Transforming from track runner to cross country runner in a matter of weeks, Fletcher Pickworth qualified to represent New Zealand in the Australian Cross Country Championships.
Pickworth’s 10th place finish at Saturday’s New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships in Timaru nailed down the final of the 10 automatic berths for the Aussie meet to be held in Wollongong on August 24.
Pickworth finished athletics season with a victory in the 800m in Irvine, California on April 28. After two weeks rest, he carefully logged his mileage in May. He retained his Tasman Secondary Schools Cross Country title after a battle with Marlborough’s George Varney and then found himself in the lead pack as they strolled up and down a hilly bank of Ashbury Park.
Pickworth fell into a second pack and fell off that as they approached the final hill of the six kilometre course. But he held off the approaching herd and finished in 20:37.
Marlborough’s Lucy Harman, competing in her first NZ Secondary Schools Cross Country Meet finished 16th in the seniors girls 4km race. She will have two more years in this race.
Fenlon Bayley of Nelson College had the best finish of the National Academy of Distance Runners, placing ninth in the Year 9 boys race.
All results can be found at nzssaa.org.nz.