Lucas Duross set the standard for the 2015 Hawkes Bay Harrier season on Saturday when he scored an impressive win in the Mission Interclub Cross Country. Duross is building towards a tilt at the Wellington Marathon in July and his preparation looks on track with a performance that suggests he is on the right track. From the gun, Duross set a solid pace with Napier Harriers clubmates Kristian Day, Bradley Christison and Kaleb Wright in close attendance. At the end of the 1st lap of 3, Duross found some gaps opening up behind him as the pace took its' toll. Day did his best to stay in touch but Duross was relentless over the full 6km eventually crossing the finishing tape in 21 min 03 sec.
Day stuck to his task well to be only 29 sec behind him at the finish with Christison a another 15 sec adrift. Christison's effort was commendable for a youngster as he took the M19 division with Wright dropping back in the latter stages to finish 2nd in the same grade. Hastings Harriers' Phil McKay produced a solid 23 min 10 sec for the 6km to take the Masters Mens section ahead of Napier duo James Bell and Robert Strong.
In the combined Masters & Senior Womens race, Napier Harriers' Wendy Andrews made a welcome return to the local scene with an impressive closing lap to secure the 4km event in 17 min 42 sec. Andrews (nee Paramore) was trailing Kate O'Malley at the end of the first lap but warmed to her work over the latter stages to ease away from her main rival. O'Malley hung on well to take 2nd in 18 min 15 sec ahead of Masterton visitor Andrea Lambert who held off another local Sarah Portas to claim 3rd.
The closest finish of the day was in the combined B14/M16 grade where Alex Langley, Oliver Marshall, Thomas Christison and Regan Singer fought hard over the 4km to keep the spectators enthralled in a continual game of cut and thrust. With 300m left to run the younger Marshall tried to put the acid on the group but Langley was having none of it as he timed his surge to perfection to edge clear at the finish to claim the win in 15 min 51 sec. Marshall hung on grimly to be only 2 sec shy at the finish with Christison on his tail.
The biggest field of the day was in the U12's where a 29-strong mass of adrenalin on two legs faced the starter. With numbers pushing up to 110 in total for all grades, it was an encouraging start to the season. Napiers' Toby Findlay carried on his form from last year to eventually take the U12 win in 8 min 21 sec ahead of Hastings' Cameron Potts and Napiers' Ethan Green. Aniela Apperley made it a double for Napier in taking the girls section ahead of Pippa Wyllie.
In other grades Alia Wentz looked impressive in her first outing in G14 to take the win in 17 min 52 sec ahead of the much-improved Sophie Hogan. Holly Manning was all class in taking the W19 while Hastings picked up a couple of wins with Martha Wilson first in W16 and James Dillon heading home the Cubs.
Senior Men (6km): - 1. Lucas Duross (Napier) 21.03. 2. Kristian Day (Napier) 21.32. 3. Steve Charles (Napier) 23.34.
Masters Men (6km): - 1. Phil McKay (Hastings) 23.10. 2. James Bell (Napier) 24.05. 3. Robert Strong (Napier) 24.42.
Senior Women (4km): - 1. Kate O'Malley (Napier) 18.15. 2. Sarah Portas (Napier) 19.05. 3. Rochelle Sceats (unattached) 20.09.
Masters Womens (4km): - 1. Wendy Andrews (Napier) 17.42. 2. Andrea Lambert (Masterton) 18.54. 3. Annie Kane (Napier) 19.44.
M19 (6km): - 1. Bradley Christison (Napier) 21.47. 2. Kaleb Wright (Napier) 22.49. 3. Jasper Blokker (unattached) 27.28.
W19 (4km): - 1. Holly Manning (Napier) 16.50. 2. Laura Langley (Napier) 18.37. 3. Shannon Geary (Napier) 19.26.
M16 (4km): - 1. Alex Langley (Napier) 15.51. 2. Thomas Christison (Napier) 15.53. 3. James Mikkelson (Napier) 19.01.
W16 (4km): - 1. Martha Wilson (Hastings) 22.26. 2. Ella McKay (Hastings) 23.42.
B14 (4km): - 1. Oliver Marshall (Napier) 15.53. 2. Regan Singer (Hastings) 16.19. 3. Jarred Coutts (Napier) 17.09.
G14 (4km): - 1. Alia Wentz (Napier) 17.52. 2. Sophie Hogan (Napier) 18.29. 3. Nina Boesch (Napier) 19.02.
B12 (2km): - 1. Toby Findlay (Napier) 8.21. 2. Cameron Potts (Hastings) 8.29. 3. Ethan Green (Napier) 8.39.
G12 (2km): - 1. Aniela Apperley (Napier) 9.04. 2. Pippa Wyllie (unattached) 9.19. 3. Stella Marshall (Napier) 9.40.
Cubs (750m): - 1. James Dillon (Hastings) 3.03. 2. Thomas Potts (Hastings) 3.04. 3. George Hunt (Hastings) 3.06.