College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand
With races in Colombia and in Melbourne, Kelsey Forman’s got much to look forward to over the next two months, representing New Zealand in the 2000m steeplechase at the IAAF World Youth Championships from 15-19 July and then running in the Australian Cross Country Championships.
At the end of this week she joins four other New Zealand-based athletes, including her Wellington East Girls’ College teammate and next door neighbour Phoebe Edwards, on the plane for Brisbane.
There the New Zealand U18 track and field team increases to six, joined by Gold Coast-based runner Olivia Burdon, and competes in a local track and field meet. From there the contingent flies out for two weeks training and acclimatising in San Francisco en route to the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Last weekend, Year 13 student Kelsey finished runner-up in the Senior race at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships in Dunedin, qualifying for the New Zealand team for the Australian Cross Country championships at the end of August.
She was pleased to finish second in Dunedin over the weekend, an improvement on last year. “I finished seventh last year and was aiming for to finish in the top three, so I’m really pleased to have qualified for Melbourne.”
She also ran the final 400m or so of the 4,000m race in her socks, after kicking her heel midway through the course and subsequently shedding her shoes.
Her time clip went the same way as her shoes, but she was clocked in a time of 15.22, behind winner Bella Richards of Auckland’s St Kentigern College in 15.15 and ahead of third placed getter Grace Wood, also of St Kent’s, who finished in 15.38.
Kelsey knew the two girls she finished in between. “I’ve raced against Bella and Grace a few times before, so I knew they were going to be tough to beat.”
Tactically, she said her plan was to stay with the front bunch of runners, to “see how long I could hold on for.” This move saw her finish strongly - despite the loss of her shoes.
The World Youth Championships in Colombia will be somewhat of a step into the unknown. “I don’t know about most of the other competitors, many are still qualifying as it’s their summer now, whereas we had to qualify in our athletics season.”
She qualified for the World Championships by setting a New Zealand U17 record in the 2,000m steeplechase at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships on her home track in Wellington in March. Kelsey’s time of 6.52.72 bettered by over two seconds the old mark held by Sarah McSweeney and was comfortably inside the IAAF World Youth Championship qualification standard of 7:00.00.
Kelsey said her running background started at primary school. “I just discovered I could run fast at school competing in primary school and intermediate events.” She won the North Island Colgate Games 80m hurdles, which she has adapted well leaping over the steeplechase barriers.
Kelsey is a member of the local Wellington Harriers and is coached by Alastair Leslie.
She says she won’t be neglecting her NCEA Level 3 work whilst overseas. “I’ll be taking my schoolwork with me overseas; we’ll have lots of downtime so I can do it then.”
As well as Kelsey, two other Wellington East Girls’ College students ran well in Dunedin. Tessa Hunt finished third in the Junior Girls race and Kirstie Rae finished third in the Year 9 Girls Race. The school’s running programme is being organised by 1996 Olympic Games 5,000m finalist Anne Hare and they hope to keep improving. With role models like Kelsey Forman and Phoebe Edwards to look to, Wellington East’s younger athletes don’t have far to look for inspiration.
The New Zealand team competing in Colombia is:
Ryan Ballantyne (St Paul’s Collegiate, Hamilton) - Shot Put
Olivia Burdon (Gold Coast-based) - 1500m and 3000m
Phoebe Edwards (Wellington East Girls’ College) - High Jump and Heptathlon
Kelsey Forman (Wellington East Girls’ College) - 2000m steeplechase
Georgia Hulls (Havelock North High School) - 100m and 200m
Madison Wesche (Lynfield College, Auckland) - Shot Put
1500m & 3000m
High Jump, Heptathlon
100m & 200m
The Wairarapa College Girls First XI hockey team will be defending the New Zealand Secondary Schools Federation Cup later this year, after winning three thrilling games to take the title last September. In becoming 2014 national champions, Wairarapa College overcame Auckland Diocesan School for Girls and Christchurch’s Rangi Ruru Girls’ School in extra-time shootouts in their respective quarter-final and semi-final matches and then beat Dunedin’s St Hilda’s Collegiate 1-0 in the final.
