Dick Quax was a world beating runner throughout the 1970s, winning a silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Games 5000m and breaking the world record a year later at the same distance, and setting sizzling international standard times in other events from the 1500m to the marathon.
Last weekend at the national track and field championships in Dunedin, Dick’s son Theo grabbed an eye-catching win in the Men’s U18 1500m, smashing his personal best in the process.
Having just started Year 12 at Macleans College, Theo beat a pair of well-known secondary school athletes into second and third place, Isiah Priddey from Hamilton Boys’ High School and James Uhlenberg from Sacred Heart College.
Isiah and James are also both Year 12 runners, and they also came first and third respectively in the Men’s U18 3000m last week in Dunedin.
As well as winning the U18 1500m race, Theo was thrilled his time. “That was a 6-second PB.” he said.
“Leading up to it, I had run a recent 1.55 minute 800m and had run a 1500m at the Auckland Track Challenge but my time wasn’t great as I was really tired, being in the middle of my school camp.”
“I knew I was going to improve on my best time but neither Dad nor I thought I would lower it by 6 seconds.”
How did the race pan out?
“I talked to my dad beforehand about it, and the whole strategy for me was to basically sit around second or third the entire race and when Isaiah accelerated, to hold on to him and hopefully have the legs at the end to kick him.”
“I always knew it was a challenge taking the likes of Isaiah and James down, I was confident that I could do it, so it was great it came together like it did.”
Theo said that for now he’s concentrating on the 800m and the 1500m. “I run a bit of the 3000m as well, but not as much as the likes of Isaiah and James.”
As a Year 11 student, Theo finished fourth in the senior 1500m at last December’s NZSS Track and Field Championships in Timaru.
Theo was one of three Macleans College athletes – all Year 12s - to compete at the National Championships in Dunedin, alongside Flynn Palmer and Kamal Patwalia.
Flynn finished second in the U18 800m, just a nose behind winner Jonno Ansley of Sacred Heart College.
Kharmal finished second in the U18 long jump, to Arnold Fage of Hawera High School in Taranaki.
“I started running at primary school and winning most years until I encountered Flynn and started coming second! It’s really good to have him as we always push each other.”
Naturally, Theo is coached by his father.
“My dad’s my fulltime coach,” Theo explained. “I used to run a lot with him, but he came down with throat cancer so he slowed down for a bit. But now he’s back into it again – instead of running sometimes he bikes along next to me.”
Theo said he also plays rugby, but this year it’s looking like that will take a back seat so he can concentrate on running throughout the winter and do cross country and keep the training up.
The Auckland Regional Secondary School Champions are Theo’s next big meet. They are at Mt Smart on Wednesday 23 March.
Some amazing records ... by some amazing athletes. Victor Vito (Scots) and Nelson Asofa Solomona (Wellington College) pictured, are two of many cross code athletes that have left their mark on this great event. Wellington students will have their chance to break a few on 16th March at Newtown Park.
