JACK Lynch has already exceeded his own expectations and he believes that relives some of the pressure next week's Australian All Schools Athletics Championships campaign in Perth.
Lynch was chasing at least a runner-up finish at September's NSW All Schools in the 400 metres in order to qualify for the national edition but he went one spot better, giving him a major confidence boost for his first crack at the Australian level.
"I got third last year and obviously the next best thing for me would to try and be first or second this year, but I wasn't expecting to win it," he said.
"The competition there is really good and I knew all the boys who were running in it. Now I'm off to nationals and keen to see how I go there."
Given the way he brought down the competition at state level Lynch has to feel positive about his chances on the next stage.
He was the only runner to break the 50-second barrier in the NSW All Schools 400m under 17s heats, with a time of 49.80.
Lynch then bettered that mark considerably with his mark of 49.08 putting him nearly a second ahead of his nearest rival.
But with this being his first look at a national-level athletics event Lynch is setting himself any lofty goals, just maintaining his focus on a new personal best.
"I've changed the way I've trained a little bit. Running a low 48 or even a high 47 at nationals would be great, even just making the final would be great," he said.
"My personal best is a 49.08 but I got that time down from a low 50 at All Schools so we'll see if the training has paid off.
"I'm not expecting to get on the podium but regardless of how I go I know that I've put in the work at training so it's a good opportunity to see how I against the best in Australia."
Keep up to date with the latest sports news by clicking here.
The Saint Stanislaus' College student has been working hard to improve even further since the NSW All Schools tilt.
While he's displayed talent across a range of sports Lynch has honed in on athletics and benefited from the decision.
"Rugby took a bit of a back seat last and athletics has taken over, but that's a good thing," he said.
"As you get older you want to narrow down what sports you do and focus on having the one sport you can do well in.
"I enjoy the 100m and 200m but the 400m is what I put the most work into, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Lynch finds himself in rare company as a sub-50 under 17s runner over the 400 metres.
Only a handful of runners have reached that milestone across all other states' All Schools events, even in the older under 18s divisions, and only one other runner across the country has bettered Lynch's 49.08 gold medal time from NSW All Schools.
Lynch's NSW All Schools golf has also booked him a place in April's Australian Junior Championships.
The Australian All School Athletics Championships begin in Mount Claremont on Friday December 6.