Smith leads a group of talented and improving young sprinters

Nick Smith continues to travel at high speed.

Smith, 15, won the junior 100m and 200m titles at the national secondary school championships, at Whanganui in December, and has lowered his best times for both distances this year.

Previously at Hutt Valley High School, Smith has transferred to St Pat’s Silverstream this year and should be among the star turns at next month’s McEvedy Shield meeting.

The year 11 pupil has twice reduced his best time for the 100m since the secondary schools champs. He recorded 11.10sec in late December and 11.05 when fourth in the open 100m at the Capital Classic meeting in Wellington last month.

He ran 11.10 when finishing fourth in the open 100m at the Porritt Classic meeting in Hamilton last weekend and his 11.05 ranks him among the top dozen 100m sprinters, of any age, in New Zealand this year.

He recorded a PB of 22.66 when winning the 200m at the secondary schools championships but has lowered that time twice since. He ran 22.64 at the North Island championships in December and 22.45 when fifth at the Porritt Classic.

However, he is not the only young Wellington sprinter of note.

Yasheek Rosario (St Pat’s Town) was runner-up to Smith in the 100m at the secondary schools nationals and is another making good progress. He ran 11.50 in Whanganui but recorded 11.40 in January and last weekend reduced his PB to 11.37.

In addition, Finn Neely (Hutt Valley) and Ben Murphy (Wellington College) have both run 11.50 this year.

Wellington East athlete Phoebe Edwards, a triple gold medallist at the secondary schools championships, made the qualifying height for the 2015 world youth championships when recording a PB of 1.77 for the high jump at the Cooks Classic at Whanganui last month.

Promising middle distance runners Alisha Gilchrist (Onslow) and Izzy Hegan (Wellington Girls) have also been in solid form.

Gilchrist, 16, ran a PB of 10:15.63 when third in the national under-20 3000m and significantly improved her 1500m PB, to 4:40, when winning the junior 1500m at the Capital Classic.

Gilchrist, a year 12 student, will be focusing on the 3000m this year and aims to reduce her PB to 10:10.

Hegan, the winner of the junior 800m title at the secondary schools championships, recorded an impressive PB for the distance of 2:11.91 at Hastings last month.

Scots College had three runners in the top 10, in a field of 30, in the Dick Quax 1500m at the Porritt Classic. James Preston was fourth, Tom Caughley seventh and Callum Stewart ninth.