Massive medal haul for CHS cyclists

The Cambridge High School cycling team at the secondary school track cycling champs, where they won top school for the second year running.

The trophy cabinet at Cambridge High School full after students brought home an awe-inspiring medal and trophy haul from three national competitions over the school holidays.

Seventeen of the school’s cyclists travelled with a contingent of support staff and parents to the national secondary school road cycling championships in Invercargill where they won 17 medals including eight gold.

Three more medals were collected at the national mountain biking champs in Dunedin, followed by 13 medals – including five gold – being collected at the secondary school track nationals at Invercargill.

The school also won top school in New Zealand for track cycling for the second year running, as well as top co-ed school and top boys school at the road champs.

“Over two weeks, for Cambridge High School cycling, it’s just been phenomenal,” said John McDonnell, the school’s deputy principal and overseer of cycling at the school behind head cycling coach Grant Ackerman.

“The commitment from the students and parents to go down to Invercargill was no simple feat. And I believe the local school that placed second had 30 students, we had 17, so it wasn’t easy for them.

“It’s been an amazing year for the Cambridge High School cycling team.”

McDonnell credited the support of parents and coaches, as well as the establishment of the Avantidrome and Cycling NZ in Cambridge, as big contributors to their success.

In the past decade the school’s cycling team had grown from four to 74 over road, track and mountain biking. He emphasised their focus wasn’t on winning, but enjoying good, healthy sport.

“We’ve developed an ethos of positivity, participation, enjoyment, and what’s coming out the other end is success. And it’s just starting to snowball.”

He said even parents had followed in their children’s footsteps taking up cycling on the road or track.

School student Jaxon Russell, who won eight medals at the road and track champs including four gold, credited the support of school parents, as well as the benefits of the Avantidrome and the elite cyclists that ride there, as a massive aid in their success.

“It couldn’t have been done without all the parents,” he said of their school holiday medal haul.

Molly Hayes and Seana Gray, who earned six medals between them, echoed the parental sentiments. “It wouldn’t have been possible without them,” said Molly.

“It was a huge team effort from everyone,” Seana said.

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