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She’s only been at ACG Parnell College for a few months, but Talia Van Rooyen is already making her mark.
Recently named ACG Parnell College’s Year 10 Athletics Champion, the talented teen has a string of top placings under her belt, including gold medal finishes in the 100 metres sprint and the 80 metres hurdles at the College Sport Athletic Championships.
Add to this her achievements at last month’s North Island Secondary School Championships, where she won the 80 metres hurdles and the 100 metres team relay and placed third in the individual 100 metres, and there’s no mistaking the abilities of this superstar athlete.
“I’ve been competing for around three years, and for the last couple of years have been focussing on three specific events – the 100m, 200m and 80m hurdles,” says Talia, who moved to ACG Parnell College from Westlake Girls High School at the start of this year.
“I used to play hockey and touch rugby, but then I decided to put all my efforts into athletics.”
It’s clearly paying off. At just 14 years of age, Talia was selected for the Auckland Under 18 team to compete at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships. And although this year’s Auckland lockdown has postponed that opportunity, she says it was still a thrill to be picked.
“I was very happy finding out I’d been selected to run alongside some of Auckland’s fastest runners. That was very rewarding.”
But Talia’s proudest athletic accomplishment so far is her result at the 2021 North Island Colgate Games. In addition to winning the 100 meters, 200 meters and 80 metres hurdles, her outstanding efforts were also recognised with a highly acclaimed scholarship.
“I won a Nick Willis Scholarship, which is awarded to the top four athletes in the North Island for their achievements at the competition.”
The prestigious scholarship (named after Colgate Games alumnus Nick Willis) aims to support young athletes to realise their sporting goals.
And what are Talia’s goals? “My short term goal is breaking the Junior 100m record, and in the long term, I’d like to represent New Zealand further.”
With her sights firmly set on success on the track, Talia has plenty to train for in the high-octane world of sprint racing.
“I love athletics. I probably sound like a bit of an adrenalin junky, but I just love the feeling of being on the track and getting nervous for the couple of seconds that I’ll be running.”