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College Athletics League Day Two
Most Wellington College middle distance athletes opened with PB’s on the second day of the College League (formerly Super 8) on a day when our sprinters were noticeable by their absence.
In the Junior 800 metres Zaan Janse went through the first lap in a solid 62 secs and took over the lead with 200 metres to go from a tiring Silverstream athlete to win in a new Personal Best time of 2 mins 10 secs.
In the Open 800 metres Scottish Harrier’s Abdullah Guled led out a very fast first 200 metres with Alex Olssen. Terefe Ejigu held back a little and drew level with the leading pair at the bell. The first lap time of 57 secs was comfortable for Terefe but a little too fast for Alex. The pair broke away from Abdullah Guled after the bell with Terefe taking the lead with 200 metres to go and kicking well away from Alex to win in a PB of 1:58.73. Alex’s second placing in 2:03 equalled his PB.
In the 3000 metres Brendon Blacklaws was able to tuck in behind Marty Turek of Scots College for much of the race. With 600 metres to go Brendon moved into the lead and had a handy enough lead in the final 100 metres to hold off a late charge from Turek to take 21 secs off his previous best, winning in 9 mins 40 secs. At the same time in Dunedin, Angus Taylor, the silver medallist in the Year Nine boys grade at the NZSS Cross Country Championships was too strong for the field to win in 9 mins 50 secs – further indication of Brendon’s ability on the National stage.
World Mountain Running Championships
Matthew Prosser finishes 6th in the World Mountain Running Championships held in Alaska this weekend. Lyndon McGaughran, our other Wellington College competitor in the championships finished in 39th position. Shaun Krawitz, finishing in 15th position was the other New Zealander in the team which finished 5th in the Junior Men's teams event. For detailed results check out the competition website.
Wellington Secondary Schools Road Race Championships
Once again only juniors were able to compete in the Wellington Secondary Schools Road Race Championships held at the stadium on Tuesday. Due to a GE Conference scheduled for the stadium on the Wednesday the race was moved to the previous day. As a result seniors were required to remain in class and be available to go through their Common Test results. A small team of three Year Nine and four Under 16's represented the college. In both age groups the Wellington College teams narrowly held off strong challenges from Scots College to win the teams events. Brendon Blacklaws and Terefe Ejigu both comfortably won their individual titles. Full results are available on the Scottish Harriers website.
Round the Lake Race
The annual Round the Lake race was held on Monday the 8th of September without the Lake. Due to a combination of factors the race was this year held at Wanganui Collegiate. As usual the race was well run but was not the same away from the lake. Due to Alec McNab's absence at the World University Games the race was held on the second Monday in September and unfortunately as that was the week of our senior exams we were only able to field an Under 16 and a Year Nine team. The Under 16 team was also weakened by the absence of Roger Wilson who was sitting an exam that day - as it turned out his absence was sorely missed. We ran Terefe Ejigu in the unusual position of third leg, realising that any lead he would have given us on the first leg would have been rapidly eaten away. Terefe ran an outstanding leg, bringing the team from 7th to first but he had too much ground to make up and the 5 metre lead he gave us was too small and our final runner was unable to hang on, the team eventually finishing fourth.
As usual Brendon Blacklaws gave us a solid lead in the Year Nine race and the team completed the job winning yet another title for the year.
Trentham Road Relays
Confusion over the date meant that only a small team competed in the Trentham (formerly Kilbirnie) road relays. It was only on the Saturday before the race that we discovered that the race was the coming Wednesday and not, as we had been led to believe by College Sport Wellington, the following week. As a result we only had time to organise one team in each age group. The team carried on from where it had left off at the Nationals winning all three team events and the three individual fastest times to Brendon Blacklaws, Terefe Ejigu and Matthew Prosser. Detailed results are available on the Scottish Harriers website.
BEST SHOW IN TOWN (NZ Runner July/August 2003)
The All Blacks might have been about to stomp Wales, but the best sporting scene on that Saturday was reserved for Wellington's Trentham Memorial Park when 1500 talented teens turned out for the annual New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country.
If Athletics New Zealand could bottle the enthusiasm, talent and pride on show in your average national secondary school cross country, the future of distance running in this country would be assured. Nothing in New Zealand running compares to the sight of 1500 kids thundering over hill and dale. Certainly. nothing compares to the pride and passion with which these kids attack the simple act of running.
Certainly very few schools compare to the pride and passion with which Wellington College attack their distance running. Even more so when the premier running event of the year is held in their own region. For more than 30 years now Wellington Boys College have dominated the distance running scene at secondary school level. They have produced more national titles than any other school. This year they added another six.
