Wellington Scottish will be going for five years in a row in the senior men’s New Zealand road relay championship to be held in Feilding on Saturday.
Three members of last year’s team Niam Macdonald- Joslin, Kristian Day and Daniel Jones who anchored them home in Akaroa have returned. They will be joined by Seamus Kane eighth in the New Zealand road championships, Ben Twyman, Chris Sanson and Hamish Carson.
The 67.5km event takes the runners from Feilding to Halcombe and Tokorangi and back to Feilding and Manfield Park via Mangaone and Makino Roads.
Challenging Scottish for the prestigious title will be University of Canterbury winners for five years from 2007 and second last year, Christchurch Avon, North Harbour Bays and Auckland City Athletics.
Twice national road champion Daniel Balchin, mountain running champion Andy Good, Connor Melton seventh in the recent national road championships, Daniel Redmond, Matthew Hobbs, Simon Kerr and William Little will carry University hopes. Matt Dryden, Chris Dryden, Ieuan Van der Peet, Cameron Clark, Angus Bailey, Cameron Swales and Daniel Roswell complete the Avon line up. National cross country champion Cameron Graves will compete for Bays and Josh Maisey and Jono Jackson are down for Auckland City.
Scottish won at Feilding in 2002 and Bays won when the championship was held at Feilding in 2003 and 2006.
University of Canterbury will be defending the senior women’s title with their team of Sabrina Grogan who is three times national mountain champion and current half marathon champion, Angela Doig, Olivia Ritchie, Emily Molloy, Jessica Schofield, Alex Williams and Mary Gray. North Harbour Bays winners at Feilding in 2003 and 2006 feature national road champion Katrina Andrew, along with Sabrina Piras, Alana Van Hout, Bella Bloomfield second in the national half marathon, Anneke Grogan and Shauna Pali. Wellington Harriers twice previous title holder have a solid combination of Sarah Drought 2012 national road champion, Melissa Black 2019 road silver medallist, Esther George, Ellen Shaef, Miranda Spencer, Andrea Peat and Alice Wilson.
Scottish should dominate the master men with their 40-49 team of Stephen Day, Andrew Wharton, Paul Barwick, Valentino Luna-Hernandez, Ben Winder, Andrew Kerr and Rowan Hooper and their 50-59 team of Grant McLean, Jim Jones, James Turner, Peter Stevens, Gerard Gordon and William Twiss. Athletics Nelson will be aiming to claim their seventh over 60 title with runners Ian Carter, Bill Revell, Andrew Barker, Tim Cross and regular campaigner for the team Derek Shaw.
Scottish with Sierra Ryland, Emma Basset, Melanie Hart, Lindsay Barwick, Mel Aitken, Fiona Aitken, Fiona Hayvice and Mel Stevens should be untroubled in the master women 35-49 while Scottish will be attempting to win the inaugural master women’s 50 relay. High flying Wellington runner and former world mountain running champion Melissa Moon has recently tuned 50 and will spearhead the Scottish team of Maria Williams a blind runner, Tricia Sloan, Anna Guy, Betty Harp and Michelle Allison. This new title could be Scottish’s saviour in retaining the Top Club honours.
Pakuranga look to have the team to beat in the junior men with a combination of David De Vaal, Christian De Vaal, Ronan Codyre, Zane Powell, Angus Monro and Joe Shiozawa, with Wanganui Harriers also lining up a strong team of Ben Conder, George Lambert, Daniel Sinclair, Zach Bellamy, William Sinclair and Nathanael Kirk.
Wellington Harriers should retain the junior women’s title with Esther Kozniak, Maali Kyle Ford, Maia Wilkinson, Saskia Cosgrove Drayton, Anna Bassett and Eliza Squire. Auckland City who last won the junior women in 2016 have entered Sophie Atkinson, Elliette O’Brien, Bella Browne, Chloe Browne, Peyton Leigh and Leila Daniels.
Athletics New Zealand Correspondent