By Kent Gray/ in Wanaka
Olivia Rooney and Coen Anderson captured the senior titles on a golden day for Auckland’s St Kentigern College at the New Zealand Secondary School Triathlon Championship in Wanaka on Thursday.

For Rooney, it was her second successive U19 title after victory in New Plymouth last year while Anderson added the senior crown to his U16 title 12 months ago. As a year 12 student, he has a shot at joining Rooney as a two-time senior champion next year.

Oliver McGuinness (pictured below) earned gold for Saint Kentigern in the U13 boys race and also had his name drawn as the NZSS Suzuki prize draw winner, meaning he now has a one in eight chance of winning a brand new Suzuki Swift – not bad for someone who is still too young to drive.

The Pakuranga school, who are super fortunate to have 12-time Ironman NZ champion Cameron Brown as their head coach, also finished 1st and 3rd in the U19 Mixed Relay to seal their title as the leading co-ed school of the 2023 NZSS Championship.

Palmerston North Boys’ High School and Palmerston North Girls’ High School won the respective male and female best school crowns, the former helped by Filip Martin’s U14 boys’ victory.

Cohnor Walsh (St Andrews College) and Charlotte Chiles (Rangi Ruru Girls School) won the U16 titles.

Rooney was disappointed with her 11th place a last month’s Oceania Junior (U19) Championship in Taupo, a result that saw her finish second overall behind Lucy Evans in he U19 NZ Junior Triathlon Series. But she made amends at Glendhu Bay Motorcamp, completing the sprint distance race (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) in 1:08:43, nearly 30 seconds clear of Kennedy Taylor (Southland Girls High) with Isabel Bannister (Saint Kentigern College) rounding out the podium.

“Just did the Oceania, that wasn’t my best performance, way off on the swim, then just had the Auckland Schools Duathlon last week, pretty stoked with that, came second, happy with that performance, my swim and then this just tops it all, this was the race for the season,” Rooney told

“After the performance at Oceania Taupo I wasn’t sure how I was going to go coming into this but the last couple of weeks training have been really solid so I was just ready to give it my all and see what the body could do to be honest.

“I was a little surprised coming out of the water because usually, I’m more off the back, yeah just really shocked I was up there out if the water and I felt good. And then I was with my best mate Izzy on the ride which was good and then I saw the [other U19 female] cyclists coming up and I thought, oh no, this is not ideal because they’re all runners, better pick it up. So I did a little attack on the way back, held [them] off and then just had to hold on for the run.”

Anderson, like Rooney, is in the Tri NZ development programme and was 7th at the recent Oceania Junior (U19) Championships. He won Thursday’s sprint pretty much from the whistle in 1:01:17 ahead of Reeve Dooney (Taradale High School) in 1:02:03 and Ryan Marfell (Marlborough Boys College) in 1:02:32.

“Sounds pretty good, pretty stoked,” Anderson said of being crowned NZSS champion before referencing the chilly morning at Glendhu Bay.

“Really cold so it was a bit if a shock warming up, face gets real numb but after a while you warm up and I was out solo, a pretty lonely race but it was good to get it all [sorted] in the mindset and just go for it.

“Cam Brown and Dom were telling me the gaps, I think I had a 30-second gap going onto the bike and I was just like you’ve got to put your head down and just go for it because otherwise, you going to like…I don’t have a power metre so I was just going off how I felt but, nah, I was just pretty much gunning it the whole time.

“Raced at Oceania Champs last month, I was 7th at that, 3rd Kiwi so missed out on the Junior Worlds selection by seven seconds or something yeah, so this today and that were the main races of the year. After this, starting cycling season for school, so get on the bike heaps and just keep swimming through the winter and running through the winter, like cross-country season and yeah, build it up for next season.

“The goal for next year would definitely be to qualify for Junior Worlds and just improve on everything over the winter pretty much.”

The NZSS Championship was organised by Southland Triathlon and Multisport Club.

2023 NZSS Championship – Selected Results

U12 Female (200m swim, 6km bike, 2km run)
1. Abigail Junge (Cashmere Primary School) 29:56
2. Elza Harrington (The Cathedral Grammar School) 30:01
3. Bella McRitchie-King (Halfmoon Bay) 33:05
Teams: St Hildas 1.

U12 Male (200m swim, 6km bike, 2km run)
1. Hugo Skerman (Huntley School) 27:31
2. Cruz Webb (Huntley School) 28:18
3. Vadim Pulin (Hillview Christian School) 31:13

U13 Female (200m swim, 6km bike, 2km run)
1. Olivia Shepherd (Taupo-nui-a-Tia College) 27:00
2. Sophie Archer (Saint Kentigern) 28:08
3. Aimee Free (Cobham) 28:25
Teams: Mt Aspiring

U13 Male (200m swim, 6km bike, 2km run)
1. Oliver McGuinness (Saint Kentigern College) 26:24
2. Alex Cosgriff (Waihi School) 27:11
3. Ben Lough (Burnside High School) 27:42
Teams: Waihi 1, Rosebank 2, Mt Aspiring 3.

U14 Female (350m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run)
1. Sophie Lampe (St Andrews) 36:57
2. Millie McLean (PNGHS) 39:15
3. Eve Kelleher (Queens High School – Dunedin) 40:07
Team: Wakaipu 1, Mt Aspiring 2.
Mixed Team: Central Southland College 1.

U14 Male (350m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run)
1. Filip Martin (PNBHS) 33.20
2. Flynn Balfour (PNBHS) 34:43
3. Kian Weston (Taupo-nui-a-Tia College) 35:16
Teams: Hillview Christian School 1.

U16 Female (500m swim, 12km bike, 3.75km run)
1. Charlotte Chiles (Rangi Ruru Girls School) 43:50
2. Dorothy Anderson (Saint Kentigern College) 44:54
3. Neve McKenzie (Marlborough Girls College) 45:10
Mixed Teams: CSC 1, Menzies 2, James Hargest 3.

U16 Male (500m swim, 12km bike, 3.75km run)
1. Alec Ball (Fielding High School) 40:03
2. Caleb Wagener (Auckland Grammar School) (40:14)
3. Ollie Aitken (HSNZ) 40:48
Teams: Otago Boys High School 1.

U19 Female (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run)
1. Olivia Rooney (Saint Kentigern College) 1:08:43
2. Kennedy Taylor (Southland Girls High) 1:09:12
3. Isabelle Bannister (Saint Kentigern College) 1:10:20
Teams: Columba 1, Timaru Girls High School 2.
Mixed Teams: CSC 1.

U19 Male (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run)
1. Coen Anderson (Saint Kentigern College) 1:01:17
2. Reeve Dooney (Taradale High School) 1:02:03
3. Ryan Marfell (Marlborough Boys College) 1:02:32
Teams: Otago Boys High School 1, Waiaki Boys High 2.

Mixed Relay
1. Huntley School 1:17:11
2. Hillview Christian School 1:21:22

1. Cobham/Hillview 1:13:20
2. Waihi/Huntley 1:14:05
3. Huntley School 1:14:55

1. PNGHS/PNBHS 1:05:49
2. Cashmere High/Christs College 1:10:10
3. Hillview Christian School 1:20:39

1. Palmerston North Boys’ High School 1:25:17
2. Taupo-nui-a-Tia College 1:30:01
3. Fielding High School 1:31:45


1. Saint Kentigern College 1:24:38
2. Rangi Ruri Girls School 1:26:35
3. Saint Kentigern College 1:32:25

U13 Male Relay
1. Hillview/Chrischurch Intermediate 1:26:23

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