The 2010 New Zealand University Snow Games have concluded and Otago University has again secured the coveted Michael Forrestal Memorial Shield.
The 42-strong team of athletes successfully defended the sought-after prize with consistent performances throughout the annual event which was staged across four ski resorts near Wanaka during the past week.
“They showed great character and, in the true spirit of the Uni Snow Games, had a fantastic time while providing strong competition for the 10 other campuses,” games director Dene Lynch said.
Massey Albany retained the Small Campus Award, with Emilie Tait-Jamieson single-handedly contributing three gold and two silver medals to their points tally.
In the final standings, Otago’s Estelle Baker won the overall women’s award, with Tait-Jamieson named best skier and Georgina Allen, of Canterbury, the best snowboarder.
Canterbury’s Richard O’Brien was named overall top men’s competitor, with Dominic Campbell and Cody Logan named best skier and snowboarder respectively.
Ironically, too much snow wreaked havoc on the final day of competition at the Snow Park, relegating the slopestyle event to a rail jam session and making conditions challenging for the Big Air.
“It was New Zealand weather at its finest and it did it’s best to trick us on several occasions,” event director Cam Craighead said.
Otago’s Matt Johnson secured gold in the Freeski Big Air, with Hamish McDougall and Andrew Bowie completing a clean sweep for the campus.
CPIT student Ben Comber easily dominated the men’s snowboard section, followed by Logan and Marc Riedi, of Otago.
In the women’s ranks, Allen added another gold medal to her haul, with Hannah Orchard and Chelsea Martinez completing the Canterbury hat-trick.
In the rail jam, a skid over the picnic table with shifty off earned Adelia White, of Otago, the win in the ski event, with Johnson taking out the men’s title.
In the snowboard division, Martinez earned the women’s gold, with Chris Hutchings, of Otago, claiming the men’s.
Heavy snowfall and chilly winds tested the tenacity of entrants in the cross-country skiing – especially Jamie Robinson who was clad in a skimpy Wonder Woman outfit, and her Otago team-mate Scott Ridley, who sported a lime green mini skirt with taffeta trim.
It was an eye-opener for Winter Olympian and Queenstown Resort College student Sarah Murphy, who predictably blitzed the field over the 3km course with a time of 11 min 14 sec – over 10 minutes quicker than nearest rival Tait-Jamieson, who was racing in the discipline for the first time.
“Any medal is an awesome medal, even chocolate ones – in fact, they’re the best ones because you get to eat them,” Murphy said. “It was super fun because I just love racing … it’s really cool for New Zealand to be getting into the cross-country scene.”
Otago’s Andrew Soundy dominated the men’s 6km course in 25 min 20 sec to win gold – over 10 min clear of Nick Sullivan, also of Otago, and Nicholas Francis, of Auckland.
“I was trying to hold off Sarah Murphy but she had the edge. I don’t feel too bad because she did go to the Vancouver Olympics,” Soundy, a member of the New Zealand junior team, said.