He shuffled uneasily, stealing tentative glances from the corner of his eye at the tools of the media trade in anticipation of facing it at the first turn of the all-weather track in Hastings.
Edward Osea-Nketia had cut a forlorn picture after finishing second in the glamour 100m sprint at the 21st edition of the annual Allan and Sylvia Potts Memorial Classic on Saturday.
It didn't help Osea-Nketia's cause that his time wasn't available after North Harbour Bays club mate Hamish Gill had upstaged him on a wind-assisted time of 10.40s, by 0.1s on account of a late surge to the line. Cody Wilson (Mana Amateur Athletics Club) was third in 10.66s.
Touted as a Tokyo Olympics prospect, Osea-Nketia stared at the ground before walking away to seek shelter 20m away on a bench under the marquee of Olympian Tom Walsh and his fellow shot putters.
It was ironic that Olympic qualifier Dame Valerie Adams, before him, and already qualified Walsh, after him, had fronted the media with an air of confidence, punctuated by repartee reserved for guest speakers at a soiree.
Adams had come complete with a manager but it was painfully obvious Osea-Nketia desperately needed a minder or anyone who could simply give him a back-slapping bear hug and perhaps a shoulder to cry on, if he so desired.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist and four-time world champion shot putter Adams is 35 years old. Rio bronze medallist and multiple indoor/outdoor world champion male counterpart Walsh is 27.
It's so easy to forget that Osea-Nketia is only 18. He walks in the well-spiked footsteps of Ghanaian-born dual international father Gus Nketia who holds the New Zealand men's record of 10.11s and now lives in Canberra.
Coming across in the mould of a man, it's also easy to overlook that underneath that chiselled chassis is a young engine that requires breaking gently before it is put through the high-octane lanes of enormous expectations to be the fastest bloke on the planet.
When the news finally trickled down of Osea-Nketia's time, the softly spoken teenager revealed he was happy with his build up to the Potts Classic. The more sensitive TV microphones might have picked it up but it's difficult to find a coherent quote or two.
The media was kind in cajoling answers to find rhyme and reason on why his dash had gone flat. Osea-Nketia was glib in his responses, saying he was pretty much heading back to the drawing board to train harder.
Avoiding eye contact for the best part, Osea-Nketia said he was grappling with his share of expectation demons. Only father time will tell how well and smartly he'll recover without falling out of love with sport.
Rugby scouts have zeroed in on his potential to become an All Black and his New Zealand athletics mentor, Gary Henley-Smith, in Wellington, puts him in a category of a "super athlete" who can perform in myriad codes.
Henley-Smith, a former national sprinter, coaches Osea-Nketia in New Zealand while the sprinter's father takes over at the Aussie meetings.
Asked how hard it was for athletes to put expectations and pressure on a leash, Walsh said amid hollow laughter: "I think some guys do well and some guys don't do well so you've got to figure out ways that work for you.
"What works for me [doesn't] work for Eddie; what works for Val doesn't work for me and so forth," he explained. "It just takes time."
Walsh said he had "bummed out" at the world juniors so he had figured out early that mental skills were imperative and that's why he had that fortitude at the higher echelons now.
"Eddie wants to be the fastest man in the world and Eddie's doing one hell of a good job of that," he said. "The pressures that he has are very different to what I had so you've just got to listen to the people you respect and [who] mean something to you."
Walsh said it was a futile exercise to "listen to all the white noise".
"You can't listen to every Joe Bloggs who says, you know, 'I used to be a 100m sprinter and this is what you should be doing' and all this kind of stuff so you then just don't know where to go."
Consequently the world-class shot putter from Canterbury said he was selective about who he sought advice from and acted on.
"If they tell me I'm a dick, I'm probably being a dick," he said with a laugh.
Wilson won the 200m men's race on a time of 21.43s.
Zoe Hobbs (north Harbour Bays) established her status as the fastest woman in the country when she won the women's 100m final in 11.38s, 0.01s off her personal best established at the Potts Classic last year. Georgia Hulls, of Athletics Hastings, was runner-up in 11.74s and Rosie Elliott (Hill-City University) was third in 11.76s.
Katherine Camp claimed the Sylvia Potts Classic 800m crown in 2m 06.87s with Olympian and multiple winner Angie Petty (nee Smit) not competing here.
Michael Dawson (Wesley Athletic & Harrier Club) won the Allan Potts men's equivalent in 1:52.65.