The 2016 New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball Championships are being held in Lower Hutt next week.
Kate Heffernan captains the St Hilda’s Collegiate team from Dunedin that recently won the South Island Zone qualifying tournament and will be appearing at the NZSS Championships for the first time.
Name: Kate Heffernan
School: St Hilda’s Collegiate School
Coaches: Lana Morrison (head), Annette Heffernan (assistant)
Team Members: Georgia Heffernan, Megan Borst, Mikayla Thorn, Abbey Johnston, Kate Heffernan, Beryn Abbott, Meg Timu, Mariah Nelson, Georgia O’Malley, Mara McCurdy
What positions do you play?
Centre mainly, but also WA and WD.
What representative teams have you played in?
I’ve played in the Dunedin U17 team in 2015 and 2016 and got a NZSS trial.
What’s it going to take for your school to do well in the NZSS Nationals next week?
I think as a team we need to approach it as we did the South Island Regional tournament. Our team really dug deep and when it got tough we came together. We need to play for each other. I think it is also important for our team to take this tournament one game at a time and not get too ahead of ourselves.
What local competitions has your school team played in this year and how did your team go?
We played in the Dunedin premier grade this year. It was pretty tough, we didn’t make top four. We won the Otago Secondary Schools Championship. We won the International Netball Festival held at Rangi Ruru earlier in the year.
Who are your school’s closest rivals on the netball court?
We try to approach every game the same no matter what team. We respect all teams we come up against. But if we were to say any particular school it would be St Margaret’s [Christchurch]. They are very dominant in the South Island especially, and they are our sister school so we see a lot of them through school exchanges etc.
What’s been one memorable match you have played in this year for your school team?
At South Islands this year, the quarter-final against St Margaret’s. I’ve never played a game in any team where it just felt so good on court. It was such a team effort, and everyone in the team wanted it so bad.
What’s the strength of your team?
I think what makes this team special is that our whole line up is even. We have strength the whole way through, and on the bench. We can all rely on each other to do their job.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
We receive great support from all parents of the girls in the team. They give up a lot of their time to support and help organise any events. We also receive a lot of support from our school which is great. We couldn’t compete as we do without this support.
Personally, who are your netball/sporting role models?
Suzie Bates and Laura Langman. They are both such motivated athletes, and amazing at what they do.
You also play cricket?
Yes, I was in the Otago U21 side in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons and was an Otago Sparks [domestic women’s team] squad member in 2015/16.
What year are you at school and what about your attention to school subjects?
I am year 12 this year and my favourite subjects would probably be P.E and Biology.
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