Amanda Still Races to NZ Junior Ranks

After quietly working under the radar, Athletics Whangarei's Amanda Still's efforts have paid dividends at the North Island Secondary Schools Championships.

The modest 13-year-old Whangarei Girls' High School student was a standout performer in a talented contingent of 10 students from four Northland secondary schools, who contested the recent Tauranga-based championships.

Against some of New Zealand's finest junior female 800m and 1500m runners, Still won silver in the 800m, running a personal best of two minutes 18.44 seconds, carving 6 seconds off her previous best, and setting a G13 and G14 Athletics Northland record (awaiting ratification) in the process.

Still took bronze in the 1500m, which was another Northland G13 and G14 record (awaiting ratification), and another PB by 5 seconds.

Still's coach Ian Babe said her 1500m was a particularly fine back-up performance, following her tough 800m heat and final efforts the day before.

"The first placegetter in the 1500m did not run the 800m the day before. Prior to the 1500m we were made aware of this, and that two very good athletes were going to try and break the NZ junior 1500m record - a bit out of reach for Amanda at this stage, so we settled to have a crack at the second group that would develop in the race and go for the bronze. Amanda carried out this tactic really well, finishing well ahead of the chasing group in third place," Babe said.

In both the 800m and 1500m, Still gained a place on the national under-17 year Athletics NZ ranking list.

Still's performance came after a challenging period of seven weeks of restricted specific training due to an ongoing foot problem.

"During this period she showed outstanding tenacity as she worked through her outside-the-square programme, water running and restricted land and track time," Babe said.

- Michelle Curran. The Northern Advocate | Thursday, April 5, 2012 9:29