Wind adds to challenge for leading secondary pupils

Otago secondary school triathlon senior male place-getters (from left) Jaxon Taylor (16, third),...
Otago secondary school triathlon senior male place-getters (from left) Jaxon Taylor (16, third), of Southland Boys’ High School, Saxon Morgan (17, first), of St Andrew’s College in Christchurch. Photos: Sean Nugent
Leading secondary school athletes from around Otago, Southland and  Canterbury competed  in  a triathlon in Wanaka yesterday.

More than 200 pupils took part in the Otago secondary schools triathlon championships at the Wanaka lakefront, and had the opportunity to race part of the course of Challenge Wanaka, which will be held tomorrow. A mix of teams and individuals  battled the wind throughout the 300m swim, 14km bike and 3.5km run.

The senior boys race was won by Saxon Morgan, of St Andrew’s College in Christchurch, after he sprinted away from Mount Aspiring College’s Gregor Findlay  along  the final straight.

Morgan had come  south with a friend to watch Challenge Wanaka and used the schools event as a training run for the national championships next month.

Findlay was not too  despondent about being beaten on the final stretch.

"I’ll live with that. I was just trying to hang on," he said.

The senior girls race was  won by St Hilda’s Collegiate pupil Cecilia Crooks, who eased over the line more than two minutes ahead of her nearest rival, Natalie Mitchell, of Mount Aspiring College.

Gregor Findlay (17, second), of Mount Aspiring College.
Gregor Findlay (17, second), of Mount Aspiring College.
She said the windy conditions had made the race very difficult.

"The waves were huge so it [the swim] was pretty hard but not as hard as the bike. I only started biking in December so that’s the hardest [discipline] for me at the moment," she said.

The junior boys and junior girls races were won by Grayson Westgate, of John McGlashan College, and Hannah Prosser, of  Mackenzie College respectively.

Mount Aspiring College  pupils made the most of home advantage by triumphing in the senior boys, senior mixed, junior boys and junior girls team events. Otago Girls’ High School won the senior girls team  section.

The leading athletes will compete in the South Island championships in Oamaru on March 4,  and some will also  go on to the national championships in Nelson a few weeks later.

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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