The emerging 15-year-old 400m talent ran a blistering 54.69 at the North Island Secondary Schools Championships earlier this year – a performance which ranks her second in the national open rankings for the distance. We find out more about the Te Aroha Athletics Club athlete as she answers our 'Five Minutes With' questions.
Why would you encourage anyone to try athletics?
I would encourage anyone to try athletics because the skill sets you learn are a core attribute to almost every other sport. It may also fit different types of people because it is an individual sport rather than a team sport. It also taught me life skills like perseverance and resilience through hard training and good and bad races, which I think are important qualities for every person to experience.
Who was your first coach and how did they influence your career?
I never really had specific one on one coaching until Ange Russek (my current coach) starting coaching me four years ago as a Year Eight student at St Peter’s. She’s kept me honest to achieve some good performances and she’s definitely pushed me harder than I would’ve done otherwise.
What are your athletics weaknesses?
I am a slow starter. In my first race in the Colgate Games as an eight-year-old I was disqualified and ever since I’ve been slow off the mark in the shorter races.
What is the funniest things you’ve seen on an athletics track?
During relays on school athletics day one of my friends didn’t realise the other runner was coming in for the baton hand off. Unfortunately, the outgoing runner started a bit too late, the pair collided and ended up on the ground. Luckily no one was hurt and they both stood up, laughed and carried on running!
What is your favourite athletics session?
To be honest, I find training very hard work which I’m okay with because it’s what I need to do to achieve my goals. But I definitely look forward to race day over any training session.
What is the greatest thing you’ve witnessed in an athletics stadium?
I raced last year at the historic Penn Relays in Philadelphia on a school trip and got to witness some Olympic runners competing, which was pretty insane.
Who has been your toughest rival?
Genna Maples has dominated so many events over the years in our age group, she’s an amazing athlete and I’m just happy to be able to hold my own against her in the 400m.
If you could star in another sport which sport would it be?
I also play volleyball and netball but I definitely have a big passion for volleyball as well as athletics.
When travelling to a meeting what is the most important item in your suitcase?
All I really need is my spikes, but I do need my headphones to listen to music in between my races to either calm me down or hype me up for the race.
What is your greatest regret?
My biggest regret would probably be not taking it as seriously as I could’ve until this year. Now that I’ve realised my goals and that I want to go somewhere with my running, I’ve started enjoying it much more.
Who is the person who most admire?
Basketball international Charlisse Ledger-Walker. She is an incredible athlete and it is amazing how she is able to manage her school work, being head girl and featuring as a Tall Fern. I also admire her attitude, humbleness and kindness.
What is your favourite movie and why?
My favourite movie is The Sixth Sense because I did not predict the massive plot twist coming at the end of the movie.
When was the last time you looked at your athletics medals?
Well, I look at them every time I walk into my bedroom because my dad welded me these bespoke medal holders that are hung up on my wall.