Naomi Waite and High Jumpers raising the bar in Wellington


Story courtesy of College Sport Media

Credit to the photographer - Michael Dawson

Naomi Waite (Wellington Girls’ College) is celebrating her success this past weekend at the National Track and Field Championships at Newtown Park.

Last Friday afternoon she won the National Women’s U20 High Jump title with a personal best jump of 1.80m and in the process qualified for the World Athletics U20 Championships in Peru in August.

On Sunday Naomi backed up her U20 effort by finishing third behind former College Sport Wellington Regional champion and former Samuel Marsden Collegiate student Imogen Skelton in the Senior Women’s High Jump. Naomi jumped 1.78m on Sunday, behind winner Imogen’s best leap of 1.85m.

“I definitely knew that I had that in me for a while, but I didn’t go into it thinking that I was going to jump 1.80m or a personal best.” Naomi told College Sport Wellington.

“I jumped two PBs in that competition, having previously jumped 1.75m in coming second at the Cooks Classic meet in Whanganui. But since then, I have had a few struggles bringing myself back up to that level, so I went into this competition saying I know I have done everything I can do, and I really wanted to win. That said, I was not expecting a World Championships qualifying jump!”



Naomi explained that everything fell into place for her. “I think I had the right mindset. Having no expectations is really good, and I had enough nerves that I was really buzzed with adrenaline but that I was focused, and it came together for me.”

“On Sunday it was my first Senior Nationals and my first Senior medal, so that was amazing.”

She gave the 1.82m mark a push on Sunday as well but couldn’t quite achieve that.

Naomi was also joined by Scots College high jumper Hugo Jones who was second in the Men’s U20 High Jump and third in the Senior Men’s High Jump.  

The 2024 CSW College Sport Wellington Regional Athletics meet is this coming Tuesday.

With the hopeful addition of Hugo competing in the Senior Boys competition, the High Jump events could be events to follow closely.

For Naomi, an added incentive is trying to break the Senior Girls record of 1.72m, set in 2015 by former Wellington East Girls’ College athlete Phoebe Edwards.

“That would be something to strive for, but also with the wind and conditions in Wellington you have got to deal with what you have got. We were lucky with the weather this past weekend.”

Tying all these athletes together to contemporary times, the four of them are in the same training group in Wellington.

A common denominator is coach Mike Ritchie, who coaches Naomi, Phoebe and Hugo and used to be Imogen’s main coach prior to her recent time living away from the region.

At the time of this story, Naomi was unsure if she was going to compete at the North Island Secondary School Championships in Palmerston North early next month, but has her sights set on making the team for Fiji in June for the Oceania Championships and then the World Junior Championships team for Lima, Peru in August.

The NZSS Nationals are also at the end of this year for year 13 Naomi to look forward to.

Chilton St James’ Josephine Reeves is another recent past athlete who has success in this event. In 2018 she jumped 1.83m to win gold in the Senior Girls section. The long-standing NZSS meet record of 1.84m goes back to 1990.

Naomi is well travelled, having spent time growing up in the USA and China as part of a diplomatic family.

“I have been living in China for the past year and a half and I just moved back to Wellington in November - which also meant I had to dive head-first into the athletics season.”

“It was pretty hard to train over there. I did compete in their U18 Nationals as one of the first foreigners to ever compete there. I won bronze in 2022 and silver last year.”

Naomi took up athletics when she was 14 back in New Zealand, after doing competitive swimming and surf lifesaving and dance.

Having already tried it out, a catalyst for taking up high jump further going to the 2020 Capital Classic meet and watching Australians and Olympians Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers in action. “I saw them and thought that is what I want to do and my dad got in touch with coach Mike Ritchie and that is how it began. I started by jumping 1.45m and then pretty quickly put about 20cm on to that.”

Naomi comes into athletics with a strong family background in the sport. “One of my grandfathers was in the Australian Olympic long jump training squad, my other grandfather held the McEvedy Shield High Jump record, and my grandmother also used to hold the regional record for a while. My mum was a 400m sprinter and my dad was and still is a distance runner.”

