Teens head to podium
Navigation is no problem for three local teenagers who topped the field at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Orienteering Championships.
Mathew Ogden and Gene Beveridge finished first and second respectively in the senior boys individual competition held in Foxton on July 17.
Ogden, in picking up his first individual secondary schools title, finished one minute and 46 seconds ahead of Beveridge.
The pair from Massey High were joined by school mate Tyler Casey in the relay section which they won by more than four minutes over a team from Napier Boys High.
Coach Mike Beveridge says the trio have been competing together since their days at Huapai District School and have had unprecedented success – being undefeated in the Auckland secondary schools competition for the past five years, taking out a North Island title and two national titles.
"Sometimes they live and breathe it. The more you do the better you get," their coach says.
The three talented sportsmen fit orienteering training in Woodhill Forest around their other endeavours.
Beveridge is a road cyclist, Ogden is a school and club soccer player and Casey is in Massey High’s top cricket, rugby and hockey teams.
Ogden and Beveridge are also members of the North-west Orienteering Club and their long-time coach believes they have big futures ahead of them.
"They are the top two boys in the country and have had stellar careers so far."
Both are involved in the New Zealand junior development squad where they receive specialist training.
"They have left me behind, they are at a different level now," Mike says.
The boys are in training for the Southern Cross Challenge in September in Australia.
It pits teams of the best New Zealand secondary school orienteering competitors against Australian secondary schools from each state. New Zealand holds the challenge trophy after retaining the title for the past five years.
Looking further ahead Ogden and Beveridge have next year’s Youth World Orienteering Championships in Denmark on their radar.