Whakatane’s Trident High school is one of a number of schools entering students in this weekend’s New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports (NZSS) Multisport Championships, as part of the Thermatech 3D Rotorua Multisport Festival.
The NZSS championships are being held as part of the 25 km Grassroots Multisport Challenge, held in conjunction with several other events including the feature 50 km New Zealand multisport open championship race.
The 25 km race includes a one-lap paddle (4.5 km) of the Blue Lake followed by a 15 km mountain bike ride straight up hill into Whakarewarewa Forest and then a 5.5 km trail run through nearby Redwoods Forest to the finish.
There are six secondary schools titles up for grabs, these being: Junior Boys and Girls (U14), Intermediate Boys and Girls (U16) and Senior Boys and Girls (U19).
Participants in the race have confirmed their entry from a wide range of North Island secondary schools - including some 15 entrants from Trident High School.
Last year Trident High School students enjoyed individual success in this corresponding event that was held in Cromwell in the South Island.
“We ended up with three national titles from last year’s NZSS multisport event in Cromwell,” said Trident High School Sports Co-ordinator Helen Dobbin. “We won the senior boys, the senior girls and the junior boys races.”
“Multisport had been big at our school for a while now. There was a small multisport team when I first came on board 10 years ago and now multisport and adventure racing are really popular.”
“We opted not to go to the recent NZSS Adventure Racing Championships because it was in the middle of the school holidays, but we have just had a team that came fourth at the Hillary Challenge.”
The 15th annual Hillary Challenge, held at the Tongariro National Park last week, was won by Thames High School, ahead of the combined New Plymouth Boys/Girls High School team in second, the combined Whangarei Boys/Girls High School team in third and Trident High School in fourth.
Twelve mixed boys and girls teams took part, including the 2014 Australian champions St Leonard’s College, Melbourne.
Helen said that the Trident High School students enter as many multisports and adventure racing events as they can. “They then do Get2Go, which is the junior version of the Hillary Challenge – which Trident won last year - and then the Hillary Challenge.”
Last year’s senior boys winner at Cromwell, Hayden Wilde, is already thinking big in his chosen sport.
This weekend Year 13 student Hayden is travelling with the Trident team to Rotorua, but he’s forgone the chance to defend his national secondary schools title and has entered in the Premier 50 km event.
“This weekend he’s testing himself against the big guns of multisport such as [former Onslow College, Wellington student] Richard Ussher and [recent cross-town Whakatane High School student] Sam Clark – he’s going to see how he goes against the top multisporters in New Zealand.”
Ussher is a five-time Coast-to-Coast champion and is now the race director, while Clark finished second in the Coast-to-Coast earlier this year.
“Hayden has come through the ranks and he has decided that multisport in his sport. Recently there was a big multisport festival called the Waihi Golden Nugget and Hayden, as a 17-year old, won it outright.”
As well as Hayden in the feature 50 km race, Helen said that Trident High School will have a few boys in the mix but added that the nature of the sport makes it open and really competitive. “You just don’t know how the competitors from other schools will go.
“I’ve got two girls, Kaitlin Blackwood and Bernadette Prout, who will be in the Intermediate Girls division who are just amazing runners and adventure runners and have been in a few adventure race teams already.
“It’s an exciting sport for our students, but the logistics of it can be full on, but the school’s really supportive. We have every vessel you can imagine up the river – but it’s fantastic to see everyone involved.”
There’s no shortage of role models in the Eastern Bay of Plenty for these young athletes.
“We seem to produce some really good athletes, like kayaker Lisa Carrington and mountain biker Karen Hanlen – and when you put it all together you’ve got multisport.”
The Trident High School team traveling to Rotorua this weekend this weekend is:
Senior Boys: Dean Morgan, Jake Smith, Robert Lengkeek, Senior Girls: Tiahna Braithwaite Intermediate boys: Alex Coventry, Oliver Thompson, Oliver Dobbin, Jack Du Toit, Tim Olthuis Intermediate Girls: Kaitlin Blackwood, Bernadette Prout, Renae Morgan Junior Boys: Regan Wilson, Hunter Billings and Keeley MCChesney and Hayden Wilde in the Open 50km race. Also - Rik Olthuis (half marathon)
Year 12 Aotea College golfer Daniel Hillier is the 2015 New Zealand Amateur Men’s golf champion.
Sixteen year old Daniel won the tournament at the famous Titirangi course in Auckland last month, beating St Peter’s College, Cambridge 17-year old Sam Vincent in the matchplay final to take the title. With a combined aged of 33, Daniel and Sam both have bright futures.
Both golfers have both been selected to represent New Zealand at the Toyota World Junior Teams Championship in Japan between 16-18 June.
