Invercargill’s Emily Paterson made the most of the opportunity to race on her home track at the Cycling New Zealand Schools National Track Championships this week, claiming the under-20 girls crown at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome.
The schools’ event attracted over 150 riders from 46 schools and incorporated the South Island Schools Championship. This was the second National Schools Track Championships following the inaugural event in Cambridge last year.
Paterson, the world junior silver medallist in the team pursuit, won two of her three individual events, and both team events over the two-day competition.
Teaming up with Rhylee Akeroyd in the team sprint, the pair posted a time of 36.929 to outmatch sister-duo Natalie and Tyla Green (Central Southland College) by 0.885 of a second. The James Hargest pair were then joined Hayley Paterson and Jasmine McLeod in the team pursuit, taking the under-20 title in impressive fashion by overtaking the quartet from Cambridge High School.
“I'm pretty pleased with how I went. With the individual events being an omnium format, there's so much that can happen. My aim going into the keirin and the scratch race was to win both of them to take the pressure off in the points race, and thankfully, that’s what ended up happening,” said Paterson.
“Finishing third in the points race put me leading overall but only by two points so it was pretty close. It was great to have such good competition heading into my first year racing elite at the Oceania Champs next week.
“I've never done this event before, and it being my last year at school and having the event at home, it was a pretty awesome opportunity.”
It was also a tight affair in the under-20 boys grade, with eight riders in the early hunt for a podium spot. Michael Richmond (Palmerston North Boys) emerged victorious, topping the podium with a win in the scratch race and third in the points race after accumulating points in all three sprints. Navarh Brotherston (Southland Boys) and Reuben Webster (St Peters) could not be separated in the battle for the second step, with both finishing on 104 points.
"It was pretty tactical going into the final race, and I knew who I needed to beat. But when that three person breakaway went, I was just riding for as many points as I could get to do as well as I could overall. I’m pretty happy to win the gold medal," Richmond said.
Paterson’s outstanding efforts were unfortunately not enough to see James Hargest scoop the Top National Schools title, with that award going to the team from Cambridge High School for the second year in a row. James Hargest did however convincingly take the Top South Island Schools title over Verdon College by a massive 97 points.
Seven riders completed the individual trifecta – taking out maximum points from the keirin, scratch race and points races. These included multi-national record holder Jenna Borthwick (St Margarets) in the under-17 girls, Cambridge High pairing Jack Carswell and Jaxson Russell in the under-17 and under-16 boys, as well as sister-duo Caoilinn and Seana Gray in the under-13 and under-15 girls. Local riders to achieve the feat were Finn Edwards (James Hargest) and Caitlin Kelly (Verdon) in the under-13 boys and under-14 girls.
Other riders to take out their grades were St Peters School’s Frankie Wright in the under-14 boys, Marshall Erwood (James Hargest) in the under-15 boys and Keisha Anderson (Cambridge High) in the under-16 girls.
The event concludes the Cycling New Zealand Schools event calendar for 2019. Around 3,570 students from 250 intermediate and secondary schools affiliated to the Cycling New Zealand Schools programme this year, competing in 11 events across all cycling codes.
For full results, please visit www.schoolscycling.nz.
CAPTION: James Hargest College’s Emily Paterson rides to victory in the under-20 girls grade at the Cycling New Zealand Schools National Track Championships. (Photo credit: Eugene Bonthuys).