Young athletes show they're champs

Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012

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Taranaki grabbed two of the four Athletes of the Meet awards at the New Zealand secondary schools' track and field championships in Dunedin last weekend.

Zoe Hobbs (New Plymouth Girls' High School) and Matthew Baxter (New Plymouth Boys' High School) were both in outstanding form.

Hobbs, 15, won the junior girls' 100 metres in 12.07s, the 200m in 24.92s and the long jump with a distance of 5.60m. She capped off a memorable weekend with a second in the triple jump with a distance of 11.24m.

Hobbs' time for the 100m is the fastest recorded in New Zealand this season but was slightly over the legal wind limit and was not able to be claimed.

"My time for the 100m was faster than the winner of the senior girls' 100m, but it was wind-assisted," the year 10 pupil said.

It was the second time that Hobbs had competed at the nationals. Last year, she won two golds (200m and triple jump) and two silvers (100m and long jump) in Wellington.

"The 100 metres and 200 metres and the long jump are my favourites. I've been doing them since I was seven. I've only been doing the triple jump a couple of years," she said.

"The triple jump was the last event and I thought I may as well have a go at it seeing I won gold last year."

There will be little rest for Hobbs who will compete in the senior division next year. She has her sights set on the national club championships in March and the North Island secondary schools' track and field championships in April.

She has also been selected in the New Zealand secondary schools' team to compete at the Youth Olympics in Australia in mid-January. "You can only compete in two events and I haven't found out yet what events I'm in."

Baxter won the senior boys' 3000m title, winning by more than 30 seconds and smashing the record by three seconds to win in 8m15.50s. The record had stood for 21 years.

He was named in the New Zealand secondary schools' paper team after the completion of the championships.

Jono Brownjohn (NPBHS) was another in superb form, winning all four of his events in the AWD (athletes with disability) amputee section.

Brownjohn set records in 200m (29.17s), long jump (4.78m) and high jump (1.60m). His time of 14.05s in the 100m was over 1 seconds faster than the record but, like Hobbs, was over the legal wind allowance.

Madeleine Roughan (NPGHS) dominated the junior girls' 3000m, leading from the start. She never looked like being headed and cruised to the line with a 27-second winning margin in a time of 10m17.02s.

In the junior boys' 400m, Javon McCallum ran an impressive personal best of 51.34s to win silver.

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Kyle Van der Merwe, Francis Douglas Memorial College, claimed second in the senior boys' javelin with a throw of 60.68m.

The Hawera High School team of Brooke Chubb, Sydney Stone and Paige Stratton put in a solid effort to secure themselves the bronze medal in the three-person teams' event in the junior girls' road race.

- Taranaki Daily News

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