One of the biggest cheers of last Friday’s NZSS Netball post-tournament presentations was for Hamilton Girls’ High School’s Summer Parekura immediately after being named as the Shooter of the Tournament.
“I was so surprised, I didn’t expect to get selected as the Shooter of the Tournament,” said Summer. “It was my goal to be named in the tournament team but to be named in that and be named shooter was awesome, I was pretty stoked with that.”
Summer’s Hamilton GHS team finished seventh of 16 teams in one of the most competitive four days on the New Zealand secondary school sporting calendar.
Being a goal shoot calls for calmness under pressure, something that Summer showed plenty of in a series of close games, including three narrow losses to three of the four leading Auckland teams, Mount Albert Grammar School (champions), Saint Kentigern College (third place) and Epsom Girls’ Grammar School (fourth).
“I just try and stay calm and block everything out when I am out there playing and not think about all the people and the game situation when I am shooting,” said Summer who is year 13 and has been playing the sport she loves for as long as she can remember.
She is primarily a goal shoot, but also plays goal attack and wing attack where her passing and timing is accurate like her shooting.
Summer grew up in Opotiki and spent the first four years of her secondary schooling at Opotiki College.
She moved to Hamilton GHS this year to further her sporting and academic career and lives with her auntie and whanau in town. “I made the move up to Hamilton at the start of this year for better opportunities, including sport.”
Hamilton GHS qualified for Nationals for the first time since 2011.
“We were happy with how we finished overall,” said Summer. “The games against St Kent’s [35-37] and MAGS [33-34] were really close – even though we lost to both of them they were a highlight for us because this is only the second time we have played them and to almost beat them was a boost for our team."
Against St Kent’s, Hamilton GHS were trailing 5-12 after the first quarter but came back strongly in the middle stages.
Summer’s overall shooting statistics from the NZSS tournament were 164/194 or 84.5 percent, and she was heavily marked in all matches.
Hamilton GHS’s captain in Timaru was centre Manaia Rapana-Feather. “I was like the vice-captain and Manaia’s side-kick,” enthused Summer.
With Summer being the Shooter of the Tournament, St Kent’s’ Tayla Earle was the Midcourter of the Tournament – and the NZSS Player of the Year – and New Plymouth Girls’ High School’s Parris Mason was the Defender of the Tournament.
Hamilton GHS went into nationals as the fifth placed qualifier at the Upper North Island Secondary Schools (UNISS) tournament at Mt Maunganui, behind tournament winners Epsom Girls' Grammar School, MAGS, Howick College and St Kent’s and ahead of Westlake Girls’ High School.
Hamilton beat Westlake GHS 29-23 in the 5 v 6 playoff match on the final day of UNISS, but the 28-27 win the day before over One Tree Hill College was more important.
“Beating One Tree Hill felt like a final because we had to beat them to get to nationals. It was a tight game as well, they came back in the last quarter and we just got there in the end.”
Hamilton GHS was the only non-Auckland school to qualify for this year’s national tournament from UNISS. The next highest ranking school outside of Auckland was St Paul’s Collegiate who finished 10th.
Along the way at UNISS, Hamilton GHS also lost to MAGS (23-30), lost to EGGS (27-36), and had a win and a lost against Westlake (24-25 and 29-23).
Summer was the only Hamilton GHS player selected in the 21-strong tournament selection group of A grade players at the end of UNISS.
Before UNISS, Summer was in the Hamilton City team that went into the National U19 tournament as defending champions and ended up finishing fifth, behind winners Auckland. Summer and Lyanne Eukaliti were two Hamilton City players that made the tournament team from the U19s week.
Hamilton GHS won both local competitions they were in this year, including the Monday night Waikato secondary school competition. Hamilton GHS beat St Peter’s School in the final.
Throughout the season, netball takes up much of Summer’s spare time, putting in several sessions a week training and practicing her shooting.
The netball season is over now, but she intends on staying fit and focused ahead of the Waikato Bay of Plenty BEKO Development League trials in the New Year.
The Hamilton Girls’ High School team at nationals was: Ivari Christie, Hannah Coffin, Leila Green, Phillipa Hokianga, Te Amai Hudson, Kalanie Kara, Mya Meadows, Te Aomihia Olliver-Samuels, Summer Parekura, Hylan Potts, Manaia Rapana-Feather, Briar Woolford, Captains: Manaia Rapana Feather & Summer Parekura Coach: Lynaire Williams. Assistant Coach: Dianne Riddle Pelchen. Manager: Leanne Green
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