California dreaming on track

11 April 2019

Whanganui athletes Jonathan Maples, left, Tayla Brunger and Andres Hernandez are race fit and ready to tackle North American track form on three consecutive weekends.

Whanganui athletes Jonathan Maples, left, Tayla Brunger and Andres Hernandez are race fit and ready to tackle North American track form on three consecutive weekends.
Photo / Supplied


Three Whanganui athletes step up the pace as they follow in the footsteps of others from the River City who have tested themselves against hot North American form on the track.

Whanganui Collegiate students Tayla Brunger and Andres Hernandez and former Whanganui High School deputy head boy Jonathan Maples left from Whanganui Airport on Monday aiming to equal or better the performances of other young athletes from the River City over recent years to tour California.

In 2015 Max Attwell and Geordie Beamish , the former is current New Zealand Decathlon Champion and the latter won the NCAA Division 1 Indoor Mile in March, made the trip, while Harry Symes and Oliver O'Leary competed in 2016 and Lexi Maples, Jordan Hume, Olivia Seymour and Grace Godfrey toured in 2017.

The athletes will be based in Los Angeles and will compete at the weekend in the Triton International at the University of California San Diego.

They compete at the Beach Invitational on the Jack Rose Track in Long Beach on the following weekend and then at Irvine in the Steve Scott meeting on April 26-27.

All three Whanganui athletes will be in action in San Diego - Hernandez runs in the 1500m , Maples over 100m and 200m and Brunger over both 400m and 200m.

"It is interesting that Grace Godfrey set a Collegiate 400m record on the same San Diego track and the in-form Tayla Brunger would love to be the second 400m WCS record breaker in California," coach Alec McNab said.

"The generally favourable conditions and the strong fields provide outstanding conditions that previous touring athletes have found conducive to excellent performances - I'm sure they will all benefit from the experience.

"Jonathan has stayed in the sport since leaving school at the end of last year and he is poised to do something special, a personal best at least, while if Andres gets the right conditions he too will be right there," McNab said.

Brunger and Hernadez showed good form at the North Island Secondary School Championships in Tauranga at the weekend. Maples was not eligible having left school.

Brunger had a superb meeting taking the senior sprint treble setting personal best times in the 100m and 200m with a season best over 400m. She then joined Sophie Williams, Genna Maples and Sophie Redmayne (winner of the 300 metre hurdles with a one second PB) to win the 4 x 100m with a school record of 48.36 seconds.

Then Ana Brabyn, who earlier at the meet set a PB over 400m to finish second and set a school Under 16 record over 800m again finishing second, joined Brunger, Maples and Redmayne to impressively win the 4 x 400m against Regional Teams with an 11 second winning margin.

Hernandez finished third in the 3000m in a respectable 8:43.4.

By Iain Hyndman
Whanganui Chronicle 11/4/19