Westlake Boys High School Distance Runners have been selected by NZSSAA as the boys’ school team to represent New Zealand at the ISF World Cross Country Championships in Paris in March 2018. This is an amazing achievement and comes on the back of an historic clean sweep in the teams’ competition at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Champs in June.
The Westlake team will consist of six runners: Murdoch McIntyre, David Moore, Blair Hill, Zach Keenan, Stuart Hofmeyr and Daniel Robertson. All these boys are still under 16 runners – a remarkable achievement at such a young age.
The team will leave for London on Sunday, 25th March, where they will be based before departing for Paris on Monday, 2nd April. The ISF World Cross Country Champs take place on Thursday, 5 April. Each boy needs to fundraise $6000 for the trip.
Three Westlake Boys’ runners represented New Zealand at the Australian Cross Country Champs in Hobart, Tasmania on Saturday, 12th August. Joseph Clark (18y), Captain of the New Zealand team, finished 3rd in the U 20 race. Murdoch McIntyre (15y) and Stuart Hofmeyr (16y) competed in the U 17 grade, finishing 9th and 41st respectively.
WESTLAKE BOYS RUNNERS ACHIEVE THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE
On Saturday 17th June Westlake Boys High School competed in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships in Christchurch. This year was saw one of the biggest ever fields, with close to 1000 entrants from all over the country. The Westlake Boys 33 man squad had trained hard for this race, which was certainly evident in their outstanding results on the day. The Westlake Boys Cross Country team made a clean sweep of gold medals, winning all six team contests – an amazing feat that has never been achieved in National Cross Country Champs before.
The Year 9 Boys’ six person team, consisting of Ben Ruscoe (3rd), Etienne Piere (5th) Toby Saxby (11th), Sam Berry (15th), James Hopwood (46th) and Liam Hopwood (58th), had a dominant performance with a team score of 138, 100 points less than the second place team. Similarly in the three person team Ben, Etienne and Toby scored an impressive 19 to win gold, which was also well ahead of the nearest competition on 56.
In the Junior Boys’ race the three and six person team were Blair Hill (3rd), Jude Darby (6th), Arsh Kazi (16th), Max Johnson (20th), JJ Weston (24th) and George Luty (47th). Defending their 2016 titles, the boys put in an impressive performance, winning the six person race by 160 points and the three person by 19 points.
In the 219 strong Senior Boys’ race, Westlake ran well with the winning six person team including four Year 11 boys, who were competing in the senior division for the first time. The six person team of Joe Clark (6th), Murdoch McIntyre (7th), Stuart Hofmeyr (15th), David Moore (33rd), Daniel Robertson (55th)and Zach Keenan (75th) won gold with 191 points, 59 less than the silver medallists. Lastly, the three person team won gold with 28 points, an incredible 39 points less than the runners-up.
The wins across the board were a remarkable achievement and a true testament to the boys’ dedication, commitment and hard work, and that of their tireless coach, Theuns Strydom. The team now heads off to Kenya and South Africa on Sunday on a three week trip, where they will represent Westlake in Cross Country and Road Running.
AUCKLAND SCHOLASTIC SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS
The second round of the Auckland Scholastic Surfing Championships Comp was held in testing 3-4 foot conditions with the odd 5 foot wave at Piha. There was some epic surfing throughout the day, especially in the U14, U16 and U18 boys’ divisions. Westlake had a strong contingent including surfers: Ollie Charlesworth, Sam Charlesworth (gaining 2nd in U14 boys) Matt Archer, Oska Gosling, Ben Counsell, Jackson Crone, Jackson Peak (4th U14 boys), Daniel Gray and Kade Scheib (4th U18 boys). Despite tough conditions, the students performed well, with Sam Charlesworth maintaining the lead in the U14 Tri-series. The next event is scheduled for June 25th. The Tri-series allows boys from Auckland schools to compete for a spot at the Nationals to be held in Gisborne later in the year.
1st XV v Orewa 1st XV – June 17
Taking nothing for granted, Orewa were up to the task in the second round of the North Harbour Competition. Orewa managed to keep possession of the ball for long periods of time and put Westlake under pressure on numerous occasions. Orewa were by far the dominant team in this opening stanza.
It took almost 30 minutes before there was a score in the match. Baylee Katipa opened the scoring and was soon followed by Max Tu’inukuafe adding a second try to give Westlake a flattering half time lead. Westlake were not up to their usual high standard and dropped the ball at crucial stages, missed tackles and did not get enough numbers to the breakdown.
Whatever the coaches said at halftime worked. Within 10 minutes at the start of the second half, Nikau Graham and Finau Paea scored tries and the game was put beyond doubt. The players had lifted their game and there seemed to be more energy and intensity in the way the team played. Two further tries from Nikau Drage and Arikitoia Hood-Kaitapu sealed a comfortable victory.
Next week Westlake face Whanagarei at home and a far more disciplined effort will be required.
