Southland athletes head to NZ champs

JAMIE SEARLE
Last updated 12:53 25/03/2014
Jack Beaumont
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Jack Beaumont (Northern Southland College) is a strong medal hope in a 2km steeplechase at the New Zealand track and field championships in Wellington on Sunday.
Liam Cullen
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Wellington-bound Liam Cullen (Verdon College) splashes out of the water jump in a steeplechase at Surrey Park, Invercargill.

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Some of the young guns in Southland athletics will mix it with the country's best at the New Zealand track and field championships in Wellington on Friday through to Sunday.

The 14 secondary school students in the 19-strong Southland team are: runners Ffion Muhl, Jordan Rackham, Jack Beaumont, Hannah Miller and Liam Cullen; jumpers Regan Wilson, Atipa Mabonga, Patrick Taberner, Laura Overton, Caitlin Kenny, Yvonne van Baarle and Emma Hopcroft; and throwers Hinewai Collins and Jack Welsh.

Middle-distance runner Jordan Rackham (Southland Boys' High School) was pleased with his training at the weekend after having had the flu last week.

"I'm definitely looking forward to the 800m [in Wellington]. I think we can produce something special there," Rackham said.

"You've got to step up on the day and I haven't failed to do that yet."

His events are the under-20 800m and 1500m. He is the New Zealand secondary schools 1500m champion.

Invercargill coach Lance Smith believes Liam Cullen (Verdon College) and Jack Beaumont (Northern Southland College) are medal hopes in the under-18 2k steeplechase.

Emma Hopcroft (Southland Girls' High School) heads to the capital with top long jump form recently. Her stunning 5.62m jump at the Otago-Southland secondary schools' athletics in Invercargill this month took her to the top of the girls' under-18 national rankings.

"She's getting better," coach Smith said.

He reckons Hinewai Collins (Southland Girls' High School) and Jack Welsh (Southland Boys' High School) have the ability to win medals in the hammer and discus, respectively, in Wellington.

 

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- The Southland Times

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