Harrier run times good omen for trio
Hannah Miller, Ffion Muhl and Grace Buckingham competed in harriers on Saturday as a lead into the Southland secondary schools' cross-country championships in Te Anau tomorrow.
The trio recorded the fastest times by women in the harriers' run at Otatara, with Miller clocking 32min 43sec (7km), Muhl running 33.29 and Buckingham 33.55. They will continue their race-rivalry in the senior girls' section tomorrow.
At the secondary schools' cross-country in Te Anau last year, Miller (Southland Girls' High School) won the under-16 girls' division from Muhl (James Hargest College) with Buckingham (Southland Girls' High School) third.
Jack Beaumont, who celebrated his 17th birthday on Sunday, and Jordan Rackham are expected to dominate the senior boys' event tomorrow. Rackham, of Southland Boys' High School, is the New Zealand secondary schools' senior 1500m champion. Beaumont, of Northern Southland College, holds a national steeplechase title.
Both athletes are coached in Invercargill by Lance Smith.
"They train together, know each others strengths and weaknesses and almost know what the other is thinking during a race," Smith said.
"It will be a contest of strength [Beaumont] versus speed [Rackham]."
Beaumont and Rackham were first and second, respectively, in the 10km male open of the Southland Festival of Running in November.
At last year's secondary schools' cross-country in Te Anau, Beaumont won the under-16 boys' category and Rackham finished second in the over-16 boys'.
Beaumont, of Northern Southland College, was the fastest male at Saturday's harriers' run, registering 26min 43sec (7km). Veteran runner Ricky Gutsell had the next best time of 28.20, while Alan Woodford, also from Northern Southland College, clocked the fourth fastest of 31.09.
Woodford will find Verdon College's Liam Cullen difficult to beat in the under-16 boys' section at tomorrow's cross-country meet. Strong opposition is also likely from Dylan Forde, of Central Southland College, and Walter Cross, of Gore High School. Southland Boys' High School's Buddy Small and James Hargest College runner Matthew Prince are in form for the boys' under-14 run.
Briana Miller, of Southland Girls' High School, and Kate Johnstone, of St Peter's College, are favoured in the under-14 girls' division. However, they could be tested by Jade Maxwell, of Menzies College, and Prue Buckingham, of Southland Girls' High School.
Miller and Johnstone had a see-sawing battle for supremacy on the track during the summer.