Wakatipu High School’s Ruby Andrews (17) has won the freeski slopestyle title at the FIS Park and Pipe Junior World Championships in Switzerland.
“I could not be happier to take the win here at Leysin today! Feels so good to be back on the podium after not competing for two years! Thanks to everyone who made this possible.” Andrews wrote on her social media.
Andrews started her first run with a technical back swap on the rainbow rail before lacing together a solid jump section and finishing off with a 270 onto the final rail. She was rewarded 85.40 by the judges for this run, her score remaining untouchable for the remainder of the event.
Although her second and final run was a victory lap, Andrews dropped in with the intention to add more technicality to her run and bump her winning score even higher. A couple of small bobbles resulted in her run one score being her top score of the day.
Andrews proved today, that although she hasn’t competed for two years while she rehabbed a knee injury sustained in 2020, she is still at the top of the freeski game for her age.
There were two Kiwi men competing in the freeski slopestyle finals. Harper Souness (Queenstown, 16) finished in fifth position and Luca Harrington (Wānaka, 18), Big Air silver medalist, finished in thirteenth position.
While the freeskiers were throwing down on the slopestyle course the snowboarders were getting to work on the Big Air jump.
Dane Menzies (Wānaka based, 16) finished just off the podium in fourth place and Txema Mazet-Brown (Raglan, 15) finished in eighth place.
Watch her winning run (from 18.55 min) HERE
Seyjay Harawira believes his ability to establish meaningful connections was the biggest reason he was appointed head prefect of St Patrick’s College, Silverstream.
A natural confidence to be open, coupled with the respect of his peers are sought after leadership qualities. They are also handy attributes as a caller on a dragon boat.
The crew of a standard dragon boat typically consists of 22 team members: 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, one drummer or caller at the bow facing toward the paddlers, and one steerer standing at the rear of the boat.
A caller sets the race pattern, observes the progress of rivals and is the key tactician in an explosive exercise that is often over in less than two minutes.
Silverstream’s dragon boat team hasn’t lost in a decade, and at the College Sport Wellington Championships over the weekend extended their win streak to 124 consecutive races with victory over Bishop Viard College. How does Harawira get 20 boys to function in unison?
“We break a race down into three parts: strong explosive, quick set and reach. Strong explosive is a slower paddling but involves pulling the boat out of the water and generating power. A quick set is faster paddling with less power. It’s about getting through the middle of the course efficiently. Reach brings everything together at the end,” he responded.
Such a deliberate approach isn’t accidental. Silverstream are coached by top duo Chris Fox and Baz Taniwha who have guided Silverstream to Wellington, Auckland and National titles. The long winning streak is a particular source of pride for Seyjay whose brothers Jarrod, Tegan and Braydin also competed for Silverstream.
“Chris and Baz have a real presence around the team. When they talk you listen, because if you listen you’ll likely win,” he said.
Despite completing just half of their scheduled training due to Covid isolation each member of the crew had a clearly defined role.
“The first four seats set the pace, the next four seats are where the big boys sit. We call that the engine room, that’s where the real power in the boat comes from. The boys behind the engine room keep them in check because sometimes they can get carried away and lose rhythm. It’s a great feeling when everyone is in sync.”
Silverstream aimed to better their College Sport Wellington 300-metres record of 69 seconds. They fell short of that target but were still ten seconds quicker than a talented and determined Bishop Viard team.
“It was a really good day with little wind and flat water. The boys were hyped for it. We made a really good start and led by half a boat length. Our transition from power to set was a bit shaky but we finished really strong.”
Harawira has a strong affinity with his Iwi, Rongowhakaata (Gisborne) and Te Whakatōhea (Eastern Bay of Plenty). He believes his Māori background can provide different perspectives and “better integrating all cultures” is part of his aim as head boy of Silverstream.
In the winter it’s likely he’ll appear on the wing for the First XV rugby team who are the reigning Premier I champions. Silverstream’s team will be younger than last seasons’ but Harawira is confident they have the talent to defend their title.
Interview and story by Adam Julian for College Sport Media and College Sport Wellington, March 2022.
A strong new team has been selected for the 2022 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Junior Surfing Championships today (Tuesday 8th March). Apart from Kora Cooper (Rag) who returns to the competition in the U18 Boys, Ava Henderson (Chch) and Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) returning in the U18 girls the Junior Surfing Team sees the debut of nine of New Zealand’s best junior surfers.
Veteran team member Natasha Gouldsbury returns for the last time in the Under 18 Girls Division. “I am over the moon and so stoked to be chosen for the team especially alongside three close friends of mine from Taranaki”. Off the back of some great results this season including two wins in the Billabong Grom Series, Gouldsbury says her hard work has finally paid off and she is stoked to be representing New Zealand again in her last year of junior surfing.