College Sport Media caught up with Daniel for a chat this week about his golfing success.
College Sport Media: How old were you when you took the game up?
Daniel Hillier: Ever since I could walk I’ve been hitting practice golf clubs around the house. When my dad used to go out and play club cricket he used to take me down with him and I’d have a plastic golf set that I’d be whacking around the boundary. The first time I went on to a golf course was the day before I turned five.
CSM: What’s your practice routine leading up to a tournament?
DH: If I have a tournament I’m preparing for I’ll spent about 30 hours on the golf course the week leading up to it, mainly working on my short game. So I’m not tiring myself out too much. Then as I get further away from any tournaments I start working more on my long game just to sharpen that up. During the summer, I typically spend two-three hours on the course after school, then I come home and I have golf related exercises to do as well.
CSM: Do you play other sports, or are you a fulltime golfer now?
DH: I used to play football and cricket for Aotea College, and I was a Wellington age-grade cricket representative as well. But unfortunately I had to stop playing those sports due to a labral tear on my left hip. I went to a specialist and he said that I could either get surgery to change the whole structure of my hip or I could give football an cricket up and just focus on my golf – so that pretty much made my decision for me that golf was my sport.
CSM: It paid off for you when you won the New Zealand Amateur tournament!
DH: Yes, that was special that week, especially since my Manor Park Golf Club clubmate Julianne Alvarez also won the women’s section. We both share the same coach, Kevin Smith, so I’m really grateful for his help.
CSM: Was that the first time you had played at that golf course?
DH: Yes, I had never played there before so I was pretty surprised at how well I did!
CSM: The tournament consisted of two qualifying rounds of strokeplay and then top 32 were then entered into the matchplay draw. What were some of the highlights?
DH: I think I qualified about 20th. I played James Eng from Auckland first, then Ryan Chisnall from Tasman in the second round. Ryan was in good form leading up to that, so I went out thinking I have nothing to lose and whatever happens, happens and I managed to birdie the last four holes to beat him on the last hole. I then beat Australian Austin Bautista, who is apparently turning professional at the end of this year. That took me to the semi-final against Josh Munn, who is seeded number one in New Zealand at the moment. Defeating Josh took me into the final against Sam Vincent, who beat me at the inter-provincials at Hamilton last December and so I thought right I am not letting that happen again and I managed to beat him 6 and 5!
CSM: Prior to that you finished third in a tournament in Australia?
DH: Yes, the week before I managed to finish third at the Australian Boys’ Amateur tournament in Adelaide - so that was a good couple of weeks for me. The Kooyonga course there was a nice golf course, similar to Titirangi.
CSM: If you could jump on a plane tomorrow and play any course in the world where would you go?
DH: There’s a lot of awesome courses around the world! But I’d say Augusta or St Andrew’s would be two of the golf courses that I’d to play.
CSM: Your dream is to be a touring golfer – have you met any professional golfers and what advice have they given you?
DH: Yes that’s definitely my goal. We had a New Zealand Development camp in Cambridge last July and we had Mark Brown come in and have a really positive chat to us about what being a professional is like and how we can go about achieving our goal.
CSM: Who’s your favourite golfer?
DH: I would have to say [recent US Masters winner] Jordan Spieth, he’s been on fire lately. All parts of his game are just immaculate at the moment.
CSM: Have you have hit a hole in one?
DH: Yes, I played in a Halberg Charity Day tournament at Paraparaumu and I was playing with National Eagles Secretary, the National Eagles President and the Wellington Eagles President and on the second hole of the day I managed to put a 6-iron in the bottom of the cup!
CSM: What’s the lowest score you have ever shot in a tournament round?
DH: In a tournament round I have shot 7 under – that was at the Royal Wellington course at the College Sport Wellington tournament last year.
CSM: After you return from Japan in June you’ll be preparing for some tournaments near home?
DH: Yes, after Japan I will have a short break before the Wellington representative matches begin around August and carry on through to December. I will also be preparing for the New Zealan U19s at Shandon Golf Club [in Petone] in September. So with this tournament being held at a local golf club it will be a good opportunity for me to try and win another national title.
Katherine Badham is a Year 12 student at Takapuna Grammar School in Auckland. She is one of New Zealand's most promising junior triathlete's. Next month she will travel to Fiji for the Continental Cup and in July she will head to Japan for their nationals before competing with three boys and three girls for the New Zealand ellite team at the World Junior Championships in Chicago. Katherine lived in England until she was six, but has forged a strong reputation as a proud and successful Kiwi.
How did you get into triathlon?
I started three years ago after giving up rep gymnastics and hockey. My family are all fit so they have encouraged to play sport. In year nine I won a national dualthon title and that really helped my confidence.
