Above: Max Attwell leading eventual winner Brent Newdick in the decathlon 1500m at the national championships in Whanganui.
Brent Newdick and Max Attwell are at opposite ends of their athletics careers. Newdick at 33 finished 12th at the 2012 Olympics and had won seven New Zealand decathlon titles before this weekend. Attwell at 22 won his first NZ title last year.
Attwell was leading after the first day following strong high jump and 400m events, but Newdick ‘s experience saw him beat the youngster in the first four events on day 2 leaving the Canterbury athlete needing to win by a huge margin in the 1500m.
While Attwell beat his foe by 13 seconds, it was nowhere near enough and the title went to Newdick with 6997 points, 266 ahead of Attwell. Last year’s junior winner Felix McDonald took the bronze medal.
The decathlon contest was won by regular visitor, Keisuke Ushiro from Japan with 7487 after a strong second day.
The women’s heptathlon came down to the final event, the 800m. Christina Ryan (Canterbury) went into the 800m with a big lead but Natalie Booth (Auckland) and defending champion Ariana Blackwood (Manawatu / Wanganui), determined to catch the Cantabrian, had very strong runs.
Although Ryan finished the 800m 33 seconds adrift thinking she had been caught, after the points were calculated, the Timaru athlete had done enough to hold on by just 11 points from Booth with Blackwood in third overall.
The under 20 women’s heptathlon went to Auckland’s Hayley Marx (Auckland) from Alessandra Macdonald (Waikato BoP) and Otago’s Joccoaa Palmer, while the under 20 men’s decathlon was won by Matthew Aucamp from Auckland ahead of Jared Neighbours.
Kayla Goodwin (Waikato BoP) was totally dominant in the under 18 women’s heptathlon, providing the performance of the championships, repeating her 2017 victory and setting a new national under 17 record of 5007 points, supplanting the record of Portia Bing set in 2010.
Such was her dominance; the 16 year old won six of the seven events and was only headed in the 800m, the final event. Zoe Taylor and Sam MacInder finished second and third respectively.
Louis Northcott from Wellington finished first in the under 18 men’s decathlon, ahead of Southland’s Shaun Woodd.
Top masters athletes were Stephen Te Whaiti and Gail Kirkman, both finishing with excellent scores.
Senior Men Decathlon
1 Keisuke Ushiro Japan 7487
2 Brent Newdick Auckland 6997
3 Max Attwell Canterbury 6731
4 Felix McDonald Otago 6119
Senior Women Heptathlon
1 Christina Ryan Canterbury 4298
2 Natalie Booth Auckland 4287
3 Ariana Blackwood Man / Wan 4246
Under 20 Men Decathlon
1 Matthew Aucamp Auckland 5558
2 Jared Neighbours Canterbury 5336
Under 20 Women Heptathlon
1 Hayley Marx Auckland 4318
2 Alessandra Macdonald Waikato BoP 4220
3 Joccoaa Palmer Otago 3856
Under 18 Men Decathlon
1 Louis Northcott Wellington 5223
2 Shaun Woodd Southland 4649
Under 18 Women Heptathlon
1 Kayla Goodman Waikato BoP 5007 (national U17 record)
2 Zoe Taylor Auckland 4450
3 Sam MacInder Man / Wan 4067
Masters Men Decathlon
1 Stephen Te Whaiti Waikato BoP 5735
2 Les Scown Fiordland 3462
Masters Women Heptathlon
1 Gail Kirkman Fiordland 5579
16 & Under Men Octathlon
1 Jonathan Sceats Lower Hutt 3386
2 Liam McKee Cambridge 3305
3 Joshua Woodhead Hastings 2700
16 & Under Women Hexathlon
1 Maddie Wilson Gisborne 3250
2 Hinewai Knowles Cambridge 3094
3 Josie Taylor Hamilton 2902