Isaiah Priddey from Hamilton Boys’ High School was the most dominant track athlete at the National Secondary Schools’ Track and Field championships in Timaru.
He won the junior 3000m and later broke Daniel Hoy’s 2013 record in the 1500m. Priddey ran 3:57.19 which was 10 seconds faster than his nearest rival Max Spencer from Rathkeale College and eight seconds quicker than the senior winner, Guy Kilmister from Auckland Grammar School. Earlier in the year Priddey won the national junior cross country title.
His rapid times have caught the attention of Nick Willis who has a message for Priddey.
“It’s great to see you running so well at such a young age mate. Hope you enjoy all the sport has to offer and don’t put too much pressure on yourself too soon. I’m still improving at age 32, and still having fun!”
On January 20, 2001, Willis ran the mile in a schoolboy record time of 4 minutes 1.33 seconds. That time is potentially reachable for Priddey when he is a Year 13 in two years time if he follows the progression of Wills and gets faster.
Despite such a commanding victory Priddey ran with the strain of a headache and backed up from the 3000m a day earlier.
“I was unsure how the 1500m would go because of the 3000m the day before. I was happy my training partners Sam Montgomerie and Connor Tristram both made the 1500m final because I could work off them,” Priddey concedes.
Priddey had a simple strategy.
“My strategy was to get out in front and push hard. I started a lot faster than usual. I think the hype of the event sort of impairs judgement. I wanted to start quickly, but I went out a bit too hard. It’s lucky I still had some petrol left in the tank,” Priddey reflects.
Priddey previously ran under four minutes at an Auckland club night, but there wasn’t any indication he would repeat that effort leading into Nationals. Since winning the National Cross Country title in June times have been tough for Priddey.
“There weren’t too many highlights after Cross Country Nationals. At the National Club Cross Country champs in Christchurch I ran a disappointing race and the same thing happened at the Australian Junior champs,” Priddey admits.
The 3000m was a grueling race. Nick Moulai from St. Bede’s College had run a time of 8:40 and was a major threat for the title. Priddey describes the North Island versus South Island tussle.
“My strategy was to sit on him for as long as I could and with the improved speed I have been working on, try to come home faster than him. It was a slow, hard race, but I passed Nick with about 450 metres to go so I had a long way to sprint which took its toll after the race,” he says.
For the remainder of the season Priddey hopes to run faster times, all working towards the ISF World Cross Country Championships in April.
Note: Daniel Hoy from Westlake BHS won a silver medal at the Junior Olympics in the triathlon last year.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand