COACH'S CORNER : 2002 Archives
National and International Organisations
Local Athletics Clubs
National Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships 2002
The National Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships were held in Blenheim in very cold conditions. The course although basically flat with a few stop banks to negotiate proved very difficult for those who were caught in the bunch at the beginning. The sharp turns and changes of pace going up and down the banks made it difficult for some athletes to maintain a rhythm.
The Wellington College team was well prepared and reasonably expected to achieve considerable success. Illness which struck the Under 16 team effected this expectation considerably. Adam Cahill, who had been in excellent form, was ill all week and although he ran was well below par. Sam Herrick was forced to withdraw from the team the night before departure. When illness caused the withdrawal of Patrick Rosevear (last year’s champion) on the morning of the race the chances of winning the three man title effectively disappeared and the prospects in the six man team were seriously effected. The depth of the squad did mean that the team was able to produce a creditable second placing with the six man team.
The senior team were strong favourites to retain their National titles and this proved to be the case. Matthew Prosser was one of three favourites to win the individual title. On the day the other two athletes were too strong for him and he had to settle for third placing which he snatched on the line with a final sprint. The outstanding performance was the fifth placing of Lyndon McGaughran in a very competitive field. A strong finish from Matthew Curran who passed three Auckland Grammar athletes in the final 400 metres secured the three man title and solid performances from Peter Sygrove and Alex Olssen ensured the team retained the six man title. Given that four of the top six athletes are returning to school next year, the prospect of retaining these titles for a third year is very promising.
The individual performance of the Nationals was that of Terefe Ejigu in the Year Nine grade. Terefe ran an excellent race, following the race plan to perfection, to win the individual title from a tall, strong Auckland Grammar athlete. Terefe sat behind the Auckland Grammar athlete for the first two kilometres of the three kilometre course and kicked strongly up the final stop bank to gain a twenty metre lead. He eased up a little in the final 400 metres allowing his opponent to mount a challenge but when he saw the threat he was easily able to increase his pace to win by two seconds. This is Terefe’s first year racing and, with experience, he has the prospect of developing into an outstanding athlete. The remainder of the team were trapped in the large field and found it difficult to work their way through the field. They finished fourth in the six man event but once again were missing one of their top athletes with illness.
McEvedy Shield 2002
The 2002 McEvedy Shield was one that coaches and athletes alike would prefer to forget with the loss of the shield. The signs were present after the 2001 result where Silverstream performed comparatively better than Wellington College for the size of the school. This was confirmed by very good performances from a large Silverstream team at the Nationals in December of that year. Unfortunately complacency from too many athletes who failed to turn up to training on a regular basis meant that the team was under prepared. This, combined with a rained out school sports (there was no back up date available due to the resurfacing of the Newtown Park Track), contributed to the loss of the shield to Silverstream.
There were still some very good performances with the middle distance athletes managing to dominate despite a strong Silverstream challenge. Matthew Prosser and Patrick Rosevear dominated their age groups, both winning the 800-1500 metre double. We also saw the rise of a future star with Terefe Ejigu winning his 800 metre race and placing 2nd in the 400 metres. The long and triple jumpers acquited themselves well with very good performances from William Helu, Tama Makamaka, Patrick Rosevear and Jared Williams. The unwillingness to train by many of the sprinters meant that we gave up ground to well prepared Silverstream athletes and if these athletes do not change their attitude in the future the situation will worsen. The major disappointment was the inability of an able group of throwers to produce the points of which they were capable. Once again the throwers failed to regularly attend practices preferring instead to throw on their reputations.
An examination of the detailed results below reveals two additional facts (i) the lack of points in the hurdles – highlighting the need for a specialist hurdle coach and (ii) the domination of the results by a few athletes. Anyone who has been involved in McEvedy Shield will be aware that the 3rd and 4th placings are essential to winning McEvedy and that these often come from athletes who may earn very few other points. Unlike athletics in general which is an individual sport McEvedy is a team event and those athletes who get out and put in the effort to gain a 3rd or 4th place contribute as much to the victory as the "blue chip" athletes who are guaranteed to win their events.
Thursday July 17, 2003 07:04 PM -0400