Junior Girls S Harrison 12.70s Naenae 1978
Junior Boys F Tau 11.84s St Patrick's Town 2012
Int. Girls S Gray 12.48s Naenae 1988
Int. Boys D Falealili 10.97s Scots 1998
Senior Girls K Freakley 11.80s Naenae 1978
Senior Boys D McDonald 11.03s Scots 1994
Junior Girls H Rhoades 26.24s Hutt Valley High 1993
Junior Boys N Smith 24.04s Hutt Valley High 2013
Int. Girls K Wilson 25.52s Hutt Valley High 1988
Int. Boys D Falealili 22.24s Scots 1998
Senior Girls J Coulter 25.10s Marsden Collegiate 1986
Senior Boys M Coad 22.04s St Patrick's Town 1993
Junior Girls C O’Callaghan43.15s Wellington East 2007
Junior Boys F Tau 38.16s St Patrick's Town 2012
Int. Girls K Brewer 58.40s Tawa 1991
Int. Boys P Young 50.76s Wellington College 1992
Senior Girls K Freakley 57.00s Naenae 1977
Senior Boys A Green 49.00s Wellington College 1986
Junior Girls A Roche 2:20.02s Wellington East 2006
Junior Boys M Press 2:07:88s Silverstream 2013
Int. Girls A McKenzie 2:13.30s Hutt Valley High 1980
Int. Boys J Ledger 1:57.85s Hutt International 2013
Senior Girls H Garrett 2:11.80s Upper Hutt 1987
Senior Boys K McDonald 1:55.46s Scots 2011
Senior Girls A Stuart 4:31.30s Aotea 1986
Senior Boys A Leslie 3:58.30s Tawa 1977
Junior Girls K Rae 4:50.40s Wellington East 2015
Junior Boys N Pointon 4.29.28s Scots 2010
Int. Girls A Phipps 4:41.90s Wellington East 1984
Int. Boys N Barrett 4:03.63s Scots 2008
Int. Girls A Gilchrist 10:30.85s Onslow 2014
Int. Boys N Bingham 9:14.91s Scots 2008
Junior Girls P McKnight 10:20.77s Hutt Valley High 2015
Senior Girls M Cleland 9:55.57s Chilton St James 2007
Senior Boys H Carson 8:47.61s Kapiti 2006
Junior Girls 53.10s Wellington East 1980
Junior Boys 46.95s St Patrick's Town 2012
Int. Girls 51.50s Paraparaumu 1980
Int. Boys 44.60s St Patrick's Town 2014
Senior Girls 49.70s Wellington Girls' 1983
Senior Boys 43.63s Wellington College 2007
Int. Boys N Asofa-Solomona 54.80m Wellington College 2011
Int. Girls L Lealai-Solonoa 45.28m St Mary's Wellington 2009
Junior Boys W Rivers 49.00m Tawa 1992
Junior Girls J Akavi 33.20m Bishop Viard 2009
Senior Boys S Sola 54.48m Rongotai 1996
Senior Girls L Lealai-Salanoa 47.98m Porirua 2011
Int. Boys J Roderique 1.90m Onslow 2009
Int. Girls K O’Hagan 1.72m Otaki 2009
Junior Boys H Walker-Tepania 1.80m Aotea 2008
Junior Girls L Garner 1.60m Chilton St James 2010
Senior Boys T Vodanovich 1.98m St Patrick's Town 2012
Senior Girls P Edwards 1.72m Wellington East 2015
Int. Boys A Stowers 56.36m Silverstream 1990
Int. Girls E Fulbrook 41.07m Marsden 2013
Junior Boys C Richard 43.68m Bishop Viard 1987
Junior Girls J Beyler 31.88m Wellington Girls' 1987
Senior Boys A Stowers 64.62m Silverstream 1992
Senior Girls S Samau 27.73m Wainuiomata 2015
Int. Boys J Hutchens 6.57m Scots 2008
Int. Girls H McEwan 5.58m Marsden 2002
Junior Boys M Walker-Tepania 5.97m Aotea 2007
Junior Girls E Eastgate 5.19m Onslow 2008
Senior Boys T Langdon 6.60m Parkway 1977
Senior Girls N Smith 5.63m Wainuiomata 1994
Int. Boys V Vito 16.02m Scots 2003
Int. Girls T Onesemo 12.81m St Mary's Wellington 2014
Junior Boys T Waldrom 14.59m Silverstream 1997
Junior Girls R Toimata 11.47m Wellington Girls' 2014
Senior Boys B Power 18.32m Hutt International 2015
Senior Girls D Oloapu 14.32m Naenae 2015
Int. Boys R Aphane 13.41m Scots 2006
Int. Girls A Thomson 11.18m Aotea 2011
Junior Boys S Paese 11.90m St Patrick's Town 2012
Junior Girls K Rybinski 10.40m Wellington East 2009
Senior Boys V Poutawera 13.69m Newlands 1993
Senior Girls A Thomson 11.83m Aotea College 2013
Scott Gregory was ten years old when he enjoyed golden success at the Colgate games. He attended as a sprinter and won the 100/200m double as well as the long jump.
A chance meeting with Valerie Adams soon changed his direction in athletics.
“I remember meeting her and being awestruck. She was so big! I looked up and had a headache! She was really nice. She called me ‘cowboy’ because I had a silly cowboy hat on,” Gregory recalls.
