Whanganui Chronicle

High school athletes end summer with flourish

- Finn Williams

Whanganui High School’s cricket and athletics teams have ended their seasons with awards, as athletes came away from events with medals and trophies.

The school’s 1st XV cricket team won a Twenty20 tournament and came away with a bat once owned by former Black Cap Ross Taylor.

The bat is the trophy for a tournament for schools in the central district, with six teams taking part representi­ng the Whanganui, Manawatū , Taranaki, Wairarapa, Horowhenua-Kā piti and Hawke’s Bay regions.

The tournament has been held since 2018, with the winning school taking home a bat donated by Taylor that he scored a century with against England in 2013.

WHS cricket captain Charlie Meredith said the win came after five years of trying in the tournament, with the team coming second last year.

“We’ve tried for about five years and [have been] unlucky every year,” he said.

Team member Levi Hoekstra said the biggest challenge the team had was dealing with the heat in

Palmerston North, but overall, the tournament went smoothly.

Their bowling line-up was particular­ly strong and set them up well for batting success.

“We bowled first every game and kept them down to good scores, which made it easier to chase for us,” he said.

Winning the bat was a good cap on the team’s season, which

Hoekstra said they went into as underdogs, but were still able to pull off a lot of wins.

The cricket win came as WHS athletics competitor­s claimed medals in track and field at the Whanganui Secondary School Athletics Championsh­ips.

Thomas Gowan was one who won multiple categories, taking the senior boys’ 400m and long jump as well as being part of the winning 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams.

He said the 400m was an especially taxing event, as the race was essentiall­y a sprint but competitor­s still had to manage their pace.

“It leaves you just dead afterwards,” he said.

Gowan doesn’t normally take part in the long jump, so was happy with the win.

“I’ve only done it once or twice before so I didn’t really have much practice, so I was quite happy with that result,” he said.

The 4x400m relay was a

particular highlight for him.

“I enjoyed that. I just loved being in a team, and it was mostly my mates as well, so it was quite good, especially to win.”

Damian Hodgson claimed the senior boys’ 100m and 200m sprint double, as well as placing second in the triple jump and being part of the 4x100m and 4x400m teams.

Te Atakura Potaka-Osborne Milner-Skudder had a triple measure of success, taking out the intermedia­te girls’ 100m, long jump and triple jump.

In junior girls’ jumping, Lulu Duffy won the triple jump and long jump, and finished second in the high jump.

Many other WHS athletes claimed medals at the event.

The next event is the North Island Secondary Schools Athletics Championsh­ips in Palmerston North, where Gowan will be part of a Whanganui team made up of the best athletes from all Whanganui high schools.

To prepare, the athletes trained four times a week, twice in the gym, once for conditioni­ng and once at the track, Gowan said.

“We do speed work or endurance, or lactic acid work, which helps with the 400m,” he said.

The North Island champs are on April 1-2.

 ?? Photos / Bevan Conley ?? Whanganui High School 1st XV player Levi Hoekstra (left) and captain Charlie Meredith with the Ross Taylor Bat.
Photos / Bevan Conley Whanganui High School 1st XV player Levi Hoekstra (left) and captain Charlie Meredith with the Ross Taylor Bat.
 ?? ?? Whanganui High School athlete Thomas Gowan.
Whanganui High School athlete Thomas Gowan.

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