Mission Cross Country
Well by my bad maths, there were 134 finishers at Saturday’s Mission XC – that’s a promising start to the season given that I reckon that close to 100 of those runners were from Napier HC….WHOOP WHOOP!!!!
Great weather. Great course. Great atmosphere. Great fields (35 in the U12 field alone). That all equals a great day. Thanks heaps to Reading Cinemas & Noel Leemings for the brilliant prizes. And an even bigger thank you to all the helpers from the day – it is very much appreciated.
The first event away was the combined U16/U14 race & the 4km short course option for the M19 & Senior grades. This was a super quick field with Mitchell Snell putting the hammer down from the get-go. Ollie Marshall, Ronan Lee & Mark Day did their best to hang tough for the first lap as Mitchell stretched out those long legs. With the rubber band at breaking point, Mitchell suddenly found himself free of the chasing bunch with only Ollie looking like bridging the gap. But Mitchell was in no mood for being charitable and smashed it to the finish line in 14 min 18 sec. Ollie was next home in 14 min 36 sec with a gallant Ronan Lee soldiering on for 3rd in 14 min 46 sec. Mark Day was the 4th to break 16 min with a tidy 15 min 21 sec. Brianna Lee had the U16 field at her mercy and used the boys to pace off as she powered home in an excellent 16 min 26 sec. It was Napier all the way again with Alia Wentz and Nina Boesch 2nd & 3rd. In the U14 grade, young Hastings runner Hugo Lynch broke up the Napier domination with a tidy win in 16 min 25 sec. Ethan Green has come on in leaps and bounds and was tidy in 2nd in 17 min flat to be 10 sec ahead of Johnathan Moore. In the U14 girls little Aniela Apperley keeps on keeping on with a comfortable 18 min 16 sec to finish well clear of Sophia Moore and Stella Marshall. In the 4km short-course option for the other grades Richard Potts chased his son Cameron to be first home well ahead of Lance Pearson and Alex McHardy from Hastings. Claudia Layton was back from her studies to easily take the womens version ahead of Annie Kane and Tracey Chetterton.
The U12 field went next at the same time as the Cubs. Hastings dominated the Cubs up front with Brooke Speers and McKenzie Speers 1st & 2nd ahead of Napier’s Millie Waite. Blake Richardson was the first of the Napier boys in 7th. The mass of humanity in the U12’s slowly sorted themselves out over the 2km and it was a Napier 1,2,3 at the business end with the impressive Tyler Waite just shading Oliver Berry and Robin Moore in an excellent 8 min 13 sec. The first 3 girls were within 13 seconds of each other with Napier’s Pyper Jennings splitting the Hastings pair of Sian & Cerys Llewellyn.
Last event away was the 6km event with Kristian Day & Ruby Muir back from Wellington for the weekend. Kristian had Bradley Christison to deal with over the first two laps of the course with Lucas Duross, Jacob Barber and Kane Elmes all not too far away. Kristian put the hammer downon the 3rd lap to draw out an advantage that he held to the finish to cross in a tidy 20 min 58 sec with Bradley 5 seconds behind. Lucas adjusted well from the track to finish in a well-earned 3rd ahead of Jacob and Kane. With the grades thrown in together, Kristian & Lucas were 1st & 2nd in Senior with Hastings’ William Kelsey in 3rd. Bradley took the M19 ahead of Jacob & Kane while the Masters saw Damien Christofis nudge ahead of Jason Petuha and Hastings Phil McKay. Ruby powered away in the womens event to never be troubled to win in 22 min 55 sec but I was super impressed with the strength of Karen Toulmin having her first real run in anger for Napier as she clocked 24 min 43 sec for the 6km. Karen Moore too looked comfortable for early season form back in 3rd. So it was Ruby, Dulia Daly & Kylie Allison first 3 in Senior Women & the two Karen’s & Louise Shambrook first 3 in the MW.