Geddes, Lund one-two in national champs

St Hilda's runner Zara Geddes (centre) stands on the podium after winning the New Zealand schools...
St Hilda's runner Zara Geddes (centre) stands on the podium after winning the New Zealand schools cross-country in Nelson at the weekend. Receiving the silver medal from New Zealand running great Rod Dixon is Catherine Lund (Otago Girls’). PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Two Otago athletes have battled through muddy conditions to shine on the national stage.

Zara Geddes and Catherine Lund claimed a one-two finish for the province in the senior girls event at the national secondary school cross-country championships in Nelson.

Geddes (St Hilda’s Collegiate) won gold in 14min 20sec, 5sec ahead of Lund (Otago Girls’ High School) over the 4km course.

They were 16sec clear of the rest of the field.

The duo had dominated the Otago schools cross-country series, Lund having claimed victory in the Otago championships.

She cleared out from the pack after about 1.5km in Nelson, although was closely followed by Geddes.

However, Geddes was able to navigate a muddy section of the course better and took the lead with 300m to go.

Geddes, who is coached by Dave Stinson, had finished second in the national under-18 cross-country race last year and knew she was a good chance going into the race.

“But I knew there were lots of other really strong runners out there," she said in a press release.

"So I thought the race could have gone to anyone. But I knew if everything went right I was capable of taking the win.

"I planned to try and stick with the leading bunch for as long as possible.

"But, as it turned out, we broke away quite early and my plan was not to lead out too hard, but stick with the front.

"I had a good track season and I’ve always liked the cross-country. I was pleased to come away with the win."

Lund took 3min off her time a year ago, when she placed 10th.

They were also both selected for the New Zealand secondary schools team to race in August’s Australian cross-country championships in Adelaide.

The Otago duo then combined with Southland trio Siena Mackley, Samantha Fookes and Kennedy Taylor to claim gold in the senior girls interprovincial relay.

They led from start to finish and won the 5x2000m race in 36min 4sec, finishing ahead of Wellington by 12sec.

Mackley (Wakatipu High School) also claimed a top-10 finish in the junior girls, placing ninth.

James Weber, also of Wakatipu, finished seventh in the year 9 boys.



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