The school’s boys’ hockey First XI finished second in their equivalent national tournament in 2014, the Rankin Cup, runners-up to winners Hamilton Boys’ High School.
Wairarapa College has won Federation cup (or its equivalent) more than any other school in New Zealand. They are also are one of only two schools to never have been relegated out of the top 16 in New Zealand and they have a very proud Hockey tradition that they are passionate about continuing.
We asked Wairarapa College Girls First XI hockey assistant coach Willie Schaefer to tell us some more about the team, below:
School: Wairarapa College
Team: 1st XI Girls Hockey Team
2015 team Coaching staff: Head Coach: Kelly Browne. Assistant Coach: Willie Schaefer. Manager: Jo Mossman.
2015 First XI captain: Brigette Mossman
Local and regional competitions playing in 2015: Wellington Premier 1 grade.
National competitions playing in 2015: Federation Cup (top 16 in New Zealand)
What is your team’s goal this year?
This year we hope to defend both the Wellington Premier Schoolgirls and National Federation Cup titles that we won last season.
How did the Wairarapa College First XI go in the few years prior to that?
This equivalent team also won the Federation Cup in 2011 and finished second in 2012, so last year was a continuation of this recent success.
Who are your rival schools?
Locally, our main rivals are [crosstown Masterton School] St Matthew’s Collegiate, who finished runners-up to us in the Wellington competition last year and third in the Federation Cup. Nationally, St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland, Diocesan School for Girls in Auckland, St Margaret’s College in Christchurch and Villa Maria College, also in Christchurch, have always been tough to play.
What in your team philosophy or culture sets you apart and aids in your success?
Hard work and commitment in working towards common goals.
Who are the regionally or nationally ranked or representative individuals within your team?
This year just Brigette Mossman (Capital U21 and U18 representative).
How many players are returning from last year to play in 2015 and what is their influence this year on younger team members?
There are 12 returning to our squad from last year. Their influence is to continue the successful culture that has been developed, and to set the benchmark for younger players in terms of behaviour, work ethic and attitude.
Are there individuals in your team that excel or are successful in other sports or off the sporting field?
They are all pretty well rounded individuals. Hanna Whitehead represents New Zealand in cross country equestrian, while there are three school prefects in the current team.
Are there former member from your girls or boys team who are currently ranked regionally or nationally?
Megan Hull (NZ futures), Katherine van Woerkom (Central NHL), Michael O’Connor (Capital U21s), Katie-Anne Saywell (Capital U21s) and Emma Smith (Capital U18s)
What challenges does your team overcome to get to the level they are playing now?
Cost is always a major barrier – travel to Wellington on a home and away basis. Consistency of performance. Balance between hockey and life. Lack of facilities – our school turf is old and unusable therefore the team has to travel to Carterton for trainings twice a week.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
We have fantastic parental support.
"We have to dig deep. It's going to hurt, but we have to give it all we've got," pleaded Antonio Shalfoon to his tired teammates on Saturday.
The Lincoln High School First XV captain was in an unusual position. Inexplicably his team which hadn't won a game all season had taken the lead with five minutes to go against Marlborough Boys' College.
Mighty Marlborough who won the UC Championship in 2013 and missed the final by two points last year had blown a 22-5 lead to a side that had failed to win in eight starts in 2015. What is going on?
"It's funny we were quit calm at halftime", Shalfoon recalls.
"From the sidelines it looked like another week and another loss, but we talked about reducing mistakes, playing tighter and really believed we could win."
Why did you believe you could win given the previous results this season?
"Accept for the St. Andrew's game we have been competitive in every game. We've had a lot of injures this year, but we were pretty much at full strength on Saturday", Shalfoon says.
Lincoln has the First XV and a combined Year 9 and 10 team that plays on a Wednesday. Shalfoon himself had missed a month with an ankle injury.
Lincoln changed their tactics in the second-half. Aggressive "pick and goes" combined with accurate and varied set-pieces surprised Marlborough.
