After starting as a cross country specialist, Wakatipu High Year 11 student James Weber’s ended his first season on the track with two South Island titles.

The 15-year-old bagged both the under-16 boys’ 3000 metres and 1500m titles on consecutive days at the recent South Island secondary schools athletics champs in Timaru, with respective times of 9min 20sec and 4:13.

In each race he sat patiently before unleashing his devastating sprint finish.

‘‘He’s got a massive engine,’’ his local coach Neville Britton — who’s built quite a stable of distance runners — says.

‘‘He’s a humble, quiet achiever with a huge future, but he can kick like an angry mule.

‘‘To be able to turn on a finish like that [in the 3000m] after turning up the screws over seven laps is quite a talent.’’

James, who’s been inspired by many other Wakatipu High athletes, both past and present, first came to prominence after he was seventh year 9 boy at the New Zealand secondary schools cross country champs two years ago.

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