BEST performances came from opposite ends of the age spectrum at the Southland cross-country championships held in Waimumu, near Gore, last weekend.
The youth end was dominated by Kennedy Taylor (St Pauls), Kimberley Iversen (Invercargill) and James McLeay (St Pauls), while in the masters’ grades Kelvin Meade and Debbie Telfer (both Invercargill) stood out.
Taylor, 15, dominated the under-18 girls’ two-lap 6km course, which included energy-sapping mud, bog and hills, and finished more than 2 minutes ahead of the next girl and a just a few seconds behind the first boy.
Second was Queenstown’s Samantha Fookes.
Fookes is usually more at home on track middle distances but has a proven cross-country record, including a bronze medal, one place behind Kennedy in last year’s Year 9 National Secondary School Championship race.
Just ahead, under-18 boys’ winner was Corvin O’Rourke, an 800m finalist at the last secondary schools track and field champs.
Kimberley Iversen, 13, was impressive in the under-15 girls, winning her 3km by 16 seconds from Sienna Mackley, of Queenstown. James McLeay won the boys’ under-15 race after a hard-fought battle with Jude Deaker.
McLeay, along with Taylor, Fookes, Iversen and youngsters such as Jude Deaker are promising to be the basis of Southland distance running in a few years’ time.
Meade, a relative newcomer to distance running, showed a clean pair of heels to more experienced rivals including Dwight Grieve, who has won the masters’ trophy the previous five years. The 41-year-old even had two New Zealand world mountain championship representatives, Grieve and Richard Ford, in his wake.
His 36min 49sec over 9km was only 52sec behind senior Dylan Forde, who won the race but, being a member of a Christchurch club, was ineligible for a Southland title.
Telfer showed age was no barrier by claiming the overall masters women’s trophy. The 62-year-old finished ahead of runners aged in their 30s and 40s to win the trophy for the fifth time as well taking the masters 60+ gold medal.
The four-person teams race was won by the Fiordland Club.
Southland Championship medallists:
Girls: U10 (2k) Lilly Gemmill 11.46, Stella Collard 12.29, Libby Richardson 15.57.
U12 (2k) Holly Kempthorne 9.28, Zoe Muir 10.15, Tara Simpson 10.21.
U15 (3k) Kimberley Iversen 13.54, Sienna Mackley 14.10, Nicole Green 18.05.
U18 (6k) Kennedy Taylor 26.49, Samantha Fookes 28.55, Sadie Wech 29.12.
Women Senior (9k) Jessica Campbell 48.17, Debie Dickie-Lee 51.24. Zoe Kirkman 59.13.
Masters 35-49 (6k) Kylie Davidson 35.11, Lisa Simpson 39.51.
Masters 50-59 (6k) Fiona Turnbull 46.09.
Masters 60+ (6k) Debbie Telfer 33.29, Gail Kirkman 36.58, Linda Te Au 44.58.
Boys U10 (2k) Craig Iversen 10.58.
U12 (2k) Jack Davidson 9.53. Thomas Miller 11.55.
U15 (3k) James McLeay 11.56, Jude Deaker 11.59, Thomas Collard 13.24.
U18 (6k) Corvin O’Rourke 26.33, Ethan Friend 28.62, Peter Miller 34.10. M20 9k Aleks Chefietz 36.48.
Men Senior (9k) Dwight Grieve 37.48, Richard Forde 38.56.
Masters 35-49 (9k) Kelvin Meade 36.49, Scott Underhay 38.38, Craig Iversen 38.41.
Masters 50-59 (9k) John Wallace 46.53, Mervyn Potter 46.56, Graham Neilson 51.27.