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New Zealand Secondary School’s Athletics Championships 2002

The Nationals were held in Inglewood on the weekend of the 7th and 8th of December in some of the worse conditions experienced in the history of the event. These Nationals, for Wellington College, were characterised by the success of the juniors – a promising sign for the future.

On the Saturday Kent Hutchison made it through to the final eight of the Junior Long Jump, finishing in 7th position. There were no other competitors in field events on the first day and therefore no further opportunities for medals but many athletes progressed through to semi finals and finals. The most memorable event of the day was the sight of Terefe Ejigu battling his way through strong winds and torrential rain to easily qualify for the final of the Junior Boy’s 3000m. The day finished with Matthew Prosser and Ben Milne winning their semifinals in the Senior Boy’s 800m and the Junior Boy’s 4 x 100m Relay Team finishing third behind Otago Boys and Auckland Grammar to qualify for the final.

The first track final for a Wellington College athlete was the Junior Boys 3000 metres where Terefe Ejigu (Year Nine) was competing against Year Ten and Eleven athletes. A group of about six runners broke from the rest of the field early on in the race. When the pace was in danger of slowing Terefe took over the lead and in the final few laps only two runners were left in contention viz: Terefe and Dino Bozzone (a Year Eleven student and the favourite to win). Terefe managed to retain the lead until the final 200 metres when Dino proved too strong and sprinted away to win by seven seconds. In finishing second Terefe broke his own school record and confirmed the very real talent that he possesses.

The afternoon began with the 800 metre finals where Wellington College was represented by Matthew Prosser and Ben Milne in the senior race and Patrick Rosevear in the junior race. The Senior Boys 800 metres was a very slow race with no one willing to force the pace. Matthew Prosser made his move with 150 metres to go and came through to comfortably win. Ben Milne was caught at the back of the bunch and forced to sprint from too far out, tiring in the straight and eventually finishing in 5th position. The Junior 800 metres, on the other hand, was led out very quickly by Scott Nicol from Hastings Boys. Patrick Rosevear went through the bell in the middle of the field and was in fourth position entering the straight. A very strong finishing sprint brought him through to second place in a personal best time. The winning time of 1:57.01 was faster than the winning time in the Senior Boys Race.

As was the case in all the senior boys distance races the 1500 metres was a very slow race, going through the first lap in a slower time than the Junior Boys 3000 metres. Not surprisingly the pace picked up quickly, proving too difficult for Alex Olssen (who had done well to make the final) but Joe Highet showed his strength to hang on and finish strongly for a 4th placing.

As is always the case, the afternoon finished with the 4 x 400 metre relays. The loss of Edward Beable proved too costly for the senior team who narrowly missed out on a bronze medal. The junior team took over the 4 x 400m mantle from the seniors with an exciting win over a fast finishing Silverstream Team. The relay was led out by Kent Hutchison who ran a gutsy first leg to bring the team into the first change in third position. Terefe Ejigu ran a great leg, attacking the leaders with 150 metres to go and established a solid lead which was built on by Beau Brown (who had previously performed creditably in the final of the 400 metres). Patrick Rosevear managed to hold off the final Silverstream runner to complete the win.

One of the most promising things to come out of the Nationals was the progress made by the junior sprinters under the guidance of Mr Nick Hill. Liam Townsend, Tom McLean, Kent Hutchison and Dylan Taylor-Edwards all made the semifinals of the 100 metres with the latter three also qualifying for the semifinals of the 200 metres. They then combined together in the 4 x 100m relay to claim a much deserved bronze medal behind St Kentigerns and Otago Boys, narrowly holding off Auckland Grammar. The team had a five metre lead at the last change but was run down by the winners of the 100 and 400 metre races. This very good result has succeeded in establishing the much needed self belief in the members of the team and they are now motivated to improve on this result.

Top Eight Placings

Name

Competition

Placing

Result

Matthew Prosser

Senior Boys 800m

1st

1:57.17

Kent Hutchison, Terefe Ejigu, Beau Brown, Patrick Rosevear

Junior 4 x 400m Relay

1st

3:39.58

Patrick Rosevear

Junior Boys 800m

2nd

2:00.48

Terefe Ejigu

Junior Boys 3000m

2nd

9:05.30

Liam Townsend, Kent Hutchison, Tom McLean, Dylan Taylor-Edwards

Junior Boys 4 x 100m Relay

3rd

45.83

Joe Highet

Senior Boys 1500m

4th

4:10.13

Ben Milne

Senior Boys 800m

5th

1:59.48

Beau Brown

Junior Boys 400m

6th

54.85

Kent Hutchison

Junior Boys Long Jump

7th

5.96m

Jared Williams

Junior Boys Triple Jump

8th

11.48

Lyndon McGaughran

Senior Boys Road Race

8th

20.26