanding display of race walking.
Maggie Jones, who next week heads for (AUS) as part of the (NZL) Schools team, will have gained considerable confidence by her two silver medals, won in the 100-metre hurdles and 300-metre hurdles.
Jones came home with a third silver medal in the 4x400-metre relay when she combined well with Ana Brabyn, Mackenzie Morgan and Genna Maples.
Maples made an outstanding return to form, running the anchor leg in both the under-20 4x100 and the under-18 4x400 relay teams. In the latter she ran her one lap in 56.8s, more than a second faster than her previous best.
Maples was fourth in the 100 metres, losing after recording the same time as the bronze medal winner, and although wind aided was only a tenth of a second outside of her best.
Maples suffered an unfortunate clash with long jump, having to cross the ground early in the jump competition to take her place in the 4x100 relay.
Maples returned to find herself out of the medals and in danger of not qualifying.
She responded well with a calendar-year best of 5.60 metres to take gold.
Maples had to be content with another 4th in the 200 metres but had the consolation of knowing her wind-aided time of 24.57 would have snared a medal in the under-20 grade.
New Zealand has a strong crop of junior women sprinters.
Liam Back chose to run in the senior men's 800 metres and finished a highly creditable 4th with a personal best 1:53.19.
Running in his own under-20 age group Back finished with a silver medal in what became a slow and tactical 1500m final (4:06.99).
Teammate Zach Bellamy, who had qualified as a heat winner, was also caught in the slow tactical final well down the field.
Andres Hernandez (under-20) took silver in his maiden 3000 metre steeplechase final while George Lambert took bronze in the 2000 metre steeples at under-18 level.