Southlanders in NZ crosscountry champs field

Last updated 05:00 09/08/2014

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Eighteen Southland athletes are competing in today's New Zealand Crosscountry Championships in Christchurch.

The course at the Halswell Quarry is described by Invercargill coach Lance Smith as "deceptively tough, with a steady climb and a long sweeping downhill."

Corey Mennell, Ricky Gutsell and Debbie Telfer line up for Southland in masters grades today after compiling good form during the season.

Gutsell medalled twice at national championships last year, winning gold on the road and bronze in the crosscountry.

Telfer came away with a bronze from the road championships. She also won bronze at the New Zealand Crosscountry Championships when they were held at the Halswell Quarry in 2009.

Jack Beaumont spearheads Southland's junior brigade today. It will be his first race against national competition since he won a steeplechase at the New Zealand track and field championships in Wellington in March. His Winton clubmate, Alan Wilson-Woodford, who has progressed rapidly since taking up the sport seriously at the start of winter, will be at his first national-level competition.

He and running newcomer Walter Cross, of Gore, will gain valuable experience today.

Jordan Rackham is using the under-20 8km race as part of his preparation for the track season. The national secondary schools' 1500m champion has been restricted by injury and says he is not in shape for a top-five finish today.

Hannah Miller and Ffion Muhl have run well through the harrier season and could finish in the top three in the under-18 women's championship over 4km.

Southland is well represented in the younger grades, with Buddy and Albie Small and Benjamin Britton likely to feature in the under-15 boys' 3km. Josh Potter competes in the under-13 2km while Kate Johnstone and Briana Miller, both of Gore, are set to resume their rivalry in the under-15 girls' 3km after trading wins throughout season.

Live results will be available at athletics.org.nz.

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- The Southland Times

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