Adventure Racing team makes the finals!

By Daniella Hall

Pictured top: Our amazing team above: Hunter Wilson, Daniella Hall, Kate Jobbins, Chloe Broderick, Maeve Lockett, Ezra Coyle, Cade Gillies, Conall McClean

It was an early wake-up for the Westlake combined Junior Adventure Racing Team ….  but what a day!  We were up against 22 teams from around North Harbour and Auckland to decide which two teams were the champions to represent our region at New Zealand Champs.

We started off in Auckland Zoo for our first challenge – orienteering.  We had an hour to run at full speed picking up as many points as we could with our teams of four.  Many teams who had 8 people or more had to split in half (including us).  We killed it! Both of our Westlake teams came in very close in first and second with all points collected within half an hour – well ahead of the other teams.  So we headed off again to get our bonus points for the next half hour and collected all of those as well, while many teams still hadn’t even come back from their first round.  Needless to say – we were the top team overall for this stage. We were really hyped from this first round achievement and ready for the next stage.

Our second challenge was problem solving.  Check out the photos to the side to see what the challenge looked like.  There were four wooden and four metal pipes that we had to join together using our hands.  We also had a small bucket of marbles which had to be transferred by the pipes across a certain distance.  If you dropped the marble you had to start again.  You could almost say we lost our marbles – in more ways than one!  After transferring the marbles we had to put them through a long black pipe to get to a small yellow bucket. If by some annoying occurrence we missed the bucket, the marble would be lost to us. At the end of the challenge, the instructor counted everyone’s marbles to see who had the most. The winner of our round of teams was us!  And we came second in this challenge out of all teams.  But don’t worry, we found our marbles!

The trek to the relay challenge was short but sweet considering it was right next to the problem solving field. It was a small man-made lake with flags at each end of it. Every team had one paddle board, one paddle and two life jackets. The aim of the game was for two teammates to get on the singular paddle board, paddle across the lake to the far flag, get off, run around the flag, jump back on the board and paddle furiously back to the rest of the team.

Once there, we jumped off the paddle board, ran to our team and transferred the two life jackets to the next pair to go ahead and do the same thing. The problem was, some of the life jackets had jammed zips.  So we had to get two of our teammates to help slide it over our heads.

The winner of this timed challenge was the one with the most laps around this course. There were also bonus points to the team who cheered their team on the most – we were pretty loud! Again, we won our round of teams and came second in this challenge out of all teams.

We drove to our next challenge and our mouths just dropped open. This short but sweet bike course was choked up with mud. Because the previous teams pummelled the trails in the morning after a night of heavy rain, the course had a tiny bit of grass, but the main colour was brown. We had to ride laps of a small mountain biking course. The whole thing was so muddy it was really easy to slip and fall off our bikes.  By the end not many people were able to say they didn’t fall off! Two teammates had a bike between us, and everyone had to tag and swap out after riding a lap. The problem was, it wasn’t just you and your mate doing this course, it was two others from every single team. You really got to see human nature with who was kind enough to let you pass them, or make you miserable behind them while they were a moment away from falling off. Overall we won this challenge!!  But only because of our wonderful skills of being able to stay on our bikes.

We ended the day with a quick sneaky drive through at the local maccas before heading back to school and getting stares because of our muddy tired faces. Overall it was a wonderful experience and day. The incredible team bonding throughout the Westlake boys and girls was really good.  We’ve trained together for most of the year, but this really brought us together as a solid team.  We were lucky to have the encouragement and support from our awesome teachers as well.

Oh – and where did we place?….  We came 2nd overall just narrowly missing out on top spot – but we are one of the two champion teams to represent Auckland/North Harbour at the New Zealand Finals on Great Barrier Island in December.