Geddes, Mackley make NZ team

Zara Geddes running for Otago in 2023. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Zara Geddes running for Otago in 2023. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Two more southern runners have been named in the New Zealand cross-country team for the world championships.

Hill City rising star Zara Geddes and Queenstown runner Siena Mackley will compete in the women’s under-20 grade in Belgrade at the end of March.

New Zealand cross-country under-20 bronze medallist Geddes and national under-18 3000m champion Mackley join Ariki champion Catherine Lund, who had already been named in the team and finished 27th at the world championships last year.

There will now be 18 New Zealand runners on the plane to Serbia.

An intriguing newcomer in the senior women’s squad is Nelson runner Annika Pfitzinger, who will follow mother Christine as a New Zealand world cross-country representative.

Pfitzinger, who claimed a silver medal at the New Zealand championships last year, has battled chronic fatigue syndrome for several years.

"To make my first New Zealand team at the age of 31 after so many years sidelined with chronic fatigue syndrome means the world to me," Pfitzinger said.

"My goal has always been to represent New Zealand on the international stage and while that looked very unlikely for a long time, I am so proud of how my team and I have persevered over the past few years to regain my health and get back to competing at a high level again."

Former New Zealand 10,000m champion Katherine Camp returns after running at last year’s world cross-country in Bathurst, and Australian-based Kiwi Caitlin McQuilken-Bell has also been selected.

They join Anneke Arlidge, who won the New Zealand 10,000m title in Dunedin at the weekend and whose mother, Glenys Kroon, also competed for New Zealand at the world cross-country, and UK-based Georgie Grgec.

Whippets club representative William Little is the sole senior man selected.

The 24-year-old finished fifth at the New Zealand cross-country last year, and last month posted a 10,000m PB of 29min 14.92sec at the Zatopek meet in Melbourne.

Dunedin running great Shireen Crumpton is one of the managers of the New Zealand team.


NZ cross-country
The team

Senior women: Georgie Grgec (Auckland), Anneke Arlidge, (North Harbour), Annika Pfitzinger (Nelson), Caitlin McQuilken-Bell (Auckland), Katherine Camp (Te Awamutu).
Senior men: William Little (Whippets).
U20 women: Catherine Lund (Ariki), Boh Ritchie (Hamilton), Zara Geddes (Hill City), Poppy Martin (Lake City), Siena Mackley (Queenstown), Ava Sutherland (Olympic Harriers).
U20 men: Christian De Vaal (Pakuranga), Matt Hill (Tauranga), Daniel Prescott Selwyn AC), Elliott Pugh (Tauranga), Lorcan Rabbitte (Victoria University), Az Cabusao (Te Puke Harriers).