Ryan Ballantyne lit up the early action in the final day of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Track, Field & Road Race Championships by obliterating his PB and recording a world leading under-18 mark to claim a decisive victory in the senior boys' shot put final.
The St Paul’s Collegiate student launched the 5kg out to a monster 21.66m in round two – 15cm further than previous world leader Odisseas Mouzenidis of Greece – to retain the title he won in Timaru 12 months ago.
It was a hugely impressive performance from Ballantyne, who was both relieved and elated with his performance.
"We always say to set no limitations and try to aim high," adds the 2015 New Zealand World Youth Championship representative.
"This has been a long time coming, but I probably had the best preparation leading in to it. It was well planned by my strength and conditioning coach (Michiel Badenhorst) and the cycle was planned perfectly and I was also mentally the best I'd ever felt."
In the New Year, Ballantyne plans to move down to Christchurch to be closer to his coach Dale Stevenson, the Athletics NZ High Performance Throws Co-ordinator, and to train alongside Olympic bronze medallist Tom Walsh – whose best ever throw with the 5kg implement as a junior was 20.21m.
"To be the best, you've got to learn from the best," he says of the impending move.
Meanwhile rising pole vault star Olivia McTaggart did not quite touch the heights of her world leading mark for a 16-year-old of 4.30m set in Auckland last weekend.
The Kristin School student still managed to successfully defend her title with a second attempt clearance at 4.10m.
McTaggart’s mark matched the championship records set by her training partner and Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney.
Another eye-catching performance on yesterday’s programme came in the girls 3000m junior final as Hannah O'Connor claimed back-to-back titles. The 15-year-old Sacred Heart Girls' College (New Plymouth) student destroyed Tracey Kennedy’s 32-year-old championship record mark by more than 14 seconds to stop the clock in 9:32.89.