Their thoughts may have been dominated by other matters but the young Wanganui athletes still had plenty to take away from the second round of the Regional Athletic League.
Hosted by Athletics Wanganui at Cook Gardens on Saturday, over 15 clubs including a large Wellington contingent sent competitors to the popular league event, which will continue in January in other centres.
Organiser Alec McNab said the competition had a "frenetic" nature, given many of the teenagers had their minds on upcoming school exams.
Collegiate's standout William Cowper, 18, said getting to take on athletes from all corners was the key to improvement.
When talking to the Chronicle he had just finished second in the long jump, with his 6.57m effort not far off his 6.64m personal best.
"There's quite a few people Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North."
His immediate focus was the New Zealand Secondary Schools championships, being held in Dunedin in early December, before resuming the league in January.
Sarah McDonald, aged 17, whowas second in high jump, was hunting personal bests in both that event and the 400m. She said it was a matter of "practising, getting better at what you do".