Academy prize pack awarded

Wakatipu High School headed off a long list of entries from around the country to win this year’s Coast to Coast Academy prize pack.

Entries into all categories for the February event have again sold out, but in the secondary schools section, Wakatipu has drawn first blood.

The academy focuses on supporting young people with advice and equipment to help maximise the enjoyment of competing in events like the Coast to Coast.

Team categories were pulled from the event last year due to Covid restrictions, but Wakatipu has shone in the two-day section in previous years.

Linus Ritchie, Jessica Macdonald and Sam Davis won the schools title in 2020 in a smart time of 12hr 23min 49sec, and the same team was runner-up to St Andrew’s College in 2021.

This year’s Wakatipu team of Josh Watson, Pete Davis and Tom Schenk will get a $1000 gear package as well as coaching and mentoring from Coast to Coast ambassadors.

Race director Glen Currie said the academy’s goal was to provide young people with knowledge and equipment to encourage them to participate in multisport activities and complete the Coast to Coast.

Making it accessible to all ages had been a top priority for many years, Currie said.

Wakatipu team member Watson, who will be tackling the kayak section of the race, has enjoyed getting into multisport while still at secondary school.

"I love the challenge, especially the mental side," Watson said.

"I keep pushing myself to overcome any barriers I encounter while racing. I tell myself it’s not a sprint; it’s about managing my energy levels to enable me to keep going."

Watson will be putting his kayaking skills to the test on the great unknowns associated with the 70km Waimakariri River stage, while Davis will take on the leg-shattering three cycle stages and Schenk the gruelling 33km mountain stage up Deception Valley and over Goat Pass.

With a joint love of multisport and having previously competed in other races together, it was an easy decision to form a three-person team and enter the Kathmandu-sponsored Coast to Coast, Watson said.

"We’re all super excited to compete together and look forward to getting out on the course."

The two-day event, which includes the secondary schools’ team section, starts on the shores of Kumara Beach at 7am on February 10, with the first competitors expected to cross the finish at New Brighton about mid-afternoon the following day.

The Longest Day section starts from Kumara at 6am on February 11, with the first competitors due to finish about 5pm.


Wayne Parsons