This will be the first time the Junior Team has been away since 2019 and the first World Junior Championships since that year due to the ongoing global pandemic.
In the Under 16 Boys Division talented goofy footer Tao Mouldey (Mnt), off the back of three straight wins in the Billabong Grom Series and Under 16 Boys Division National Champion Jack Tyro (Chch) make their debut into the New Zealand Junior Team. ”A few years ago, I set myself a goal to get into the Canterbury Team” says Jack Tyro.”And to think I have now been chosen to represent New Zealand in the ISA Junior World Championships is unbelievable. This will be my first time travelling to another country apart from Australia, so I am stoked and really excited for this opportunity”.
El Salvador is no stranger to top level competition, being the latest venue for the World Surfing Games/Olympic qualifier where Paige Hareb placed 11th in 2021. It will again be the host for the 2023 Olympic Games qualifications.
Ava Henderson also returns to the team in the Under 18 Girls Division alongside Liv Haysom (Piha) and Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara). Tao Mouldey (Mnt), Jack Tyro (Chch) and Spencer Rowson (Tara) represent the Under 16 Boys while Leia Millar (Piha), Pia Rogers (WGM) and Skylar McFetridge (Tara) make their debut in the Under 16 Girls Division. After a hard-fought New Zealand Grom Series, Finn Vette (Gis), Kora Cooper and Kalani Louis (Tara) will represent the Under 18 Boys Division.
The team will compete at the 2022 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Junior Surfing Championships from the 27th May - 5th June. New Zealand has been represented at ISA World Junior Championships since 2003 when the junior divisions were separated from the World Surfing Games. Prior to this time the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team attended the World Grommet Titles since its inception in 1989.
The championship is the largest junior surfing event in the world playing host to over 340 surfers from 44 nations in 2022.
The 2022 New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is as follows:
Under 18 Boys Division
Finn Vette (Gis)
Kalani Louis (Tara)
Kora Cooper (Rag)
Non-travelling Reserve: Tyler Perry (Kaik)
Under 18 Girls Division
Ava Henderson (Chch)
Liv Haysom (Piha)
Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara)
Non-travelling Reserve: Anna Brock (Mnt)
Under 16 Boys Division
Jack Tyro (Chch)
Spencer Rowson (Tara)
Tai Mouldey (Mnt)
Non-travelling Reserve: Rakiatea Tau (Chch)
Under 16 Girls Division
Leia Millar (Piha)
Pia Rogers (WGM)
Skylar McFetridge (Tara)
Non-travelling Reserve: Sophia Brock (Mnt)
Snow Sports New Zealand has named six athletes to the 2022 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships Team, including Mikayla Smyth who was named alongside Olympian Alice Robinson in the team (although the latter won’t be competing due to prior commitments).
Smyth (Kristin School) was a 2021 College Sport Auckland end of year winner last December and has been in good form overseas this New Zealand summer.
Mikayla has skied herself onto four FIS Slalom podiums this season – a 1st and 2nd at the Steamboat National Junior Races in December and a 2nd and 3rd at the FIS races at Spirit Mountain.
The Junior Championships are in Panorama, Canada from March 1-9, 2022.
This world class event brings together the best junior FIS Alpine racers (born between 2001 and 2005), providing experience and international exposure to athletes identified as high-performance development level athletes.
The 2022 Junior Worlds will once again include downhill, alpine combined, and team events, along with super-G, giant slalom, and slalom events for both men and women. Live timing will be provided by the International Ski Federation (FIS).
2022 FIS Junior World Championships team to represent New Zealand
Mikayla Smyth (16), Wanaka Snowsports Club / Coberger Academy
Will Cashmore (21), Queenstown Alpine Ski Team
Sam Hadley (18), Wanaka Snowsports Club / Coberger Academy
Calder Bain (19), Wanaka Snowsports Club
Panorama 2022 Competition Schedule
March 1 – Downhill Training
March 2 – Downhill Training
March 3 – Men’s and Women’s Downhill
March 4 – Men’s and Women’s Super-G
March 5 – Mixed Team Event
March 6 – Men’s Alpine Combined
March 7 – Women’s Alpine Combined
March 8 – Men’s Giant Slalom and Women’s Slalom
March 9 – Women’s Giant Slalom and Men’s Slalom
In June Ben Pettit (Hutt International Boys' School) became the youngest New Zealand Open Men's Tenpin bowling champion after he bowled his way to victory as a 13-year old in Auckland.
Following a successful trip to Tasmania, adding the Australian Under-14 National title to his burgeoning trophy haul, Ben has just bowled his first perfect game. A perfect game in Tenpin bowling is achieved with a score of 300. That is bowling 12 strikes in a row: one strike in each of the first nine frames, and three more in the tenth frame.
