Hen­ley Rd boys off to Aussie

Central Leader - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

Conal Wil­son and Andy Ste­wart will not only be rep­re­sent­ing their coun­try at the Aus­tralian Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships but also their street.

The Auck­land Gram­mar stu­dents both live on Hen­ley Rd in Mt Eden and are rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the New Zealand Sec­ondary Schools Cross Coun­try team.

Wil­son and Ste­wart, both 17, had some im­pres­sive re­sults at the NZ Sec­ondary School Champs with Wil­son com­ing in eighth and Ste­wart in 12th.

The top 12 times are selected for the na­tional side which will race in Au­gust in Al­bany, Western Aus­tralia.

The boys train to­gether ev­ery day.

‘‘How well you do on race day is all down to the train­ing you have done yourself. Af­ter a race, if you did well, you know it’s be­cause you trained hard,’’ Ste­wart says.

‘‘I like the com­pe­ti­tion, and the buildup to the race,’’ Wil­son says.

‘‘It’s also about the thrill of win­ning a race and get­ting that feel­ing af­ter you’ve won.’’

Ste­wart and Wil­son both started run­ning in year 9 at Auck­land Gram­mar and have been se­ri­ously run­ning for the past three years.

‘‘I had a fam­ily friend a few years above me com­pete and I saw how well he did and I thought, I want to do that,’’ Ste­wart says.

Wil­son’s broth­ers were suc­cess­ful cross-coun­try run­ners so it was nat­u­ral for him to take up the sport.

Wil­son will be look­ing to fol­low in his brother De­clan’s foot­steps who won the Aus­tralian event two years ago.

The Wes­ley Har­rier and Ath­letic Club mem­bers ex­pect the cli­mate in Al­bany to be sim­i­lar but the course is set to be a lot flat­ter than the hilly New Zealand cour­ses.

Wil­son will race in the un­der-18 6km cat­e­gory while Ste­wart will race in the un­der-20 8km sec­tion.

Both run­ners are ex­cited at the prospect of com­pet­ing in an in­ter­na­tional race and are keen to con­tinue com­pet­ing in cross-coun­try.

Wil­son is in year 12 and will have the op­por­tu­nity to keep run­ning for his school.

‘‘There is al­ways next year’s cross coun­try and next year’s Aus­tralian trip to look for­ward to.’’

Ste­wart is in his fi­nal year and hopes to keep up his run­ning while study­ing en­gi­neer­ing at univer­sity.

‘‘When I leave school I’ll keep train­ing and do all the club events and just see where it leads me.’’

Photo: BEN ROGERS

Friendly neigh­bours: Conal Wil­son and Andy Ste­wart both live on Hen­ley Rd and have both been selected for the New Zealand Sec­ondary School Cross Coun­try team.

Push­ing on: Conal Wil­son, above, and Andy Ste­wart, left, in ac­tion for Auck­land Gram­mar at the NZ Sec­ondary School Champs.

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