The St Peter’s six-person senior girls cross country team has been selected to represent New Zealand Secondary Schools at the ISF World Cross Country Championships at Štrbské Pleso, Slovakia from 18-23 April 2020.
The selection was based on individual and team performances at the NZSS Cross Country at Timaru last term. This is a phenomenal achievement and the first time that a St Peter’s Cross Country Team has gained selection over several high performing running schools around the country. The team consists of Charli Miller (Captain), Alee Holman-Evans, Courtney Elliott, Jemima Antoniazzi, Grace Wisnewski, Mia Fletcher and Elizabeth McLean (reserve).
The team will travel under the New Zealand Secondary School Athletics Association (NZSSAA) alongside the New Zealand Boys team from Westlake Boys, and six individual female and male runners from throughout the Country.
St Peter’s year 12 student Will Taylor was also named as one of the top individual runners at Secondary School to also compete at this event. His recent podium finish at the National Club Cross Country secured his selection and this will be a great opportunity for him to race at an international level.
The girls' team and Will Taylor are coached by St Peter’s Head Coach Ange Russek who will be travelling with the team to Slovakia.
“Over the last five years, we have established an excellent culture with our athletics team, increasing our participation and achievement regionally, at North Island and National level," she said. "Selection for this world event is a highlight for our senior runners and an accumulation of a couple of years of commitment and preparation for it."
The athletes will be building up their aerobic fitness over their 4-6km race distance over the next few months as well as focusing on the summer track season looming.
“Getting the right balance of distance cross country running and preparing for track events is slightly different so getting some early squad tempo runs in now is forming good habits leading into April 2020.”
The team will travel to London for a training camp early April before heading to Vienna, Austria and then into Slovakia.
Two St Peter’s sports teams have now been selected for the International Schools Federation World Championships within a year; Basketball finishing fifth at Greece in April and now Cross Country.
“We will be a very competitive team at this event, we have exceptional individual talent in this team and our juniors are ready to step up into the senior ranks and do their part for the team," said Ange. "Everyone is very excited and motivated by their training. Representing your country at a World Championship is the ultimate for any athlete and I am extremely proud of what our athletes have achieved gaining selection.”