At 14 years and 19 days old, Ben is the youngest individual in New Zealand to accomplish the feat, replacing the previous record held by Osiris Cave who was 14 years and 10 months old when he bowled his 300 in January at Tenpin Tauranga. Ben’s previous best was 279.
Ben’s first 300 happened on August 14 at Pins Lincoln in Auckland. He repeated the feat on Sunday for good measure too.
“The first nine shots were all good shots. The tenth shot was okay but the 11th was my worst of the whole tournament,” Ben recalled.
“I kept my ball inside way too far and hit the wrong side of the front pin. The last pin to fall was the sixth pin on the right side. It was a really lucky shot.
“When I bowled nine strikes in a row a crowd started to gather. I was really nervous prior to the last shot. I had a drink of water, ordered a rerack which is a resetting of the pins, and took my shot. It was perfect.
“It’s interesting because I was bowling in Lanes 23 and 24 which are the hardest in the alley. They have a lot of friction and the ball comes back more so you have to be very precise.
“I was more happy with my second 300 because they were all good shots. The first one was more of a relief to have done it.”
When a 300 happens, to be officially registered, the ball and every pin has to be measured before the completion of paperwork. The pins have to be ten ounces or below.
“One of the pins was exactly ten ounces. Had it been 0.01 ounces heavier my 300 wouldn’t have counted.”
Since records started in 1977 there have been 148 perfect scores. Steve Furst bowled the first 300 on June 23, 1977 in New Lynn, Auckland. It took 15 years until Paul McElroy joined him in 1992. Graham Parkins was the first of 20 individuals to bowl 300 in Wellington in 1994.
The record for most 300 scores ironically belongs to Ben’s coach Chris Haynes who bowled seven between 2015 and 2019. Remarkably he delivered three on October 27, 2015.
Ben received $350 for his perfect game and for winning the competition. His next goal is an 800 series which is over three games with a 267 average. He has bowled a 764.
Read our first story with Ben after his National title success in June here: https://www.collegesportmedia.co.nz/other/little-ben-big-in-tenpin-bowling
*After his National title success he appeared on Stuff, The Rock, and bowled against Nick Mills and Adam Cooper from Newstalk ZB Sport.
There were some nervous moments, but the young Otumoetai College team pulled through to win their maiden NZSS Squash Championships Girls title this past weekend.
The team consisting of number one seed Erin Wylie (year 9), and two sets of sisters, Gen (year 9) and Hope Kennerley (year 10) and Mia (year 9) and Kayla (year 12) Bowles, won the tournament on the players’ home club court at the Susan Devoy Squash Centre.
“It was really exiting to win this tournament at home,” said Erin, “and extra special for us to win for the first time in our own surroundings, with family and friends able to come able to come and support us.
“It was very helpful on court as well, because we knew how hard to hit the ball to get it to the back.”
32 teams representing 27 school entered the boys tournament and 20 teams from 19 schools took part in the girls draw over three days for the 37th annual NZSS tournament.
Local schools did the double, with Tauranga Boys’ College 1 winning the Boys title.
The format of the tournament saw schools play the best of five singles games against each other per tie – thus making it a true team tournament.
Otumoetai College beat Takapuna Grammar School 3-2 in the girls’ final tie on Sunday afternoon, after going up 2-0 but conceding the next two matches to make it 2-2. Gen Kennerley won the final match and Otumoetai were celebrating.
Erin Wylie’s father Darren was the team’s coach for the weekend and the Kennerley’s mother Jacinta was team manager. Darren said that it was a truly team effort. “At one stage or another throughout the tournament a different player had to pull out it out for us and every time that player came through for us.
“For example, in our semi-final on Saturday against Havelock North High School, it came to the last player, with Kayla Bowles winning her match and we won 3-2.”
“In the final, Gen Kennerley was our last player, but in the end she won comfortably and we won 3-2.”
The matches are played one after another, not concurrently, so there is a fair bit of support thrown in there by teammates throughout each match that typically run for about half an hour. “But it feels like a long time when you are watching it,” said Darren.
Otumoetai beat St Paul’s Colleigate Hamilton on Friday, then Orewa College on Saturday, before their semi-final and final wins over Havelock North and Takapuna respectively.
The draw was based on the seedings of the schools, which in turn is calculated on the grade ranks of the players. Otumoetai’s No. 1 Erin is a B1 grade player, Hope and Gen are B2s, Kayla is a C1 and Mia is a J3.
Otumoetai were ranked number two, behind top seeds Westlake Girls’ High School, who lost to fifth seed Takapuna Girls’ Grammar 4-1 in the other semi-final.
At the conclusion of the tournament, four NZSS teams were selected – Senior Boys, Senior Girls, Junior Boys, Junior Girls (see names below).
