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Report: New Zealand Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships

29 members of the School’s Athletics team competed at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships in Christchurch in the first week of December. Over three days, the team endured all possible weather combinations, from dry and windy through to stormy and bitterly cold. However, the squad persevered and performed superbly, earning two Gold, five Silver and six Bronze medals from the meet.

The Track and Field events were successfully opened by the Junior and Senior Middle Distance runners, with five out of six Grammar competitors qualifying for the Semi-finals in the 800m. In the 3000m Form 3 student E. B. Mora ran to an impressive eighth place amidst a strong field. Deputy Head Prefect J. A. Mora demonstrated his experience by winning the Senior 3000m race in 8:33min to claim Gold. In the same race, Form 5 student C. P. Wagener ran a strong race ahead of the pack up until the final 200m, where he crossed the line in fourth place, an inspiring feat for a first-year senior.

Grammar athletes won bronze medals in the field events. Form 6 student J. A. Thomson secured his medal in the Senior Javelin with a throw of 51.63m despite a strong headwind, while Form 5 student M. K. Jacobs threw 12.71m to earn third place in the Junior Shot Put.

At the end of the first day, the 4x100m relay preliminary races were run with both the Junior and Senior teams qualifying for the finals, placing fourth overall.

On day two, more Grammar athletes were in action with Form 3 student T. O. Henderson qualifying for the 100m hurdles final by finishing in sixth place and the Thomson brothers both qualified for the 100m in their respective age categories (L. C. R. Thomson in the junior and J. A. Thomson in the senior). Form 5 student C. G. Howlett ran a strong race in the Senior 300m hurdles event to qualify for his respective final, while Form 4 student M. E. Wilkins qualified for the Junior 1500m.

Two medals were won in the field events with Form 3 student L. J. N. Caffery claiming Bronze in the Junior Discus with a throw of 45.82m and a Silver medal went to Form 4 student O. O. D. B. O. Neely in the Junior Javelin with a throw of 43.94m. 

Day three saw the weather change, providing challenging conditions for the athletes with light showers and a cold wind. On the field, T. O. Henderson finished seventh in the country in the Junior Hurdles. On the track, Form 3 student M. C. Bailey won Bronze in the Junior Racewalk, while Form 3 student H. C. Day and Form 4 student T. C. L. MacDonald raced head-to-head in the Junior Steeplechase, eventually finishing in second and third respectively.

In the 100m sprints, J. A. Thomson ran to seventh place in the Senior grade and L. C. R. Thomson to fourth in the Junior grade in 11.01s and 11.42s, respectively. In the Senior 300m, C. G. Howlett secured second in a time of 39.39s, while 2023 Captain of Athletics J. A. Mora concluded his final race for the School in strong fashion by placing second in the Senior 1500m.

The relays were the final races of the meet, with the athletes displaying the training they have invested by gaining three medals in four races. The Junior 4x100m team, consisting of Form 3 student J. J. Licence and Form 4 students J. T. Braun, M. M. Browne and L. C. R. Thomson, claimed second place in a time of 45.99s, with only 0.01 second ahead of third. Thomson later combined with fellow classmates H. C. Day, J. A. Smith and M. E. Wilkins to win Gold in the Junior 4x400m in a time of 3:33.49min, less than two seconds off the National record.

The Senior 4x100m team – Form 5 students C. G. Howlett and S. C. Paris, Form 6 student J. A. Thomson and Form 7 student J. P. Dew – secured Bronze in a time of 44.30s, while the 4x400m team consisting of R. W. Fitzpatrick, C. G. Howlett, J. A Mora and C. P. Wagener ran to fourth place.

After his strong performance in the 3000m and 1500m, J. A. Mora was officially selected in the New Zealand team.

Congratulations to the entire squad, to Master in Charge N. Leiseder and to coaches S. Bidet, S. Blackwell and C. Oates for their guidance and support of the team.