“It’s always come down to the last straight. It’s rare I get out kicked, but that was happening earlier in the year so I had to address my speed. ”Isaiah Priddey explains of his build up to the National Secondary School Track and Field Championships in Hastings.
In 2015 Hamilton Boys’ High School’s Priddey completed the National junior 1500m-3000m double, but last year he only had one silver medal to show for his toil.
Priddey resolved he would have to get quicker.
“I always have good strength at the start of the summer because of cross country, but I knew if I was going to have a good Nationals, I would have to target the 1500m because the field was really strong,” Priddey reveals.
On Saturday, Priddey won the 3000m in 8:40.12, four seconds ahead of Joseph Clark from Westlake Boys’ High School. Priddey seized the lead with 300m left and was never passed.
By Sunday, Priddey had already run 7.5km and was hoping for a slow 1500m final.
“The slower the race, the better for me. I had covered a lot of track and I knew if I could hold my nerve my improved speed would help at the end,” Priddey admits.
A blustery warm wind kept the speed in check and the real action only start about 300m shy of the finish. Priddey captures the drama.
“When the bell went for the last lap Sam Tanner [Bethlehem College] was the first runner to increase the pace and jump to the front. I tried to stay with him, but I didn't want to push it.
“With about 200m to go Tanner accelerated again and I told myself to be patient. By this point Theo Quax [Macleans College] had come up alongside me so I ventured out wider to make it harder for him to pass me. I didn’t want to try and pass either Tanner or Quax on the bend so with about 100m to go was when I put my foot down.”
Priddey won in 4:03.89 over Sam Tanner and Nick Moulai [St Bede’s College] who threw himself at the finish line to shut Theo Quax out of a medal.
Priddey’s win was welcome news at Hamilton Boys’ who recently lost long serving teacher Graham Robinson to a sudden heart attack.
“That was unexpected. He was a big part of the school and a good teacher. In Year 9 I was scared of him because he was the discipline guy, but once you got to know him he lightened up and was a good man.”
In August, 2018, Priddey will start a full scholarship at Oklahoma State University.
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