Saturday, April 13, 2024

Pakuranga athletics triumphs in Taupo 

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The Pakuranga Athletic Club Under 16 mixed relay team of Ben Oxford, Imogen Barlow, Christian Geldenhuys and Morgan Day finished first place in their race.

The Pakuranga Athletic Club (PAC) had phenomenal success at the recent New Zealand Cross Country and Relay Championships in Taupo, with 22 runners competing.

Athletes competed in the NZ Cross Country Championships at Taupo’s Spa Thermal Park on Saturday, July 29, with two teams in the NZ Cross Country Mixed Relays the next day.

Two Pakuranga athletes picked up national titles over the weekend. Ben Oxford (Boys U16) and Christian De Vaal (Men’s U20) both finished first in their respective races.

Ben Oxford took first place and a National title in the Boys U16 race.

This completes a fantastic XCR (cross country) season for Pakuranga athlete and Macleans college student Oxford as he also secured the National Secondary Schools XCR Junior title in June.

As for De Vaal, this was his last New Zealand event before moving to study in America.

Rodney Oxford, chairman of the Pakuranga Athletic Club Cross Country and Road Committee, says De Vaal has been a loyal member of PAC for many years.

“Adding this New Zealand U20 title in emphatic form is a fantastic way for him to end the XCR season and now head overseas on his new educational and athletic adventure. He will be sorely missed at PAC and in the NZ Athletics scene,” Oxford says.

Both Ben Oxford and De Vaal train together under local coach Nick Codyre and their results reflect the huge effort these athletes put into their training schedules.

Christian De Vaal also took gold and a National title in his last NZ event before moving to study in America.

“Both have an incredible determination to win National titles and these guys have amazing futures ahead,” says Oxford.

The under 16 mixed relay team of Ben Oxford (Boys U16), Imogen Barlow (Girls U16), Chrisitan Geldenhuys (Boys U16) and Morgan Day (Girls U14) closed the weekend out well with a first-place finish also.

Barlow also ran an impressive individual race in the U16 girls’ category on Saturday but was narrowly beaten for the gold medal.

Oxford says Barlow is a “fantastic competitor with many national titles” and is also one to watch in the future of NZ Athletics.

It was a successful weekend for the club with a total of 16 runners finishing in the top 20 positions of their races.

Pakuranga Athletic Club NZ Cross Country Champs (Individual Results): 

U14 Boys: Tobias Crowhurst (8th).

U14 Girls: Leah Marais (2nd), Morgan Day (4th).

U16 Boys: Ben Oxford (1st), Christian Geldenhuys (18th).

U16 Girls: Imogen Barlow (2nd).

U18 Women: Kendal Penney (30th).

U18 Men: Caleb Wagener (3rd), Connor Boulton (18th), Connor Jamieson (22nd), Noah Crowhurst (32nd), Alex Wilkins (37th).

U20 Men: Christian De Vaal (1st), Dion Wallwork (21st).

Senior Men: Fionn Cullinane (10th), Ryan Danby (25th).

Master Men (35 – 39): Ben Jackson (5th).

Master Men (40 – 44): Paul Crowhurst (4th), Carl Read (11th).

Master Men (45 – 49): Rob Dallimore (18th).

Master Men (50 – 54): Richard Wagener (16th).

Master Women (50 – 54): Rachel Penney (2nd).

Pakuranga Athletic Club NZ Cross Country Champs (Relay Results): 

U16 Mixed: Ben Oxford, Imogen Barlow, Christian Geldenhuys and Morgan Day (1st).

Senior Mixed: Fionn Cullinane, Rachel Penney, Paul Crowhurst and Kendall Penney (7th).

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