I understand running is your strongest suite?
I have won the girls cross country at school and several Auckland titles for my club, Horsley. I take part in an Auckland teams' running Grand Prix series and our team has won the first two races. There are five in the series. I enjoy cycling to, but I have a lot of work to do on my swimming. I haven't really done a lot of swimming before so that has been a real challenge?
Tell us about your international success?
Last year in Adelaide I won the under-19 Australia duathion title and finished third in the open event. In January this year I was seventh in the Under-19 Oceania Championships triathlon championships and our team finished second in the same event.
How do you keep on top of your school work?
It's tough, but the school is really supportive as are tri New Zealand who pay to get to most event and allow us time to complete our studies.
Other Notable Achievements
1st - AKSS Triathlon champs, Intermediate Girls
1st - AKSS Team Tag Triathlon, Senior Girls (team event)
1st - AKSS Duathlon champs, Intermediate Girls
1st - Barfoot & Thompson ITU Triathlon sprint distance, 16-19 years female category
1st - NHSS 1500m, Intermediate Girls
3rd - NHSS 800m, Intermediate Girls
4th - Greater Auckland secondary schools 1500m, Intermediate Girls
1st - NHSS Cross Country champs, Intermediate Girls
2nd - AKSS Cycling Senior Girls TTT # 1 (team event)
Ben Power is used to dealing with the media. He reckons he has been interviewed at least eight times by local newspapers, and he has done some video promotion work.
The attention is warranted. Power is a nationally ranked thrower in discus, shot put and hammer as well as being a leading rugby player in the Hurricanes region.
The Year 13 is a house captain at Hutt International Boys' School and when rugby, athletics and volleyball (a hobby) seasons combine he plays three sports and trains at least six times in the same week.
Power's father is former Wellington and New Zealand Colts rugby player Doug Power.
Ben started field athletics in Year 9 and is coached by Shaka Sola, a former Oceania and Pacific champion who attended the World Championships in 2005 and recently won the Hutt City Sports Awards coach of the year.
Ben won several club titles as a junior, but his breakthrough was at the club nationals in 2014.
He won gold in the under-18 shot put and discus, improving his personal best for both events, and added to his medal haul with a bronze in the hammer throw. He topped 17m for the first time when recording 17.08m in the shot put, improving on his previous PB of 16.66m, achieved when finishing third at the Australian junior championships in Sydney. His winning discus throw was 52.25m, a significant improvement on his previous PB of 50.03m, also recorded in Sydney.
At the Nationals in Wanganui in December, 2014 he was second in the shot put and hammer. In the shot put he was beaten by New Zealand Secondary Schools' rugby player Sam Ulufonua.
Ulufonua attended the World Junior Championships so Power wasn't disappointed with his result, but admits a national title would be nice in 2015.
"I have been improving each season so it would be nice to win a National title. I think rugby will be the priority when I leave school, the opportunities are greater, but I don't want to give athletics away completely," Power says.
In 2015, Power won the Hutt Valley regional’s shot put and discus titles. He threw a PB of 18.73 in the shot put and 53.00m in discus. At the North Island championships he repeated his shot put and discus successes and added the hammer throw as well.
He once won a strong man competition by throwing a 90kg stone two metres.
Power has been selected for the New Zealand Schools team for the Youth Commonwealth games in Samoa, but he is unsure if he will attend. Funds and rugby are an issue.
Power is the captain of the HIBS First XV. Last year they had their best season ever winning three games in premier one and beating Wellington College for the first time (6-5).
In 2015 they have scored wins over Wainuiomata High School, Upper Hutt College and Porirua College to re-earn their place in Premier One.
Power says HIBS have about ten returning players, but admits the squad isn't has strong as last year.
"Our first goal is to quality for Premier one and take it from there. Last year we had a really tight bunch of boys with a lot of experience. This year the chemistry is all good, but we are not as experienced."
Ben's dad is coaching the team. Former All Black captain Graham Mourie has moved on. Players to watch include lock Callum Dunne and goal-kicking fullback Caleb Taskoff who has a background in basketball.
Power is a hard-running No.8, but at representative level he was selected to play hooker for the Wellington Under-18's, despite hardly playing the position before. Power explains what happened.
"The selectors like my shape as a hooker. I think I can play both positions so I have been working hard on my throwing, but I will play No.8 for HIBS most of the season."
Power's versatility and talent was recognised by the Samoa Under-20's selectors. He was picked in the original squad, but the IRB ruled that players who weren't 18 and born on or before January 1, 1997 were ineligible.
Power admits it was disappointing to miss out, but says he will keep working hard to achieve his goals of a New Zealand Schools' rugby jersey and national athletics title.
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