Taking on the world
Cambridge High School's Talia Horgan will be winging her way to Ukraine next year after qualifying for the world youth championships with a superb performance at the national secondary school track and field championships in Dunedin at the weekend.
The 16-year-old comfortably won the senior girls' 400m title on Sunday in a personal best time of 55.14 seconds, which ensured she met the qualifying standard for the world championships.
It was the Year 11 student's first year in the senior ranks. She has won the national junior title the past two years.
After running 56.5 seconds in her heat, Horgan bettered that in the final and still managed to win by a huge 3.6 seconds.
There was plenty more Waikato success on the track.
Kerry White, from Te Aroha College, won the senior girls' 800m in 2:09.91, while Waikato Diocesan School for Girls' Tarryn Davey was third.
Dio's Olivia Ritchie, who was fourth in the senior 1500m, won the senior 4km road race by almost 24 seconds, as she finished in 13:49.69.
Ellie McCleery, also of Dio, was second in the senior 200m, 0.38 seconds off the winner, and she, along with Davey, Jessie Hodges and Lauren Garland, combined to win the 4x400m senior relay and place third in the 4x100m.
Other Dio standouts were Mary Bollen, who won the 2000m steeplechase in 7:25.08, and Danielle Botha, who was second in the senior 4kg hammer throw with 46.90m.
Other senior girls to win titles were Hillcrest High School's Amelia Hamilton, who was one of four girls to share the high jump honours after making the 1.67m height, while Hamilton Girls' High School's Mikaela Jefferson took out the 100m hurdles in 14.84 seconds.
Tokoroa High School's Dionne Treadaway came third in the junior girls' 100m and was second in the 200m, while St Peter's School's Arianna Lord took out the junior 1500m, running 4:44.34 to win by just 0.05 seconds.
There were also some fantastic results on the track for the boys.
Cambridge High 16-year-old Blake Gordon produced a fine double to win the senior 100m title and place third in the 200m final.
Blake ran the shorter distance 10.85 seconds over qnd in the 200m herecorded 22.03 seconds.
St Paul's Collegiate School enjoyed a successful meet.
Tom Smith won the senior 400m in 48.71 seconds, while Jonty Rae was third in 49.66 seconds.
Another runner from St Paul's, Scott Hilliar, won the senior 800m title, in 1:52.05, while James Hunt, also of St Paul's, was third in the senior 110m hurdles and third in the open 300m hurdles.
Hunt and Smith combined with Sean Henley-Smith and Bennet Rogers to help St Paul's to second place in the 4x100m relay.
The same quartet also placed second in the 4x400m.
Hamilton Boys' High School's Jacob Priddey recorded third placings in the senior 1500m and 3000m events.
In the junior boys' 800m and 1500m, there were third placings for Zak Ramsey (Te Awamutu College) and Blair Pennell (HBHS) respectively, while St Paul's was third in the 4x100m junior relay.
HBHS's Jacob Phillips won the boys' AWD CP discus and javelin titles, while Melville High School's Cameron Blackett won the AWD ID 100m title and was second in the 200m in which Fairfield College's Hayden Wilson took the honours.
Wilson was second in the 400m, which was won by David Smith of Te Awamutu College.
At the end of the championships, Priddey, Smith, Davey, Horgan, Lord and Treadaway were named in the 15-strong New Zealand boys and girls squads for next year's Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
The the event, which is in Sydney from January 16-20, is for athletes aged under 18 at December 31, 2013.