It's been a big year for New Zealand's up and coming hockey players, with some high quality action at the NZSS Secondary School and age-grade representative tournaments throughout New Zealand. Five players that have impressed College Sport Media are below:
Reuben Andrews (St. Paul's Collegiate) - St. Paul's Collegiate won the Rankin Cup for the first time and in the final against Wairarapa College Andrews was a hero. Down 3-2, Andrews had to score with the last penalty corner and duly delivered to extend the game. Andrews scored a leading 15 goals at the Rankin Cup to finish the season with 66 goals in 29 games. He played 144 games for St. Paul's Collegiate First XI and scored 138 goals. He has been a National age group representative and impressed with his inspirational leadership.
Maddie Wotton (Villa Maria) - The Villa Maria First XI won the Federation Cup for the first time this year and Wotton was an integral part of the success. She scored 10 goals at the Nationals and her all-around excellence drove her teammates to further excellence. Wotton is in the New Zealand system and regularly appears for the Canterbury U18 and U21 sides. She also scored four goals for her senior club side Marist in a 7-3 victory over Southern United, a performance that caught the attention of the Christchurch Press.
Gus Wakeling (Wairarapa College) - The Junior Black Sticks midfielder was an outstanding leader for Wairarapa College guiding his team to the Rankin Cup final where they were beaten 4-3 in extra time by St. Paul's Collegiate. Wakeling boasts an-all round game regularly scoring goals and creating several with his superior running and passing. He is also a resolute defender.
Hattie Jones (Kristin School) - The youngest member of the NZ Junior team, Jones at the age of 17 is one of the most accomplished age group defenders in the country. Jones’ outstanding play saw her nominated for an Auckland Secondary Schools sports award. Jones regularly competes above her age and was a regular starter for North Harbour who finished second in the National Hockey League.
Bella Greig - The Iona College first XI went undefeated at the Hockey NZ Chica Gilmer national tournament in Pukekohe in 2015 to be promoted to the national first division. Greig was the leading goal scorer, putting 10 in the back of the net at that tourney. This year Greig proved she belonged in the top flight by scoring a tournament leading 17 goals at the Federation Cup. The 15-year-old accounted for over half of her team's goals and the next leading scorer netted 11. Greig is a regular in the Hawke’s Bay reps and may soon push for National honours.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand