Tauranga dominates national cross country scene

Sam Ruthe leading the boys Under 16 race. Supplied photo.

The 50th New Zealand Secondary Cross Country Championships at Ascot Park in Christchurch saw the pinnacle of New Zealand's running talent converge for the ultimate test.

Among the 49 colleges and nearly 1000 athletes, Tauranga emerged as the undisputed stars of the event, leaving a trail of triumph in their wake.

The Tauranga Boys' College Stallions galloped to victory, setting the track on fire with their remarkable performances, says Ben Ruthe, whose son Sam won the Under 16 boys' race. The same race Ben won 29 years ago.

"From the electrifying dominance of Sam in the Under 16 boys' race winning by one of the largest margins in championship history, to the nail-biting finish by Ronin Dickens in the Year 9 boys' event, Tauranga athletes showcased unparalleled grit and determination."


When asked about what has made Tauranga so successful this year Sam says; “We have the best training group and the best college, our coaches and leaders are amazing, everywhere you look people are pushing to get better and I have to get better to keep up with my mates.”

"In an epic battle, George Wylie of TBC and Caleb Wagener blazed ahead in the Senior boys' event, pushing the limits of speed and endurance," says Ben.

Ben says Wagener’s undisputed talent and 6 foot 2 frame challenged the tenacity of Wylie who hung on until the last strides, picking up the national silver medal, as Tauranga Boys' College clinched an unprecedented two Golds and a Silver in the individual races.

Sam Ruthe and Vaughan Murray who got Gold and Bronze in the Under 16 boys race.

But the triumph didn't stop there, says Ben.

"Tauranga Boys' College's glory reverberated across the championships, with two victories in team events and placings in every individual and team event on offer.

"Other Tauranga locals also had standout performances including a Bronze from Aquinas’ Vaughan Murray and two top four finishes from his brother Hamish Murray and Otumoetai Colleges best result for Kate Faitl. 'The Tauranga region's dominance left spectators in awe, sparking whispers of their being something in the water supply."

Ben says the weekend's excitement continued with Waikato Bay of Plenty's stellar relay victories, led by the unstoppable Tauranga Talent.

"It was the younger year 10 TBC athlete Sam Ruthe that surprised in taking the fastest lap honours beating his much more experienced and senior rivals to the quickest lap."

The 51st Championships are set to be held in Whangarei in 2025, the stage is set for a triumphant return of these young athletes with nearly all returning to challenge the best the country has.



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