Nigel Satherley who had scored two tries in the first-half and nine this season was shutdown.
Sam Cottam rumbled over from a maul for Lincoln who then started to play with real expression.
First-Five Cameron Power was a dominant figure. He scored three tries, the last of which catapulted Lincoln ahead, Shalfoon describes the action:
"Cameron is a really good player with lots of flair. From a lineout on halfway he got the ball beat three or four defenders and scored, it was unbelievable."
Ahead 27-25, Lincoln conceded a penalty 40-meters out with a minute to go. Marlborough boasts Mitch Smith the leading points scorer in the UC Championship for the past two years.
Strangely Marlborough turned down a kickable shot at goal and opted for a lineout. Shalfoon is a 1.97cm lock who has represented Canterbury Country under-18's. He describes the last lineout.
"They threw short and I got up quick and battered into touch. The referee blew his whistle for fulltime and it was pretty surreal and crazy."
It was the first time Lincoln had beaten Marlborough Boys' and is a result that could seriously derail Marlborough's semi-final prospects.
In 2014 Lincoln won five games and achieved maiden victories over Christ's College and Shirley Boys' High School.
Recent New Zealand under-20 representatives Tom Saunders and Mitchell Dunshea are old boys, but beating Marlborough Boys' Shalfoon says is a real feather in the cap.
"It's a really proud moment for the boys and a great reward in perseverance for our coaches Wiremu Gray and Mikaele Tuu'u (ex Northland)."
The climax to the 2013 1A final at Eden Park between St. Kentigern College and Auckland Grammar School was as dramatic as it gets.
St. Kent's, defending a 49-game unbeaten streak, won a penalty with the last play.
The kick was 40-meters out, on a slight angle. Step forward William Raea. The diminutive fly-half was on the edge of his range, but slotted the goal to win the championship.
Standing immediately to the right of Raea was Year 11 Dalton Papalii. Papalii recalls his reaction.
"It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I jumped on him and gave him a kiss. I didn't think he would get it. It was just the most surreal feeling when he kicked the goal. It's the best game I have played for St. Kent's," he says.
"I think I coughed without covering my mouth before the kick. I was so nervous. The extra oxygen got the ball over," Papalii laughs.
Papalii is used to getting over the top of opponents. He made his debut for the First XV in 2012 against St. Peter's College. In four years in the First XV he has won a National Top Four Championship, a Sanix World Youth Championship and only suffered defeat three times.
The loose forward is First XV captain this year. How does he handle the pressure of being the captain of such a successful team?
"There is a lot of pressure to perform, but we don't get too far ahead of ourselves. We focus on one game at a time," he says.
"It's a privilege to captain the First XV. There is good support around me and it's a privilege to have played with guys like Blake Gibson, TJ Faiane and Sione Mafileo. They bring out the best in you."
St. Kent's has an active scholarship program for leading rugby talent. Papalii insists this isn't the only reason why they are on a 12-game winning streak at present and have put together 91 wins in 97 games since 2011.
"We work really hard. You can talk about working hard and then you can actually work hard. We are lucky we are well-resourced, but we use that to our advantage. We watch a lot of footage and are always seeking to improve," he says.
Papalii concedes losing the 1A final to Auckland Grammar School last year was hard to take.
"I hate losing. It's just the most empty feeling. Credit to Grammar, they are a great side and played well, but I hope I never feel like that again."
Papalii started his rugby at openside where his quickness and strength over the ball was a real asset, but in recent times he has switched to No.8 as a growth in stature has improved his ball carrying prowess.
Papalii has been a regular Auckland age group rep and last year made the Blues Under-18 squad.
He is originally from a league background having played for the Pakuranga Jaguars, but he has his sights firmly set on rugby.
"I would like to make one of the New Zealand teams at the end of the year, but at the moment I am worried about the next game," he says.
In his spare time Papalii enjoys the outdoors, especially hunting. His name is of Samoan, Kiwi and Irish extraction.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand