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2016 Cross country results

The results for the 2016 Cross country and be view in the below PDF.

Toughest of tough winners again

Five days of gut-wrenching challenges have culminated in a New Plymouth Girls' High and Boys' High team again being crowned champions in the annual Hillary Challenge.

The win ended Opunake High School's year reign at the top of New Zealand adventure racing and means New Plymouth has won eight titles since the event started 11 years ago.

Cambridge High School came in second, ahead of Opunake who finished just 60 points behind.

The overall winners were clearly on cloud nine after beating Opunake, who they had pegged as their stiffest competition ahead of the event.

"All that tough work paid off," team member Erika Barr, 17, said.

"It took months and months of preparation."

The five-day Genesis Energy Hillary Challenge is held at Tongariro's Outdoor Pursuits Centre. Eleven teams from New Zealand and one from Australia eted. The teams were scored on their skill, speed and endurance during a series of outdoor adventure and problem-solving challenges, including a 55km rogaine wilderness expedition and a multisport race - the hardest of the lot.

"That was a 4km paddle, a 7km run, a 26km bike, and another 7km run that was like a bush bash," team member Lyneche Simkin said.

"It was a real struggle."

Miss Simkin received a special "hard-man" award, typically given to males, for her efforts during the week.

The 17-year-old defied all the odds by proving that women can be tough, too.

For seven out of eight team members it was their first taste of Hillary Challenge competition, and they were all certain they'd be back to defend their title next year.

Coach Hewlett said the teenagers had taken on advice from former Ironman Cory Hutchings, who told them there was no room for weaknesses, and you needed to capitalise on strengths.

"That has been their focus and they did really well.

"The event requires a huge deal of consistency and you really can't have any weak areas."

Teamwork and sound navigation skills had been the key to their success.

"If you can't do navigation then you're pretty stuffed," Mr Hewlett said. "They all have that mental toughness of pushing themselves beyond what they think they can do and giving it everything."

Opunake High School coach Matt Lash said there was always a bit of disappointment that came with losing a title, but the team had given it their all.

"It was still a really great result, and the team were stuffed at the end of it.

"They didn't quite have enough at the end of the day, but they're all stoked with how it went."

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