Consistently-strong performances across several grades saw Marlborough Boys’ College take the title of the country’s top mountain biking school at the national secondary schools championships last weekend.
At the conclusion of the three-day event, staged at Dunedin’s Signal Hill, the youthful MBC combination took out the overall teams title with 1152 points, ahead of second-placed Wakatipu High School (1064) and Shirley High School (1016).
Also competing in Dunedin were riders from Bohally Intermediate and Fairhall School. Twelve-year-old Ben Sziranyi from Bohally registered the top individual placing, being named under-14 male overall champion. He took out the enduro title, was second in downhill and third in cross country.
Liam Nicholls produced the top overall standing among the MBC team, picking up third overall in the under-15 grade.
As with his MBC team mates, it was consistency that saw him recognised, with points awarded according to placings and going towards the overall school total.
Among the leading performances from the 16-strong MBC contingent were a win in the under-14 cross country by Cam Anderson, a third in the under-14 enduro and fourth in the downhill to Owen Bradley, who was fourth overall, plus a fourth in the under-14 enduro and fifth in downhill by Tom Morrison, who ended up sixth overall.
Nate Washer claimed a sixth placing in the under-15 enduro and fifth in the downhill, placing fifth overall, while under-16 rider Cam Clemett placed fourth in the downhill and sixth in the enduro, for seventh overall.
Team manager Paul Molyneux said they were just a few among plenty of stand-out performances among the squad, with all the students going the extra mile to claim points for the team.
He cited the example of senior [under-17] rider Jack Sheridan, one of the most experienced MBC competitors. Sheridan was going well in his race when his rear derailleur snapped. Instead of letting mechanical failure end his race he picked up his bike, took it back to the finish line, repaired the problem and rejoined the race in order to add some valuable points to his team’s tally.
“That was a massive effort, especially in such a large and high-class field,” said Molyneux.
“This was the first time we have taken out the [teams] title under the current format. We had a young team and they all contributed. We have got really good numbers at the school at the moment.”
He was quick to praise the input of former professional rider Justin Leov, a Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year winner in 2003, who has been helping students at his former school prepare for the event.
Other Bohally students to pick up top placings were Finn McKenzie, who placed second in the under-14 cross country, and Lachlan McNabb, seventh overall with a second in cross country, 10th in endure and 12th in downhill.
Fletcher Kopua from Fairhall placed ninth in the under-13 cross country.