New Zealand’s latest sprinting sensation Edward Osei-Nketia should highlight the New Zealand Secondary Schools athletic championships in Wellington this weekend.
The 18 year old from Scots College Wellington, given favourable conditions at Newtown Park, should rewrite the senior boys sprint records. With times of 10.19 for 100m and 20.76 for 200m to his credit he should erase the records of 10.60 set by Ben Potter in 1997 and Kodi Harman’s 2011 200m record of 21.39. Mogammad Smith second in the 100m last year and Jacob Stockwell third have returned. Competition in the 200m will come from Tyron Hilton, Ethan Wallace and third last year Isaac Oliver.
The top performance in the field events should come from 18 year old Connor Bell in the 1.5kg discus throw. Last year Bell won with 65.36m and at the Schools championships in 2017 in Hastings he set the record of 65.63m which also gave him a New Zealand under 17 and under 18 record. While still 17 he improved the under 18 record to 69.67m.
Travis Bayler and Sam Potter who went first and second last year in the 400m are back again to battle out the lap of the track. Also likely to challenge for a medal are John Gerber, James Robertson, Taylor Smith and Jack Rodgers.
Joseph Sinclair will be aiming to go one better than last year in the 800m. However Liam Back has his sights set on the middle distance double having entered in the 800m and 1500m. In the 800m the top contenders are Ben Kelsey, Back, James Harding, Jude Darby, Zane Powell and Mitchell Snell. Benjamin Wall will be hard to peg back in the 1500m, but Back, Fletcher Pickworth, runner up and Ben Bidois third last year have the speed in any sprint to the finish.
Bidois is also down for the 3000m and along with Powell, Will Anthony, Andres Hernandez and David Moore should turn the race into a great battle. Hernandez, Darby, Moore and Anthony will also be in action in the 6km road race.
George Guerin second last year to Murdoch McIntyre in the 2000m steeplechase should win this time around. Hamish Lock is down for the 110m hurdles, while Cameron Moffitt and Zachery Saunders should go head to head in the 300m hurdles.
Josh Inger will be defending the high jump title against the inform Jayden Williamson who cleared 2.06m last month. Edward Hsing and Charlie Cameron will dominate the pole vault while Sam Colyer Charles Annals and Takunda Mabonga will each be attempting the long and triple jump double.
While Bell will dominate the discus throw, Nikolas Kini should take out the shot put and hammer throw titles. Also in the hammer is Liam Johnston. Ethan Walker is the leading thrower in the javelin. Daniel du Toit should win the 3000m race walk.
Kayla Goodwin should highlight the senior girls field events. At last season’s New Zealand championships in Christchurch Goodwin won both the senior and under 20 long and triple jump titles as well as the under 20 100m hurdles. In the process she set a national under 18 and under 19 triple jump record of 12.74m. Goodwin from Sacred Heart Girls’ College Hamilton will be defending the long and triple jump titles and she has also entered in the javelin throw.
Leading competitor in the long jump Genna Maples also heads the 100m with 12.19 and the 200m with 24.63. However the fastest action in the 100m will be in the junior girls with Sophie Williams at 11.86 and Nadia Evans 12.06. Maia Anderson-Broughton will be defending the senior 200m title as well as competing in the 400m. Annalies Kalma is down for the 200m and 400m which has attracted a strong entry including Tayla Brunger, Charlotte Holland and Camryn Smart. Peyton Leigh, Eva Pringle, Emma Douglass and Tillie Hollyer are in the 800m while Hollyer, Isabella Richardson, Rebecca Baker second last year, Joanna Poland, Jemima Antoniazzi and Charli Miller will compete in the 1500m. Aimee Ferguson third in the 1500m and second in the 3000m last year is back for the 1500m, 3000m and 2000m steeplechase.
Liliana Braun third last year, Antoniazzi, Baker and Chloe Browne are down for the steeplechase. Richardson on current form with a time of 9:53.87 will be hard to peg back in the 3000m, ahead of Natalya Carter, Charlie Miller, Antoniazzi and Ferguson.
National under 18 cross country champion Martina Conner will compete in the 1500m, 3000m and 4km road race.
Hinewai Knowles will be defending the 100m hurdles title. National under 18 champion Paige Bell, Samadiana Fariz, the junior champion last year, Julia Burnham, Ruby Brett and Brianna Cadwallader, third last year, will contest the 300m hurdles.
Josie Taylor who set a national under 17 high jump record of 1.83m last month along with Maddie Wilson will provide interest in the high jump where the senior girls record is 1.84m set by Carmell Corbett in 1990.
Junior champion last year Hannah Adye, Aria Rhodes and Amayah Wingfield will contest the medals in the pole vault.
Kaia Tupu-South should win the shot put and discus double. Tapenisa Havea has entered in both and Jaidyn Busch will be defending the shot put title. Centaine Noom-Duckworth is the favourite for the hammer title while the leading contenders in the javelin are Savannah Scheen, Jessica Senior and Tanya Murray. Courtney Hillyer third last year, Hannah Gilberd, Laura Kehely and Antonia Martin will go toe to toe in the 2000m race walk.
Ben Baines who set records in the three junior throwing events last year will compete in the Para Athlete senior shot put, discus and javelin throws. Daniel Meyer is in the shot put and discus. Sionann Murphy who set four junior Para records last year returns. Alyssa Baxter will compete in the Para junior 100m, 200m and long jump.
Athletics New Zealand Correspondent