Max Spencer receiving his Sportsperson of the Year award from Prue Hamill of Harcourts. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Winning awards was never the main goal for Wairarapa’s secondary schools Sportsperson of the Year, but he sure is making a habit of it.

Rathkeale College Year 12 athlete Max Spencer won the Sportsman of the Year and overall Sportsperson of the Year awards for the second consecutive year, at the Wairarapa secondary school sports awards on Thursday night.

Spencer is the current Wellington Junior Athlete and Cross-Country Athlete of the Year, and has enjoyed another stellar year in 2017.

He said it was a humbling experience to claim the Wairarapa awards again, and paid tribute to the other athletes nominated in the different categories.

“It’s great to receive accolades for all the running and things I do.

“I feel like the most important thing I take out of it is that I represent all the other athletes out there who put in the hard work and the hours.”

This year Spencer was picked in Athletics Wellington’s development high performance squad over 800m and 400m.

He was third in the senior boys 800m at the New Zealand schools track and field championships last December and third in the open men’s 800m at the Porritt Classic.

At the Capital Classic he was again third in the open men’s 800m and in the Potts Classic he was second in the open men’s 400m.

Spencer represented New Zealand at the Australian championships this year, just missing out on making the under-18 800m boys 800m final.

The awards and accolades were recognition of the processes he had implemented to achieve his goals, he said.

“As much as it’s great to have my name engraved on the plaques, it’s not really about receiving the award.

“As an athlete I like to focus on growth rather than winning the title, and winning comes with that focus.”

Spencer said his performances at the New Zealand schools track and field championships was a highlight, as he managed to run the 800m in under 1min 57secs twice.

He has set himself a goal of making it to the World Under-20 Championships in Finland next year, but before that will be aiming for another memorable performance at this year’s New Zealand championships in December.

“I’ll be running the 800m, and I’ll probably be looking at a 1min 53secs for the time there.

“If a medal comes along with that I’ll happily accept it, but the goal is just to improve my time.”

It was important to think about how that could be achieved, rather than whether or not he would win a medal, he said.

“If you set your eyes just on the prize, I don’t think you’re in the sport for the right reasons.

“My morals are around growth and running a faster time than I ever have before.”

Spencer will return to Rathkeale as a Year 13 next year, and a hat-trick of major awards could be on the cards if he produces another successful season.