Tessa Webb wins Manawatu schools cross-country title at a canter

Feilding High School's Tessa Webb powers up a hill on her way to winning the senior girls title at Manawatu College on ...
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Feilding High School's Tessa Webb powers up a hill on her way to winning the senior girls title at Manawatu College on Wednesday.

There wasn't a soul within cooee of Tessa Webb as she cross the finished line at the Manawatu secondary schools cross-country championships at Foxton.

Feilding High School's Webb won the senior girls race at Manawatu College in 15 minutes 19 seconds and almost had enough time to do another half lap before the next runner came in.

Lydia Bamford from Palmerston North Girls' High School was second and her schoolmate Kelly Levin was third

Senior boys winner Alex Hull, right, and second-placed Harrison Porritt trek through the forest during the Manawatu ...
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Senior boys winner Alex Hull, right, and second-placed Harrison Porritt trek through the forest during the Manawatu secondary schools cross-country championships.

The 16-year-old Webb was hardly puffed even though she had flown around the 3.8km course.

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"I really like that course," she said. "Because it's the second year I've done it I much prefer the more hilly course to the flat ones.

"You can dig it in on the hills."

The sand dunes and hills out the back of Manawatu College were slippery, but it didn't slow year 12 student Webb down.

Webb took off at a greater clip than the rest at the start of the race and by the time she reached the hilly terrain, she had a big gap over the rest of the field.

She is aiming for cross-country nationals next month and she has qualified for the Oceania track and field championships in Fiji, where she has qualified for the 1500m, 3000m and the 200m steeplechase.

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The senior boys race was dominated by Palmerston North Boys' High School runners, who made up the top five.

The winner was Alex Hull, who finished the 4.8km in 17 minutes 40 seconds.

"It's pretty tough going back up that massive hill," he said. "It was a challenging course, but it certainly helps for the for the bigger up-and-coming races."

The 16-year-old, who is year 12, wants to be in good form for the Super 8 cross-country and the national championships.

He said the dunes and mud were tough ground to run on.

"Next time I'll wear the 12mm spikes rather than the 9mim."

Hull and second-placed Harrison Porritt challenged each other throughout the race, but Hull made a break going back around the dunes and stayed in front to the end.

Hull has recently moved to Manawatu from Kerikeri in Northland.

Boys' High's Ben Wall won the intermediate boys event, heading off last year's winner Theodore Purdy from Freyberg High School.

The pair traded places from last year, but Samuel Phillips (Boys' High) was third both years.

Sam Mackinder of Manukura won the intermediate girls race, having won the junior race last year.

Liam Wall of Boys' High won the junior boys race and Ashleigh Gunn from Freyberg High School won the junior girls competition.

Results:

Junior boys (3.8km): 1 Liam Wall (PNBHS) 15min 12.72sec, 2 Nelson Doolan (PNBHS), 3 Aaron Davis (Dannevirke HS). Team: PNBHS.

Junior girls (3.8km): 1 Ashleigh Gunn (Freyberg HS) 17min 36sec, 2 Tori Bendall (Tararua College), 3 Adelaide Roper (Nga Tawa). Team: PNGHS

Intermediate boys (3.8km): 1 Ben Wall (PNBHS) 17min 25sec, 2 Theodore Purdy (Freyberg HS), 3 Samuel Phillips (PNBHS). Team: PNBHS.

Intermediate girls (3.8km): 1 Sam Mackinder (Manukura) 17min 45sec, 2 Stephanie Walker (Dannevirke HS), 3 Georgina Bryant (Nga Twa). Team: Feilding HS.

Senior boys (4.8km): 1 Alex Hull (PNBHS) 17min 40sec, 2 Harrison Porritt (PNBHS), 3 Sam Bentham (PNBHS). Team: PNBHS.

Senior girls (3.8km): 1 Tessa Webb (Feilding HS) 15min 19sec, 2 Lydia Bamford (PNGHS), 3 Kelly Levin (PNGHS). Team: Feilding HS.

AWD (2.5km): 1 Murray MacDonald (Tararua College) 12min 30sec, 2 Hayden Wilson (Awatapu College), 3 Grace Finaluahi (Feilding HS).

 - Stuff

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