St Pat's Town win McEvedy Shield
St Pat's Town got the jump on their McEvedy Shield rivals at Newtown Park yesterday.
An outstanding effort in the jumps events helped Town record a surprisingly dominant victory over defending titleholders Wellington College.
Town came out of the 54 events with 202 points, well clear of Wellington College (157) and St Pat's Silverstream (121), with Rongotai on 56.
It was the biggest winning margin in the past six years and the only time any school has topped 200 points in that period.
It was also Town's third triumph in five years, following wins in 2008 and 2010 and savoured as much as the previous two by head coach Leigh Lidstone.
"This might have been the best of them because it's been the most complete," Lidstone said. "I've been coming here for 12 years and I know how hard it is to win.
"I knew we had a realistic chance of winning but I was nervous and still thought Wellington College deserved to be favourites.
"But I'm delighted for our boys and extremely proud of the college. You have to have the class [athletes], because they provide the inspiration, but you need the whole school to buy in. A school our size can't have anyone [with talent] in the stand."
Lidstone had been confident that Town could dominate on the track but had been less optimistic about the field events, which have been an Achilles heel in the past.
"We have usually been trying to stem the damage in the field and this was the first time we have dominated the jumps."
Town had three wins and three seconds over the four high jump divisions, recorded two wins in the long jump and won every age group in the triple jump.
The Town jumpers were led by gifted year nine pupil Siosaia Paese and year 13 Tom Vodanovich, who set a McEvedy record in the open high jump.
Paese had a remarkable meeting, with five wins and a second from six individual events. He won the under-14 200m, was the runner-up in the 100m, bolted away with the hurdles and dominated the jump events.
He went straight from the 200m to the high jump, where he equalled the McEvedy record, before setting fresh records in the long jump and triple jump.
Paese, who not unsurprisingly has also shown high promise on the rugby field, was inside the McEvedy record when recording a wind-assisted 23.79 in the under-14 200m and was the runner-up to schoolmate Fa'aolataga Tau in the 100m.
Tau and twin brother Mafutaga mixed and matched their talents yesterday, as Town sought to take best advantage of the school's superiority among the under-14 sprinters.
Fa'aolataga won the under-14 100m in 11.48, inside the previous record, and successfully stepped up to the under-15 division for the 200m, winning in 23.76. He headed off his brother when the twins filled the first two placings in the under-14 400m and finished third in the under-14 long jump and was second to Paese in the triple jump.
Mafutaga had his moment of glory when he made a big jump to the under-16 division for the 100m and won in 11.48, with little wind assistance. For St Pat's Town captain Daniel Hunt yesterday's meeting represented a shift from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Hunt won the open 1500m and finished third in the 3000m, in contrast to his sole previous McEvedy appearance. "The only other time I've made the McEvedy team was in 2010, when I ran last in the 3000m and was lapped."
However, athletics is now his sole sporting focus and he was lifted by being appointed captain. "That was so motivating. My schoolwork has probably suffered a bit but I don't think too many teachers will be worrying now."
Hunt was delighted to win the 1500m but that was superseded as a career high point when the McEvedy result was confirmed.
"I've been dreaming about this [McEvedy win] for weeks. We've been working on this for 365 days, since last year's meeting. I'm just about lost for words."
St Pat's Town 202
Wellington College 157
St Pat's Silverstream 121
Rongotai College 56