Sammy stoked with podium

Swift: Sammy Fookes competes in the NZ Secondary Schools Cross Country PICTURE: LOUIS CONWAY

It’s been a rapid rise for a Wakatipu High School teen runner, who claimed a podium finish at her first national competition.

Samantha Fookes, 14, took out third place in the Year 9 female category at last weekend’s New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country champs in Timaru.

Having only been running competitively for about seven months, Sammy says she’s “stoked” with placing at her first big event.

“I was definitely nervous going into it,” she says.

“I knew who I had to beat, I thought top-10 might be realistic but I didn’t think top-three.”

She was pretty happy with the course, too.

“I’m not good over hills, but it was quite a slack course.”

Sammy trains six times a week with her coach, Neville Britton, and does intervals and long runs as well.

“Sometimes I’m pretty knackered at school,” she laughs.

But the self-confessed competitive teen says she loves it.

“I love that feeling of doing well after working hard.”

There are no big comps on her radar just yet, and she says she’s going to “see what turns up”.