Siena blitzes field

Wakatipu High athlete Siena Mackley’s produced another head-turning performance, just over six months since her last one.

The 15-year-old’s just won the under-18 women’s 3000m title at the New Zealand track and field champs in Wellington, beating athletes up to two years her senior.

Last August, still only 14, she won the U20 women’s division of the NZ mountain running champs on Queenstown’s Deer Park Heights.

On March 2, Siena maintained a consistent pace behind the race leaders for six of the seven-and-a-half laps, then put in an astonishing turn of speed over the last 400m to win by an impressive six seconds.

Her time of 10 minutes 06 seconds carved a huge 17 seconds off her previous best and shattered many provincial age-group records.

Siena’s Queenstown Athletic Club coach, Neville Britton, says he’s not surprised by her meteoric rise.

‘‘She is a very level-headed athlete with a huge work ethic and commitment to excellence.

‘‘Her willingness to put the hours of training in every week, year-round, is a key part of her success story.’’

He says while she’s had previous success off the track with cross country and mountain running, her summer training at the Events Centre’s been focused on speed work, which has brought out an ability for her to change gear while fatigued.

‘‘Siena has the ability to push herself to near her limits, yet she’s intelligent enough to know her limitations.’’

With three more weeks of the track season remaining, and provincial and South Island secondary school champs left, Britton believes there may even be more room for improvement before Siena switches to the cross country season.

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