First up was a silky smooth display from Terefe Ejigu in the 4km junior boys event. A year ago this Ethiopian-born athlete impressed with a sharp kick to win the year-9 title. This year he was even more dominant in the tougher junior boys race. The Wellington College athlete faced the runner he outsprinted last year - Auckland Grammar's Matthew Mildenhall. But it was Mildenhall's teammate who proved the bigger handful. With 200m to run Ejigu appeared to have a race winning margin of Ssecs, but a big finish from Auckland Grammar's James Fisher brought him up to the Ethiopian's shoulder with just 5Om to run. But in exactly the same fashion as last year Ejigu simply glanced across and accelerated away for the win in 12min S4secs.
In other races Melanie Cleland from Chilton St James School won the year-9 girls title and Mt Roskill's Biruk Belachew the year-9 boys. In the junior girls 3km race Becky Holland lived up to her pre-race favouritism to win by 6secs head of Garin College's Terra Dumont. The senior girls race over 4km saw pace judgement triumph over front running when Matamata's Sarah Morgan came from Ssecs behind pre-race favourite Julia Grant after 2km to beat the Christchurch runner by I I sees.
In an event with so many highlights it was fitting that the highlight of the day came in the final race. In the preceding two years Wellington College's Matthew Prosser had finished 3rd and 2nd in the premier senior boys race. Sure he had won the junior boys cross country three years ago and there were plenty of titles from the track too. But the Wellington College seventh former had yet to win the most prestigious title in secondary school athletics.
As an 800m specialist who also happens to be the national junior mountain running champion, Prosser had all his bases covered for an attempt at the title that had thus far eluded him. He could handle a fast pace and he has a renowned kick. It was just as well too, because after fast 6km the race came down to the final 10m.
Prosser came into the race promising himself he was going to leave his run for as late as possible. Confident in his finishing speed, the plan was to let the competition do all the donkey work and then up the bits. It worked but only just. Following a sedate opening kilometre Fairfeild's Ahmed Salad went to the front and set about breaking up the bunch. A kilometre later the race was down to four contenders in Salad, Otago's Bevan Stevens, Northcote's Edwin Henshaw and sitting quite happily at the back Matthew Prosser. Halfway through the 6km race the winner was looking likely to be Salad. The African-born runner was making every kilo metre harder than before and the foursome was now strung out in single file. With 1500m to run he made one final bid into the headwind along the Hutt riverbank. He split the bunch up, but also cooked his own goose and with a kilometre to go Edwin Henshaw hit the front.
During all this time Matthew Prosser had been quite content to sit at the back in wait of the final 200m. But Salad's final surge split the bunch so quickly that Prosser suddenly found himself 5secs adrift. By the time he woke up Henshaw was headed for home and Prosser appeared to have blown his last chance at the only title he hadn't won. Except nobody told Matt Prosser and with 300m to run he started to sprint.
Charging so hard that he almost overshot a right angle corner to end up in the crowd, Prosser sprang from fourth to second. With 100m to go it still looked like Henshaw's race, but coming off the last corner Prosser's Wellington College teammates screamed him into yet another gear and Prosser drew up to Henshaw's shoulder Henshaw, his face scrunched up in fear of the inevitable dug down to hold Prosser off. But Prosser his own face scrunched in pure aggression, found yet another gear and with 10m remaining edged ahead to finally take the win he wanted most. It was distance running at it's best, and once again nothing compares to the national secondary school cross country.
Michael Jacques (NZ Runner)
Saturday, 19 July 2003
Wellington Cross Country Championships
It was good to see a sprinkling of Wellington College athletes at the Wellington Cross Country Championships at Waikanae today.
First up in the Masters/Under 20 race was Lyndon McGaughran and Gudisa Dehme. Lyndon ran a very well judged race, drifting off the pace a little in the middle stages but coming back strongly later in the race to win well for Olympic Harriers from Wellington Harriers, Danny Shaw and Hamish Clareburt.
The depth of talent that Scottish possesses in the Under 17 grade was evident today, with the quartet of Terefe Ejigu, Tim Hodge, Shaun Hunt and Patrick Rosevear breaking away early in the combined Men's Under 17/Senior Women's race. By the business end of the race Terefe and Tim had broken away, leaving Shaun and Patrick to try and hold off the challenge from Melissa Moon. Terefe, as has been the case for some time now, was too strong and came in a comfortable first ahead of Tim with Patrick kicking away from Melissa at the end. A strong sprint from Matt Singleton saw him almost catch Shaun Hunt with Brendon Blacklaws just behind. This was Brendon's first outing over 6000m and he probably went out a little too fast, but a creditable performance anyway.
I left after the Under 12/Under 14 race where Gareth James who races only occasionally off his soccer training produced a solid run for second.
It was good to see Nick Willis fresh off the plane from his exploits in Europe and there to support the local runners.
Tuesday, 15 July 2003
Monday, 14 July 2003
National Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships 2003
The Nationals were held in fine conditions at Trentham Memorial Park on Saturday 21st June.
After excellent results in the Karori relays and Wellington Championships, we were expecting very good results. Illness to key athletes in the weeks leading up to the Nationals tempered those expectations and made the outcome less sure.
