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Boys' and Girls' High Hillary Challenge team secures 'biggest win' in event history

Boys' and Girls' High Hillary Challenge team secures 'biggest win' in event history

Boys' and Girls' High Hillary Challenge team secures 'biggest win' in event history

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On the fourth day of a five-day adventure challenge the New Plymouth Girls' and Boy's High team went non-stop for nine-and-a-half hours. 

There was no time to stop for anything, not even toilet breaks, and it could be the reason they won the Hillary Challenge for the ninth time. 

After more than a decade of entering the national challenge the team have never placed outside the top two - this time with the most convincing win the judges had ever seen.

This year's team was made up of four year 12 and 13 girls and four year 12 and 13 boys from the schools and coach Phil Hewlett said teamwork was the reason they came out on top. 

"There was incredible teamwork amongst this group and that's why they won," Hewlett said. 

"They work so well together, and great team work delivers great results."

The team won by 600 points and Hewlett said he thinks it's "the biggest win in the history of the event".  

The event is held in the Tongariro National Park and Hewlett described it as one of the "toughest secondary school events in the country". 

"It's about 35 hours of competition over the week which is pretty intense," he said. 

The team, who have been training with "blood, sweat and tears" for the past seven months, won all three components of the challenge. 

The event is made up of problem solving, navigation exercises and rogaine, which involves about "50 kilometres of running, paddling and mountain biking".

Hewlett said the team had to do everything from building a raft, to abseiling down to a river and treating a patient before setting up a rope system to pull the patient back up on a stretcher, to carrying 120kg in full packs as a team. 

Hewlett said the team wasn't made up of the fastest or fittest teenagers, it was all about mental strength. 

"You don't have to be the best athlete in the world to do adventure racing you just have to have the best mental attitude to train hard and give it heaps," he said.  

 - Stuff

JANE MATTHEWS