Scoreboard: Westlake 36 Orewa 0 (Half time 12 – 0)
Tries: Baylee Katipa; Max Tu’inukuafe; Nikau Graham; Finau Paea; Nikau Drage; Arikitoia Hood-Kaitapu
Conversions: Johnny Cooper (4)
2nd and 3rd XVs
Back home the Westlake 2nd XV were taking on Mahurangi 1stXV in the toughest game of the season. Both teams were undefeated going into the game and showed an eagerness to play at pace. A quick line out by standout Jackson Ephraims saw Jarrod Ferguson punting the ball forward for Dylan Chesney to run on to and score. Just before half-time Westlake worked the ball back and forth the width of the park until No.8 Caleb MacDonald found a gap and scored. Mahurangi however were determined to make amends for their loss to Westlake in last year’s final and surged back into the game. A late converted try levelled the game 12 all, and set the stage for what is looking like another exciting Final this year between the two teams.
The 3rd XV played Albany Senior 1stX V and once again displayed some good form, winning 26-7. Try scorers included No.8 Kade Scheib, No.13 Salim Sultandi and No.6 Todd Milliken (x2).
Premier Team vs. Rangitoto College
A packed house at Rangitoto College bore witness to a clash of the heavyweights as the only two unbeaten sides left in the premier competition met head to head on the 9th June 2017. Despite huge Westlake support, Rangitoto led early at 12-7. Proving that defense was to be the story of the night, Jesse Winter, a mid-season addition due to an ankle injury to Sam Mennenga, immediately made his presence felt. He checked into the game midway through the first quarter and made it extremely hard for Rangitoto to gain a rhythm early. The score at the end of the first was 19-19.
In the second quarter, a James Moors 3 and good work around the bucket helped the boys end a 4 minute drought of scoring and Ethan Martin made his presence felt with an aggressive slash to the lane. A Thabo Manyere dunk, off a James Moors pass, got the crowd in voice and 3s from James Moors and Alex (Ash) Freeman brought Westlake back within 2 at the half, trailing 39-37.
A pull-up jumper from a struggling Reuben Fitzgerald opened the second half and this seemed to spur the Westlake team into action. James Moors gained a warning for excessive hanging on the rim after a thunderous transition dunk off an assist from Reuben Fitzgerald. Defence was proving to be the key to a victory in this match, and with Westlake struggling to execute their game plan, Rangitoto proved their 3 point shooting was the difference, taking a 62-48 lead at the end of the 3rd.
Seven straight points for Reuben Fitzgerald trimmed the deficit to 10 points midway through the final period. Successive steals led to Fitzgerald pushing the ball and gaining two quick assists. Jesse Winter and Josh Hidalgo were responsible for finishing the plays, as the lead was trimmed to 65-63. Westlake provided the clamps on defence from here on in and a Fitzgerald isolation 3 stole the game.
Final score: 74-67 – Moors 19pts/12rebs, Fitzgerald 15pts/11rebs, Manyere 13pts/19rebs.
Premier Team vs. MAGS
On the 16th June 2017 the Premier Team took on Mount Albert Grammar School at home. The opening quarter of the game was very back and forth, as the inside presence of the MAGS pairing proved difficult for Westlake to keep out of the paint. With the absence of both starting power forwards, James Moors, and starting centre Thabo Manyere, the Westlake boys had to dig deep to keep the score to a close 23-19 in MAGS’ favour at the quarter’s end.
The second quarter started off being all MAGS. The Westlake boys struggled to keep the MAGS big players off the glass, ensuring that MAGS kept the lead midway through the 2nd. However, the introduction of Jesse Winter proved a catalyst to spur the Westlake boys into action; four straight 3s gave Westlake a 44-42 lead at the half.
The third quarter began with Westlake holding off the MAGS defence, allowing the boys to get out and run on the fast break, led by Marc Malingin and Reuben Fitzgerald. This equated to a 14 point lead early in the 3rd for Westlake. However, MAGS began to grind the lead back through stiff defence and a well-executed offensive game plan, bringing the score back to a 63-59 lead for the visitors at the end of the period.
Being down going into the 4th has been the story for this year’s Westlake Premiers and this Friday proved no different. The deficit amounted to as many as seven early on in the 4th before Reuben Fitzgerald riled up the defence, leading to some quick fast break points. The Westlake boys responded well to this quickening of pace, with Matthew Cairns-Hita heating up for 8 quick points, including two 3s. The game came down to the wire, but again the Westlake team proved composed in another high pressure situation. The home side closed the game out, 85-80 and go to 7-0 on the season.
Final score: Westlake 85 – Mt Albert Grammar 80 – Fitzgerald 22pts/5ast/4reb, Winter 16pts, Cairns-Hita 14.