The Year Nine team were a very strong age group and were expected to be strong prospects in both team events but with Daniel Robertson being ill with the flu all week the team was weakened a little. Brendon Blacklaws was a prospect for the individual title but was tripped twice in the first few hundred metres and ran an extremely courageous race to get back into contention, eventually finishing in fourth place. Auckland Grammar threw up a very strong challenge in the teams events, securing the three to count title but we managed to narrowly hold them off in the six to count to win by 152 points to 158. Daniels’s illness probably made the difference in the three to count where the team finished a narrow third behind Kings College on a recount (our third placed athlete finished 20th compared to that of Kings College who finished 18th).
The winning team (in finishing order) was Brendon Blacklaws, Andrew Underwood, Sam Peters, Gareth James, Daniel Robertson and John Atkinson.
The Junior (Under 16) team were an outside prospect for a team medal but in the end narrowly missed out finishing 4th in both teams events. In Blenheim last year Terefe Ejigu was the individual winner of the Year Nine race and was once again one of the favourites to win the Junior title. His main opposition was expected to come from Matthew Mildenhall of Auckland Grammar, the second place getter the previous year. Terefe took the lead late in the final lap and had a substantial lead coming into the final few hundred metres. However, as was the case the previous year, he eased up when he thought he was safe, not realising the strong challenge which was coming from James Fisher of Auckland Grammar. Fortunately he was warned in time and managed to gather a sprint and win by a few seconds. Auckland Grammar finished 2nd and 3rd in the race but were still unable to secure either team title, both of which were won by Christchurch Boys.
The Senior team was seriously effected by the flu with Alex Olssen and Kyle Rosevear having been ill for three weeks and neither of them properly recovered. With both of them unlikely to be able to make a major contribution the three to count title in particular looked to be an unlikely prospect, with Otago Boys expected to have two athletes in the top ten. Matthew Prosser was the favourite to win the title but strong challenges were expected from several athletes. Exciting finishes might be good for the spectators but they are nerve-wracking for coaches. Matthew lost contact with the top three in the final lap but came with a strong finish, out sprinting Evan Henshaw of Northcote College to win the title in the final 30 metres. Strong runs from Lyndon McGaughran (7th) and Patrick Rosevear (25th) managed to hold off the Otago Boys challenge to secure the three to count title. With the likelihood that Alex Olssen and Kyle Rosevear were unlikely to make a contribution someone had to step up and Matthew Singleton, Axel Tie and Gudisa Dehme did so, securing the six to count title by a comfortable margin. This is the fourth consecutive year that the senior team has won both titles.
Secondary Schools Cross Country Relays : 2003
The Secondary Schools Cross Country Relays were held at Karori Park on Wednesday the 7th of May in very good conditions.
As was the case the previous year, the senior boys team was affected by the withdrawal of one of our better athletes due to an accident suffered during the last weekend of the holidays. This however gave someone else the opportunity to compete in the Senior A team. The senior team was challenged a little in the mid stages of the race but strong runs from Kyle Rosevear and Alex Olssen brought the team home first a minute in front of Tawa College. The victory was set up by the first lap run of Matthew Prosser, whose time of 6:09 was the fastest lap of the day and only 4 seconds outside Ben Ruthe’s course record.
The team was: Matthew Prosser, Axel Tie, Patrick Rosevear, Gudisa Dehme, Kyle Rosevear and Alex Olssen.
In the Senior B team there were particularly strong runs from Matthew Singleton and Oliver Davie. This allied with the absence of Lyndon McGaughran and Ben Hawkes promises much for the desired depth of the team.
In 2002 this year’s Under 16 group as Year Nine students could only manage fourth place at the Karori Relays. This year the team was a lot stronger and won by one minute from Wanganui Collegiate. The team was ably led out by Terefe Ejigu whose time of 6:32 broke the record previously held by Matthew Prosser by two seconds.
The team was Terefe Ejigu, Zaan Janse, Shaun Stonnell, Josh Notman, Andrew Crowley and Roger Wilson.
The Year Nine Cross Country was held in abysmal conditions on the Friday prior to the relays and revealed a real depth of talent in the age group. This was borne out in the Cross Country Relays. The team was absolutely outstanding, winning in a new record time of 45 mins 15 secs (only four minutes behind the winning senior time and two minutes inside the previous record). The team was led out by Brendon Blacklaws who set a new lap record of 7:09, breaking the previous record of 7:15, set by Matthew Prosser, by 6 seconds. Daniel Robertson who ran the anchor leg also ran an outstanding time of 7:14, also breaking the previous record. But this team is not a two man show as the runs from the other athletes were also of an extremely high standard.
The team was Brendon Blacklaws, Sam Peters, Luke Fiso, Andrew Underwood, Gareth James and Daniel Robertson.
Sunday October 12, 2003 10:31 a.m. +1300