HVHS sprinter Nick Smith hitting his stride after another national title win
March 30, 2017
Few events get spectators off their seats like the 100 metres, and one Wellington sprinter has everyone standing to take note.
Hutt Valley High School year 13 Nick Smith came through injury woes and illness to clinch the tightly contested under-20 100m final in 11.13 seconds at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships last weekend.
It was an impressive result for Smith, 17, who went up from the U18 to U20 division for the Hamilton meet. He was a close second in the 200 metre, just behind Tasman’s Bailey Cotton.
“It was good to manage to get a gold. The weekend on the whole wasn’t entirely positive but I’m improving. Those times are better than what I ran at Hutt Zones two weeks ago so I’m hoping to keep improving on those times,” Smith said.
In 2015, a hamstring injury put on hold Smith’s chance of becoming New Zealand’s fastest schoolboy, but it was second time lucky as he won the New Zealand Secondary Schools 100 and 200-metre double in December last year.
Smith went into the Potts Track and Field Classic with renewed confidence in January and finished third in the men’s open 100m and 200m, running a personal best of 21.80 in the 200m.
Coach Rod Plimmer attributes Smith’s success to his discipline, commitment and dedication to training.
“Obviously he has natural talent but you have to work hard to hone that natural talent. He’s been focused for the last two or three years and that dedication comes through in his results.
“Consistency breeds success; his dedication to the sport, staying focused, setting his goals and then focusing on realising those goals, and he can achieve what he wants to achieve.”
Plimmer said the recent incorporation of weight training and the addition of a conditioning coach has allowed Smith to steadily see his times reduce without burning out.
Smith: “I’d rather improve over time than go hard when I’m young for a few years and then quit.”
With little time to celebrate his national title, Smith now turns his attention to the Australian Athletics Championships on March 26, and then hopes to peak at the US nationals in two weeks.
Smith will be hoping to catch the eye of talent scouts at the Arcadia, Bryan Clay and Triton meets in California. A repeat of his personal bests would see him seeded in the top races.
“I’ve got some people helping me with a scholarship and hopefully in the not too distant future I will have some idea of the places I can go.”
Smith has his sights set on a US education and clear goals in mind on and off the track.
“I have no intention of quitting [running] after university, and I want to take it as far as I can go. I want to study banking and maybe some law. I wouldn’t mind going to Wall Street, making some dosh there.”
Smith said if he hadn’t started winning races he would never have considered starting athletics.
“In year seven I got fourth on school athletics day and in year eight I won by about as much as I lost by, which was quite a bit. From then I joined the athletics club and I kept winning.”