North Island Secondary School Champs
By Christo Peters - Thu 2 May 2024 7:13pm

Over Anzac weekend, North West Club hosted the North Island Secondary Schools Champs for 2024. 400 students from year 7 to year 13 lined up for the Sprint on Thursday afternoon at AUT Akoranga. Course Setter, Renee Beveridge, known for setting tricky, technical courses, made great use of the complex labyrinth of small classrooms that are part of the campus. Adding in a mandatory taped route from a spectator control demanded competitors kept their focus while being cheered on by parents and teammates.

Mairetahi Forest, on the South Head Peninsula was a great map for the NISS long event on the Friday. Mairetahi offers a wide variety of terrain from open mature forest on sand dunes to steep and rugged slow run areas while the scenic valley floor has lakes and open areas. A network of tracks and fences were ideal for the yellow and white courses. The senior and intermediate championship courses all had some significant route choices and plenty of hills. Controller Geoff Mead commented, “It was exciting seeing competitors run through the event centre on a spectator leg; some of them also coming via the event centre on a long route choice option. And lots of muddy and exhausted competitors at the finish!”

The Relay event on Saturday took the schools contingent to Riverhead Forest. Riverhead is known for its understorey vegetation and the map for the Relay while predominantly plantation pine forest had varying degrees of undergrowth or bushes plus pockets of native bush. Course Setter Andrew Bell had promised the relay would be fast and furious and it was, requiring constant map contact and concentration for individuals to be certain just where they were in the extensive track network. Again, a spectator control through the Event Centre offered parents and teammates an opportunity to cheer loudly!
By Jenny Cade

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