There is always debate and controversy following all awards ceremonies.
In this wrap up of the track and field season, I will stick my neck out and attempt to name the leading male and female athletes in the different track and field disciplines.
As indicated in an article at the start of May, Whanganui has featured nationally in hurdle events and, at the season-ending North Island Schools, Whanganui athletes took the first four places in the senior girls' 300m hurdles.
Maggie Jones was clearly our leading female hurdler with a 300m-100m double at North Island Schools to back up her New Zealand Schools gold and silver in the respective events with performances that saw her included in the New Zealand Schools' paper team.
Although Flynn Johnston and Jonathan Maples won 400m medals in under 20 and Senior 400m hurdles, my pick of the male hurdler goes to Nat Kirk with a double bronze at New Zealand Schools and a silver in the 110m hurdles at North Island Schools. He might have strengthened his claim further had he not fallen in the home straight in the 300m hurdles when in a strong position, having to settle for fourth.
At the end of 2019, Whanganui had the leading three female under 18 sprinters in New Zealand. Over the following 15 months, Sophie Williams (New Zealand Schools junior 100 m record-holder) moved to Auckland and has had a series of injuries that have kept her out of major competition.
Tayla Brunger did run for Whanganui in the two opening Regional League meetings last November with performances that put her at the top of the Whanganui sprint rankings for the season before transferring to Waikato, where she won the New Zealand under 20 100m and was second in the 200m.
Genna Maples has had a frustrating year with injury both at New Zealand Schools in Tauranga and the New Zealand Championships in Hastings. Maples made the under 20 200m final at the latter but was reinjured, limping in at the tail of the field. With limited competition, Maples sits at fifth in the New Zealand under 20 rankings. Brunger is currently third.
Bella Willis has demonstrated genuine promise dominating the intermediate girls' sprints at Whanganui Schools and finishing a highly creditable fourth in a strong North Island Schools field when she was unwell. With Brunger now Waikato-registered, my pick goes to Maples.
The male ranks were not strong with only Flynn Johnston reaching a major final, Jonathan Maples being disqualified in the senior national 200m final.
In throws, the consistent Sophie Andrews left her best to last with a personal best in the under 20 New Zealand hammer when she came fourth. In the males, young Cody Campbell with his placing in the junior javelin is my pick while in jumps Jacky Dai was fourth in his senior debut at New Zealand Schools and third at North Islands in the triple jump to take the male award.
In the females, Maggie Jones with her performances at Whanganui Schools just shades Whanganui Collegiate high jump record holder Emma Bedford.
In middle distance and distance events, George Lambert took silver in the New Zealand under 20 steeplechase with Ben Conder third but my distance pick goes to race walker Lucas Martin, who retained his New Zealand 10,000m track walk title and backed this up with silver medals at New Zealand and North Island Schools.
In October, he won the 5km road walk, breaking a series of New Zealand age-group records in the process. Martin is a strong candidate for the Toby Bowyer Club trophy in memory of a Whanganui coaching great.
In the female grades, Mackenzie Morgan was second at the New Zealand Schools road race with an excellent performance. Morgan was unable to run on the track because of injury and my female pick is Louise Brabyn, who might not as yet have won any medals but her series of personal bests shows huge potential.
My leading overall male athlete is Lucas Martin and my leading female is Maggie Jones and, as with other awards, there needs to be an overall Supreme Award and, in my opinion, this would go to Maggie Jones.
Next week I will preview the New Zealand Schools Cross Country.