Sprinting was soon aborted and throwing became the primary focus. Gregory was already throwing the discus, but not with much intent.
Last Saturday at the National Athletics Championships in Dunedin, Gregory won six medals, including four gold medals in throwing events.
The Year 13 at Whangarei Boys’ High School swept the under-18 discus, shot put and hammer and also won the under-20 hammer and collected silver in the discus and bronze in the shot put.
Gregory’s specialist event is the hammer throw. He took it up three years ago on the advice of his coach. In 2014 he broke the intermediate record at the National Secondary Schools Championships and on Saturday won both the under-18 and 20 National titles by more than five-meters.
“The hammer is quite a technical event. It’s harder to control and requires a lot of precision and concentration. I enjoy that challenge.” Gregory says.
Matthew Bloxham is a two-times National open champion. The North Harbour athlete, only a few years Gregory’s senior, has a personal best of 79.74m with a 5kg hammer. Gregory’s best is around 71m. Can Gregory eventually catch Bloxham?
“79 is a big throw, but I think I can do it. There are a lot of things in my technique that need improving and I will get stronger,” Gregory insists.
Work ethic and passion are not in question. Gregory says the most satisfying victory of the four achieved last weekend happened in the under-18 shot put.
“I threw 18.26m which put me in the lead for a while until Ryan Ballantyne threw a 18.99m. My personal best prior to the weekend had been 18.50m. The great thing about the shot put and the discus is that sometimes you can just let it all hang out. On my last throw I got 19.01m. I was bloody thrilled,” Gregory explains.
Ballantyne won the under-20 title throwing a 6kg shot.
In the winter Gregory is determined to make another decent fist of rugby. The first-five/second-five made the First XV last year and cracked the Blues Under-17′s. He is hungry for more success.
“I really enjoyed rugby last year. It’s a big year for the First XV playing in the North Harbour comp. It will be a big step up in terms of competition. I hope we will get more exposure playing on the North Shore. We lose a lot of players to Auckland. Hopefully playing in North Harbour will encourage more to stay.”
National Athletics Championships were held in Dunedin, with a large number of U18 College athletes competing. Thanks to John Caswell for these images ... plenty more from the event via the link below.
John Caswell Images
One of the smallest athletes at the 2016 McEvedy Shield was one of its biggest stars.
Wellington College has retained the McEvedy Shield – winning the famous regional athletics title that also involves Rongotai College, St Pat’s Town and St Pat’s Silverstream for the 50th time.
Year 9 runner Felix Williamson enjoyed runaway wins in both his events, the U14 3000m and the U14 1500m.
He 3000m win was in the very first event of the day, before the majority of Wellington College’s supporters had even arrived at Newtown Park, while his 1500m win later in the day was probably the win that sealed overall victory for his school and was achieved with hundreds of school mates cheering him on in the stand.
The meeting is based on points accrued from each event. A win is worth four points, a second place three points, a third two points and a fourth one point. Wellington College finished with 221 points, ahead of St Pat’s Town on 159 points, St Pat’s Silverstream on 112 and Rongotai on 56.
Felix was pleased with his wins, citing his first as his favourite event of the two. “I prefer the 3000m, I’m more of a longer distance runner than a shorter distance one,” he said.
“Coming into today I thought I was going to do quite well in the 3000m, I wasn’t quite so sure about the 1500m. It’s also quite tiring doing two races that are both long distance.”
Felix said he’s more of a cross country runner than a track one. “I have done a lot of track, but my main area is cross country – I started that in Year 4 and I haven’t really stopped since.”
He plans on taking this year off, however. “I have got a problem with my heels and I just need to give them a rest.”
Felix has Sever’s Disease, or calcaneal apophysitis, which translates as inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. The condition is self-limiting – rest is the best treatment.
But first he’s tackling this weekend’s famous Karapoti Classic mountain bike race near Upper Hutt. “That’s just for fun. I did it two years ago, but didn’t do the full 50km race only the shorter 20km one.”
He lives in Maungaraki in Lower Hutt and has the nearby western hills as his training ground. As well as running and mountain biking, Felix also plays football.
He’ll take the rest of this year off to manage hi heel - but he hopes to be back competing at next year’s McEvedy Shield.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand