When James Hunt first decided to try hurdles at a school athletics day two years ago, he had no idea that he was starting down a track that would make him a national champion.
"I just thought I'd give it a try, it's something a bit different from what I've usually done," he said.
A sporting enthusiast already playing cricket and rugby for St Paul's Collegiate, James was surprised when he did well in the event.
He started training with the school track and field team, practising jumping over almost metre-high hurdles daily to see how far he could go.
Two years on, the 17-year-old has achieved a few milestones and has been singled out as a potential candidate to represent New Zealand internationally and at future Olympic campaigns.
At his first serious competitive meet at the secondary school track and field nationals at the end of last year, James placed fourth in the open boys 300m.
He opted out of cricket to work on improving his hurdling over the summer and while he still plays rugby for the St Paul's 1st XV as a wing, athletics is his biggest focus now with six days a week training.
With meets this year, James showed the hard work he had put into summer training by registering multiple wins at the North Island secondary schools championship.
He followed that up with club nationals in March where, representing the Waikato-Bay of Plenty area, James won the under-17 110m and 300m events, beating opponents who have been competing in the events for years.
He said the wins were the highlight of his sporting career.
"Not many people knew of me because I haven't been doing it for that long and I sort of came from nowhere," he said.
"I wasn't really sure if I had the potential to actually win it so I was pretty stoked when I did."
His success so far has led to selection for the Rio 2016 Development Squad, a development team of possible athletes for New Zealand's 2016 Olympics contingent.
"There's 20 of us, maybe a little bit more, that they see as having the potential to make it [to Rio] and so they help you out and we go to camps and they develop you," James explained.
"I was pretty stoked, you get more coaching and people who can help you out."
With the rugby season starting up, James has been focussed on preparing for the 1st XV. But the athletics training never stops and he finds that training for the two sports at the same time works well.
"My athletics actually really helps my rugby, gets me faster," he said.
"During the winter we do endurance sort of stuff and then once we get in to the season we get into speed work and practising going over hurdles, so I'm always training."
The next big win James is gunning for is dual titles at the national secondary school field and track champs, held in term four.
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