North Otago’s elite athletes ensured the gold singlet was prominent at the Otago championships in Dunedin at the weekend.
The 23-strong team ran, jumped and hurled its way to a combined 19 titles.
Leading the way was talented junior all-rounder Jacob Robinson, who won no fewer than seven individual titles and was also a member of the champion boys 11 years 4x100m relay team.
Robinson won the 100m, 200m, 400m, hurdles, long jump, shot put and discus in the boys 11 years grade, and was later named captain of the Otago 7-11 years team to compete in the Tyson Cup clash with Southland later this month.
Senior sprint star Schuyler Orr could not repeat his double from last year – but only by a whisker.
Thee North Otago flyer managed to retain his Otago senior 100m title but was nudged into second in the 200m.
Orr had a great battle with Hill City-University runner Nathan MacDonell. Orr claimed the 100m in 11.52sec, before MacDonell ran 23.24sec in the 200m, edging Orr by 0.01sec.
Rising North Otago star Briar Johnston (girls 14 years) won two individual titles – the 100m and 200m – and anchored the girls 14 years 4x100m relay team in a gold medal performance. She ran a slick 13.03sec in her 100m final.
Stanley McClure (boys 13 years) won two titles, the 100m and 200m, and anchored the boys 13 years 4x100m relay team to a silver medal.
Other individual title winners were Angus Loe (boys 11 years) in the 1500m, Sarah Jamison (girls 12) in the 200m, Michael Woodhouse (boys 9 years) in the shot put, and Molly McClure (girls 10 years) in the 1200m race walk.
The boys 13 years and boys 11 years 4x100m relay teams also won gold medals, while two other relay teams won silver.
“There were some outstanding results where podium finishes were achieved but there are too many to mention,” North Otago Harrier and Athletics Club president Jeff Spillane said.
“The team put in fantastic efforts and represented North Otago with great credit on and off the field.”
Jamison was just one example of a North Otago youngster who had made “huge improvement” this season, he said.
She grabbed close second placings in the 100m, 400m and 80m hurdles, and ran a super anchor leg in the girls 12 years relay.
Fourteen of 18 eligible North Otago athletes were selected for Otago junior teams for end-of-season provincial competitions.
Spillane said the team was pleased to catch up with former coach Rod Jones, now living in Lawrence, at the championships.
North Otago athletes who did well at the pre-Christmas multi-event competition were also recognised in Dunedin.
Robinson (boys 11 years), Woodhouse (boys 9 years) and Toby Hunt (boys 10 years) won their respective categories, Stanley McClure (boys 13 years) was second, and Molly McClure (girls 10 years) and Sebastian Spillane (boys 11 years) were third.