Auckland Athletes Perform Well at NZ Cross Country Championships
New Zealand Cross Country Championships, Spa Thermal Park – 30 July 2022
Auckland Team Athletes Perform well at NZ Cross Country Championships, with age group gold medals to the following athletes.
Senior Women – Lisa Cross
Women 40-44 – Karen Donaldson-Barron
Women 65-69 – Margie Peat
MenU20 – Christian de Vaal
Senior Men – Matthew Taylor
Men 45-49 – Simon Mace
Solid hill training on the Port Hills of Christchurch paid dividends for Matthew Taylor as he outgunned training partner Cameron Avery on the final hill to charge through for the national senior men’s title.
Taylor clocked 31:24 for the 10km, 13 seconds ahead of Avery with Orienteering World Games sprint champion Tim Robertson of Hutt Valley third in 31:44.
Taylor, who was second to Oli Chignell in last year’s cross country championships in Dunedin, said it was pretty fantastic as the goal was to go one better than last year.
“The strength was there, the fitness was there. I haven’t done any races, this was my first cross country race of the season and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Taylor.
He added that the goal for the last three years has been to make the New Zealand team to the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst New South Wales next February.
Toby Gualter was fourth followed by Julian Oakley and Ronan Lee.
Taylor and Avery are both coached by Chris Pilone, who also coached the first and second – Chignell and Taylor – in the 2021 edition.
Bathurst was also on the mind of Lisa Cross as she destroyed a quality senior women’s field to win the 10km title by a wide margin.
After the first 2km lap Cross maintaining her own pace eased into the lead and steadily gained ground the further the race progressed.
She finished full of running in 36:44. Defending champion Kerry White was second in 37:28 and Hannah Miller third in 37:39.
Cross said that it was a matter of keeping her pace schedule on target and focusing on her own race.
“Bathurst is absolutely a goal, I’ve had an amazing career and that would just finish it off for me,” said Cross.
Cross was back in Auckland yesterday finishing first woman in the Run Auckland 10km at Paremoremo in 41:10.
Christian De Vaal was a convincing winner of the U20 8km in 25:38. Cameron Maunder was second in 26:41 and Ronan Codyre third.
De Vaal said his tactics was to put the pace on from the start.
“I go out hard and get a gap which works well for me, and it is what won it for me today,” he said.
Boh Ritchie at 15 years of age moved up to the U20 grade with the view of making an impression when the selections for Bathurst come around.
Ritchie put up an impeccable display of running to win the 6km in 22:16. Defending champion Hannah Gapes was second in 23:07 and Peyton Leigh third in 23:49.
Waikato Bay of Plenty athletes Matt Hill and Lourie Endres took gold and silver respectively in the U18 6km and Daniel Prescott was third. Catherine Lund outshone Bella Earl in the U18 5km with Zara Geddes third.
Oliver O’Sullivan 35-39 of Otago gave a gutsy performance to head in the masters 8km in 27:15. Simon Mace 45-49 was second in 27:24 and Brian Garmonsway 40-44 was third in 27:40.
Sally Gibbs at the age of 59 was first in the master women’s 6km in 23:26. Sarah Douglas 35-39 was second in 23:44 and Karen Donaldson 40-44 third in 24:09.
U16 boys Alfie Steedman, George Wyllie and Jack Erikson. U16 girls Amelia Clark, Scarlett Robb and Courtney Fitzgibbon.
U14 boys Max McGregor, Louay Benaoum and Otto Church. U14 girls Paige Dobson, Abby O’Boyle and Leah Marais.