It has been a big weekend for Marlborough college sportspeople who took advantage of relaxed COVID rules to demonstrate their skills across the country.
Two MBC students bagged national titles, Chris Hebberd at the NZ junior squash champs in Christchurch, and Finn McKenzie at the national secondary schools mountain biking champs in Wellington, where his sister Neve, a Bohally student, also claimed a gold medal.
Hebberd’s national title provided the highlight for the Marlborough contingent at the New Zealand junior squash champs in Christchurch last weekend.
He was top seed in the boys’ under-15 grade and made no mistake on his way to a NZ crown. He downed Kaikoura’s Charlie Prince 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 in a tightly-contested final.
Also on the podium at the nationals was Marlborough competitor Paul Moran, who came runner-up in the final of the boys’ under-17 grade. Moran, the top seed, lost 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 to second-ranked Mason Smales.
Under-19 boys: Henry Moran 12th. Under-19 girls: Leonie Marshall 7th. Under-17 boys: Paulie Moran 2nd; Tom Marshall 5th. Under-15 boys: Chris Hebberd 1st; Jack Frisken 6th. Under-13 girls: Victoria Moran 5th; Carly Craig 6th.
Good as gold
A gold medal to MBC’s Finn McKenzie in the under-15 cross country capped off a strong showing from the Marlborough contingent at the NZ schools MTB champs held at Maidstone Park and Wainuiomata.
In an event missing one of McKenzie’s main rivals, former NZ champ Cam Anderson, who was injured in a training accident 10 days ago, the MBC youngster underlined his rising status on the national scene. McKenzie also showed promise in the enduro, finishing 10th at his first attempt.
MBC riders picked up several other podium placings, including thirds to Ben Siryani in both the under-15 downhill and enduro.
Jonty Burfoot came second in the under-16 downhill with what coach Paul Molyneux described as an “amazing ride”. He also finished ninth in the enduro.
Cam Clemett showed his allround skills with a fifth in the under-17 downhill, fourth in the enduro and a 10th placing in the cross country.
Tom Morrison came fourth in the under-17 downhill and seventh in enduro, while Jacob Herd managed 10th in the under-16 enduro.
Last year MBC won the overall award but this time they had to settle for third, behind Cashmere High School and John Paul College from Rotorua. MBC also finished third overall in the enduro team section.
Other Marlborough riders involved were Neve McKenzie, from Bohally, and Maddy Sinclair, from MGC.
They both excelled, McKenzie winning the under-13 enduro and placing second in the cross country, while Sinclair came third in the under-15 downhill and fifth in the enduro.
Next year the nationals will be staged in Marlborough.
Marlborough’s rowers finally had a chance to stretch their muscles when the R2K regatta was staged at Lake Ruataniwha on Saturday.
From the Wairau club, Tristan Gregory-Hunt finished third in the A final of the open men’s singles, while Meg Flangan came home second in the A final of the women’s under-19 singles.
Blenheim club rower Ashley-James Fitzgerald won the A final for the under-17 boys single while Fred Vavasour came sixth in the under-19 single.
The Mainland interprovincial champs were also due to be raced on both Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately Sunday’s programme was blown out by high winds, however a few races were completed on Saturday. The Marlborough under-20 coxless four of Flanagan, Liv Theodore, Lily Crawford and Paige Materoa finished third in their A final.