New Plymouth Girls' High School runner Zoe Hobbs has been rewarded for a golden weekend on the track with selection in the New Zealand secondary schools team.
And the 16-year-old's times have pushed her named forward as a definite contender for next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Hobbs scored emphatic wins in the 100m (11.86 seconds) and the 200m (24.36 seconds) at the New Zealand secondary schools track and field championships in Hamilton.
The year 11 student, who was competing in the senior girls' ranks for the first time, also finished second in the long jump with a distance of 5.67m.
Her performances didn't surprise coach Karen Gillum-Green.
"She's in the New Zealand relay squad for next year's Commonwealth Games. There's eight in the squad and based on her times at the weekend, she's the fastest.
"She's definitely a contender for the Games . . . it's quite exciting really," she said.
"She's only 16 and has two more years in the senior grade at the champs. She will only get better."
Gillum-Green said Hobbs had exceptional talent.
"She's quick and very dedicated. She's been involved in athletics all her life and just keeps plugging. She works so hard and is easy to train. In fact, you only give her the minimum because you know she will do more."
Taranaki athletes returned with 13 individual medals and four teams medals over the two days.
New Plymouth Boys' High School's Jono Brownjohn, competing in the AWD AMP (athletes with disability, amputee) grade, was in record-breaking form when extending his own record to 5.03m in the long jump. He also went on to win the 100m in 13.51sec and the high jump with a height of 1.65m.
Several other Boys' High athletes performed well.
Michael McDonald hurled the discus out to 49.85m to win the junior boys' title. Javon McCallum claimed silver in the junior boys' 400m in 51.02sec as did Angus White in the junior boys' 3000m with an impressive time of 9min 1.34sec.
Rhys Bishop ran well for the bronze medal in the senior boys' 800m and later in the day, with the help of his team-mates Javon McCallum, Connor Hobbs and Nicholas Kjestrup, took the bronze in the 4x400m relay.
Scott Murfitt, of Francis Douglas Memorial College, finished strongly in the senior boys' 200m in 22.18sec for the silver medal.
Madeleine Roughan and Nikita Kolose, of Girls' High, both in their first season in the senior girls' grade, were rewarded with bronze medals in the 3000m (10min 43.32sec) and shot put (13.03m) respectively.
At the road races, Sacred Heart Girls' College had success in the junior girls' three-person event, with the team of Emma Daniels, Holly Pearson-Niederberger and Holly Schofer coming home in third.
The road race also proved successful for the Boys' High senior team.
Hamish Sturmer, Will Jones and Orin Burmester were third in the three-person team. Along with Thomas Fletcher, Taylor Roberts and Justin Bishop, they also claimed bronze in the six-person event.
- Taranaki Daily News
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