Asked if she has any designs on other events or multi events such as Heptathlon, Naomi said perhaps in the future but for now she’s happy concentrating on High Jump and two possible trips overseas later this year.


Wellington medallists at the National Track and Field Championships


Double Medallists

 Naomi Waite – U20 High Jump Gold & Senior Women’s High Jump Bronze

 Keegan Sharkey – U20 & U18 Javelin Gold

 Heath Abbot – U18 Hammer Gold and U20 Hammer Silver

 Mikayla Sola – U20 Hammer and U20 Shot Put

 Albert O’Brien – (T20) U17 Para 200m Gold, U17 Para 400m Gold, U17 Para 100m Silver

 Alex McBeth – U16 800m and U16 1,500m Silver

 Joe Martin – U18 1,500 Silver and U18 800m Bronze

 Asher Robertson – U18 Long Jump Silver and U18 300m Hurdles Bronze

Faith Sola – U16 Hammer Bronze and U16 Discus Bronze

 Lucas Lambert – U18 100m Bronze and U18 200m Bronze

Rico Poutama – U18 High Jump Bronze and U18 Long Jump Bronze



 Naomi Waite WU20 High Jump 1.80m (Wellington Girls College)

 Analin Rudd WU18 Triple Jump 11.33m (Marsden)

 Albert O’Brien T20 Para 200m 33.60 (Onslow College)

 Jag Willers MU18 2,000m Steeplechase 6.28.63 (St Pats Town)

Conor Sharkey MU16 Hammer 40.46m (St Pats Stream)

 Heath Abbot Mu18 Hammer 60.67m (Wellington College)

 Keagan Sharkey MU18 57.37m and MU20 Javelin 52.88m (St Pats Stream)

 MU20 4x100m relay 42.39 – L Yousuf (Wellington College) + 3 who have left school



 Juliet Moorehead WU16 3,000m 10.26.70 (Wellington Girls College)

Mikayla Sola WU20 Hammer 47.30m & WU20 Shot Put 11.83m (HVHS)

 Alex McBeth MU16 800m 2.02.79 & MU16 1,500m 4.08.58 (Wellington College)

Joe Martin MU18 1,500m 4.02.92 (Wellington College)

 Nelsson Tiamalu MU18 Discus 46.91m (St Pats Town)

 Heath Abbot MU20 Hammer 53.21m (Wellington College)

 Asher Robertson MU18 Long Jump 6.37m (HIBS)

 MU16 4 x 100m relay 48.09 – A Rook (St Pats Town), T Waldrom (St Pats Stream), T O’Leary, G. Wilson (Rongotai)

 MU18 4 x 400m relay 3.35.59 – A. Robertson (HIBS) , B Miscall (St Pats Stream), J Willers (St Pats Stream), M. Lewer (St Pats Stream)



 Sacha Kilmister WU18 200m 25.55 (Kapiti College)

 Poppy Healy WU18 400m 57.72 (QMC)

 Emma Lowden WU16 3,000m 10.26.95 (Marsden)

 Scarlett Anderson WU20 3,000m Steeplechase 12.23.33 (Onslow College)

 Naomi Waite Senior Women’s High Jump 1.78m (Wellington Girls College)

 Faith Sola WU16 Hammer 41.22m and WU16 Discus 33.06m (Wellington Girls East)

 Lucas Lambert MU18 100m 11.03 & MU18 200m 22.45  (Paraparaumu College)

 Asher Robertson MU18 3oom Hurdles 40.46 (HIBS)

 Joe Martin MU18 800m 1.56.37 (Wellington College)

 Bair Waldrom MU16 2,000m Steeplechase 7.01.93 (St Pats Stream)

 Jack Gregory MU16 3,000m 9.42.89 (Kapiti College)

 Callum Wos MU18 3,000m 9.05.33 (St Pats Stream)

 Rico Poutama Mu18 High Jump 1.90m and MU18 Long Jump 6.36m (Paraparaumu College)

 Hugo Jones MU20 High Jump 2.01m (Scots College)

Article added: Thursday 21 March 2024


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