Athletics Wellington athletes claim individual and team medals at National Cross Country weekend

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Athletics Wellington athletes claim individual medals across a range of grades at the National Cross-Country Championships in Taupo on Saturday.

Wellington took titles in both U14 Boys and Girls events with Jacob Williams [Hutt Valley Harrier ] claiming gold over 3000m in a time of 10:10 16 sec of fellow Wellington athlete Matthew Meiklejohn [Trentham United Harrier], and the girls race was won by Zoe Hilton [Trentham United Harrier] in a time 11:37 for 3000metres.         

Masters’ individual athletes had their share of podium success across the five year age grades. Daniel Clendon [WHAC] finishing third in  M45-49 over 8km in 27:37 and in MM 55-59 over the same distance  Peter Stevens [Scottish] took gold in a time 30:35 for his division while Graeme Butcher [A&C Masterton] was 2nd in the MM 60-64 grade over 8km in 32:50. In the MM65+ 6000m race for Butcher’s clubmate Tony Price took bronze in 26:54 and John Wood [HVH] and Peter Ellis [Kapiti] took Gold and silver respectively in MM 80-84.   

In the Women’s grades a top performance came from Kate McHardy [Olympic] in the W18 winning in a smart time of 18.31 over 5km. There was plenty of intrigue in the women’s race with Sarah Drought a bold and commanding leader for most of the race until succumbing to chasing pack of Annika Grogan [Auckland ] and Annika Pfitzinger [Tasman] in the final 500m to hold on for the bronze medal over 10km in 37.33 10 secs behind Grogan. In the Masters Women’s grades Ayesha Shafi [Scottish] took silver in the MW 35-39  over 6000m while Heather Walker [Scottish] was decisive winner in the races with Gold for MW 50-54 for the 6km and the MW 55-59 were dominated by three Wellington athletes over the 6km with Victoria Humphries [WHAC] first in 26:59 ahead of Jan Sheppard [Olympic] in 30:00 and Belinda Walker [Trentham United] with 30:56.                                                           

In the Centre teams races a very strong Gold medal efforts went to the Women’s U18 team with winner Olympics’ Kate McHardy, sister Amy 7th and WHAC’s Poppy Healy 6th and Scarlett Anderson 24th and a dominant women’s 50+ team winning with 24 points comprising Belinda Walker [Trentham] 2nd, Vicky Humphries [WHAC] 5th, Michelle van Looy [Olympic] 7th and Andrea Harris [Wairarapa]10th. The  Senior Women placed 2nd with  Sarah Drought 3rd,  Maia Flint [Vic Uni] 8th, Saskia Cosgrove-Drayton  [WHAC] 12th  and 16th  placed Rain Milne [Vic Uni]. Men’s Under 20 placed 2nd in their grade with   Lorcan Rabbitte [Vic Uni] 5th , William Larkin [Wairarapa] 9th , Max Doherty [Olympic] 13th  and Josh Jordan [Trentham] 24th. In the Masters Team’s Wellington MM 35 -50 placed 2nd   with Dan Clendon, Jamie Duncan [WHAC] 12th , Stephen Day [Scottish] 14th and Josh Campbell [Trentham United]15th while the Masters Men 50+ of Scottish pair Peter 6th and Graeme Stevens 7th supported by Craig Holden [Olympic] 9th and Graeme Morrison 13th {WHAC] were silver medal winners.

Day Two – National Interclub Mixed Cross Country Relay
On Day two  was the inaugural for the National Championship Interclub Mixed Cross Country relay over 4 x 2km course after last years Challenge event. In the  Under 16 grade Trentham United took bronze with Zoe Hilton, Caleb Rice, Mathew Meiklejohn and Maddison Wos. Under 18 race Olympic Harriers took silver behind a slick Tauranga team with McHardy sisters, Max Doherty and Conner Kemp. In the prestigious senior race Wellington Harrier Athletics placed 2nd to North Harbour Bays with Liam .The Master 50  team title was taken by Wellington Scottish ahead of local rival Olympic Harriers Chesney, Dan Clendon Sarah Drought and Sakia Cosgrove Drayton . Wellington Scottish claimed silver in the Masters 35 grade with Hiro Tanimoto, Ayesha Shafi , Stephen Day and Emily Solsberg  . The Master 50 title was claimed by Wellington Scottish ahead of local rivals Olympic Harriers. Scottish team was Jim Jones, Anne Hare, Peter Stevens and Heather Walker while Olympic fielded Darren Gordon, Jan Sheppard, Craig Holden and Michelle van Looy.