1st XI vs. St. Peter’s College – 16th June 2017
- Williams, D. Hobson, H. Piper, E. Tessadri, C. Foulds, M. Wood, M. Lamont, B. Kelly, J. Benbow, J. Olivier, M. Conroy
- Scopas, A. Al-Majumei, R. Wynne, D. Mitten L. Wilson
Half time score – 1-0
Full time score – 2-2
Scorers – J. Benbow, M. Conroy
The First XI travelled to St. Peter’s College to play this week’s ASSFA Premier League game on Friday evening on the SPC artificial turf.
The team were looking to build upon the winning momentum they had gathered against Mount Roskill Grammar the week before. Coach Neil Emblen selected another attacking line up, in a game that Westlake were very much looking to take three points from. However, the game did not go well from the start, with Westlake looking cagey and sloppy in possession. The side were punished midway through the first half when they failed to stop a rudimentary cross into the box and then inexplicably left the SPC striker free, 8 yards from goal, to head the ball past GK Williams. Rather than galvanising the team, the goal had the opposite effect and Westlake began to look even nervier as the half wore on.
Nevertheless, the side did finish the half on level terms, with a goal from a penalty. A blocked shot was adjudged to have been handled and the referee pointed to the spot. Joe Benbow stepped up to take the kick, coolly slotting into the bottom corner. The goal marked his 7th of the season and a fine return for the makeshift striker.
The second half saw Westlake play slightly better and they looked more intense, when with and without the ball. The increased intensity was what saw the team take the lead. NZ U17 striker, Matt Conroy, picked up the ball and ran at the SPC defence. After beating a couple of players, he fired a precise left footed drive into the bottom corner giving the GK no chance. A fine solo goal for the recently returned front man.
It now looked as if Westlake were the more likely to push ahead and put the game beyond SPC’s reach. Alas, this was not to be the case as SPC were awarded a penalty of their own. A long ball into the box, led to a clear push on the SPC attacking player. The referee put the whistle to his lips and duly awarded the spot kick. The SPC player stepped up and set GK Williams the wrong way to level the score.
Little action of note followed in the closing stanza and the game petered out to an anti-climactic finish. A point was little consolation to the Westlake side, as they had firmly set this fixture aside as a winnable contest. The lesson here must surely be that anything other than giving 100% effort and sticking to a game plan, inevitably leads to an error prone and lack lustre performance.
Nonetheless, the team must pick themselves up quickly, for Tuesday’s KO Cup game vs. MAGS at home (3:15pm) on our Turf. The team will surely be looking to right a few wrongs in their performance, as they seek to advance to the Quarter Final stages.
The Westlake Cross Country Team had a very successful day at the Auckland Secondary School Cross Country Championships on Thursday 9th June in Pukekohe. The team of 55 boys won seven of the nine Auckland Titles on offer over a tough hilly course in windy conditions.
In the Junior grade the team won both the three and six person team titles with six runners finishing in the top thirteen. Jude Darby finished runner-up over the 4km course with Blair Hill 4th and JJ Weston in 6th place. They were well supported by Matt Gould 9th, Ben Lewis 10th and Arsh Kazi in 13th spot.
In the Intermediate grade over 4km, Murdoch McIntyre finished first leading the team to a three and six person team victory. With 115 runners in the race, the Westlake team had six runners in the top 16. Murdoch was well supported by David Moore 3rd, Jesper Bengtsson 9th, Josh Spraggon 12th, Nikola Sovljanski 14th and Daniel Robertson 16th.
Racing against the very best in Auckland, the Senior Boys won the three person title. Dan Hoy won the Senior grade 6km race with teammate Joseph Clark runner-up and Bradley Hall finishing 5th. Strong performances from Euan Grigor 16th, Oliver Heal 19th and Oscar England 23rd led to a second place finish for the six person team.
The excellent results are a testament to the hard work and dedication of all students and staff involved with Cross Country at Westlake. Westlake Boys would like to congratulate all boys on their astonishing achievement and especially Mr Theuns Strydom, Ms Helen Booth and Mrs Vanessa Shoobert, who dedicate many of their hours to the Cross Country and Distance Running programmes. The team look forward to continue their successes in the upcoming New Zealand Cross Country Championships in Rotorua on the 18th June.
Auckland Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships Results (more photographs below)
Thursday 9 June 2016 – Pukekohe
Three Person Team first and Six Person Team first
Jude Darby runner-up
Blair Hill 4th
JJ Weston 6th
Matt Gould 9th
Ben Lewis 10th
Arsh Kazi 13th
Three Person Team first and Six Person Team first
Murdoch McIntyre first
David Moore 3rd
Jesper Bengtsson 9th
Josh Spraggon 12th
Nikola Sovljanski 14th
Daniel Robertson 16th
Three Person Team 1st & Six Person Team 2nd
Dan Hoy first
Joseph Clark runner-up
Bradley Hall 5th
Euan Grigor 16th
Oliver Heal 19th
Oscar England 23rd