Personal Bests Galore for Academy Athletes at South Island Schools Championships

The “PR – orama,” as National Academy of Distance Running Coach Greg Lautenslager called it, started and ended with Fletcher Pickworth at the weekend’s South Island Secondary Schools Athletics Championships at the Saxton Field Athletics Track.
The Academy star runner exploded on the final lap of the Under 19 Boys 3,000m to take home the S.I. title in a personal record 8;49.81.  Pickworth’s final lap of 61 seconds would be his slowest lap of the meet.  In the next day’s 1,500m he passed surprising Academy runner George Varney on the final backstretch and then easily held off a Canterbury runner on the homestretch for a 58-second closer and a time of 4:09.47.
Pickworth was far from done. His leg on Motueka High School 4 x 100m relay was merely a tune-up to his glorious anchor leg on Mot High’s 4 x 400m relay.
Pickworth took the baton in third place and quickly garnered the lead from the Christ’s College runner around the first turn. He flew down the backstretch and final turn, bursting away from his pursuer with a 50.25 final leg. He was immediately hoisted into the air by his schoolmates.
Only more massive was the flood of PRs between Pickworth’s jaunts. Sixteen of the 18 Academy athletes set a personal best. Let’s take them in alphabetical order:
Fenlon Bayley, 2:16.67 in U14 boys 800m and 4:34.48 in 1500
Matt Bowen,  4:27 in U15 boys 1,500m and 9:30.55 in 3,000m
Josh Gill, 4:34.86 in U15 boys 1,500m and 9:52.96 in 3,000
Lucy Harman, 2:17.30 in U16 girls 800m
Bo Hill, 4:47 in U14 boys 1,500m
Hannah Mangnall, 2:31.39 in U15 girls 800m and 5:12.59 in 1,500m
Janek Manderson, 9:56.77 in U15 3,000m
Lucy Martin 2:20.47 in girls U15 800m and 5:00.30 in 1,500m
Ryan Martyn, 2:16.16 in U15 800m.
Fletcher Pickworth, 8:49.81 in U19 boys 3,000m
Jacob Neal, 2:06.19 in U15 boys 800m and 4:19.43 in 1500m
Josh Sheridan, 9:34.54 in U19 boys 3,000m
Heidi Stephens, 2:28.82 in U14 girls 800m and 5:09.88 in 1,500m
Sophie Thomas, 2:30.36 in U15 girls 800m and 5:12.81 in 1,500m
Will Trott, 2:07.57 in the U16 800m and 4:28.02 in 1,500m
George Varney, 4:15.12 in U19 boys 1,500m
That’s a total of 25 personal bests. The Academy also had wins from Pickworth, Jacob Neal in the U15 boys 800m, and Lucy Martin in the U15 girls 1500m and runner up finishes from Neal (1,500m), Martin (800m), Matt Bowen (3,000m) and Lucy Harman (U16 Girls 800m and 1,500m).
Martin may have recorded the most impressive PR, knocking eight seconds off her 800m personal best.
But others, also were amazing:
Thomas cut 19 seconds and Mangnall 16 seconds off their 1,500m PBs. Sheridan knocked off 22 seconds, Manderson 20 seconds, and Josh Gill 26 seconds off their 3,000m times. Bayley went four seconds better for 800m and 14 seconds faster for 1,500. Trott broke his 800m PB by six seconds.
Coach Lautenslager said the PR-arama bodes well for the future of the Academy, which will start training for the cross country season in two weeks.