Erin was selected in the Junior Girls team. Most years this team plays in Australia, but Covid has put paid to that at the moment, so for the second straight year this year’s selection is a paper team only.
The NZSS Junior Girls team that was selected at the conclusion of the tournament, L-R: Mackenzie Tait (Wairarapa College), Ella Hill (Tauranga Girls' College), Erin Wyllie (Otumoetai College), Justine Pausch (Takapuna Grammar School), Lucy Cadness-Aspinall (Westlake Girls' High School), Aishah Lotfy (Westlake Girls' High School)
Erin has been playing squash since she was seven.
Last year Susan Devoy was Erin’s Bay of Plenty Women’s C Grade coach, in their tournament in Napier. With Devoy’s mentoring, Erin won all her 10 matches in the tournament.
This September Erin and Hope Kennerly will be representing BoP’s Women’s B Grade team in Invercargill.
Following that there are the Nationals in Christchurch in October.
The school players all play interclub club squash in the Grade competition (all ages) on Monday nights throughout the winter and Autumn, for the Devoy Squash and Fitness club.
Erin is on court more days than not. “I usually play five times a week. Once on Monday nights in club squash, once in a coaching lesson match with coach Becky Clarke and a couple more times with teammates.”
For Erin, squash is her number one sport, but she has also played several other sports, including volleyball and tennis.
HEAD have recently come on board as a sponsor for Erin, with rackets, bags and other gear to help her pursue her squash future.
She follows New Zealand’s best players. “I like to watch Paul Coll and Joelle King play squash – they are the best players in New Zealand and among the best in the world and the players us juniors can look up to and aspire to emulate when we are older.”
For now, Erin and her Otumoetai College teammates have a few years up their sleeves to keep making their marks in the game, for school, club and province.
The NZSS Squash team for 2021 is:
Apa Fatialofa (captain) - Auckland Grammar School
Joseph Smythe - Tauranga Boys College
Tarin Love - Mt Albert Grammar School
Tom Marshall - Marlborough Boys College
Luke Steyn - Taupo Nui-a-tia
Braedyn Henderson - Matamata College
Jena Gregory (captain) - Havelock North High School
Sophie Hodges - Hamilton Girls High School
Anne Leakey - Orewa College
Katie Templeton - Katikati College
Abbie Holmes - Sacred Heart College New Plymouth
Kiera Thompson - Havelock North High School
Jack Frisken - Marlborough Boys College
Reece Holmes - Hawera High School
Riley McCracken - Mt Albert Grammar School
Cassius Leevey - Francis Douglas Memorial College
Finn Goodsen - Auckland Grammar School
Josh Laing - Whangarei Boys High School
Mackenzie Tait - Wairarapa College
Ella Hill - Tauranga Girls College
Erin Wyllie - Otumoetai College
Justine Pausch - Takapuna Grammar School
Lucy Cadness-Aspinall - Westlake Girls High School
Aishah Lotfy - Westlake Girls High School
NZSS Squash Championships: Last 10 winning schools
2021: Otumoetai College
2020: Whangarei Girls' High School
2019: Whangarei Girls' High School
2018 Napier Girls' High School
2017 Palmerston North Girls' High
2016 Palmerston North Girls' High
2015 Palmerston North Girls' High
2014 Epsom Girls’ Grammar School
2013 Epsom Girls’ Grammar School
2012 Epsom Girls’ Grammar School
2021: Tauranga Boys' College
2020: Mount Albert Grammar School
2019: Mount Albert Grammar School
2018 Westlake Boys' High School
2017 Westlake Boys' High School
2016 Westlake Boys' High School
2015 Westlake Boys' High School
2014 Tauranga Boys’ College
2013 Tauranga Boys’ College
2012 Tauranga Boys’ College
Interview and story by Steven White, for College Sport Media, August 2021.
Southland Secondary Schools Sport recently showcased a mixture of Māori and Polynesian games and activities, by hosting a Matariki Festival Day. This was to fit in with the Murihiku Matariki festival week celebrations.
The secondary school event last Thursday followed a Pasifika Festival several days earlier and preceded the Murihiku Matariki Light Festival.
The objective was to promote physical activity with an opportunity to create an awareness of cultural diversity, well-being, and offer rangatahi new experiences.
The festival featured six activities. Four of these were based around Māori cultural games and activities and two around Pasifika games and activities. The activities were Ki-o-rahi, Tapu ae, Poi Toa, a demonstration of Mau rākau, Pani and Samoan traditional dance.
Ki-o-rahi is a traditional Maori ball game that is played on a circular field or court. One team (the Taniwha) tries to score points by throwing the ki (ball) at the centre post (Tupu) while the other (the Kioma) tries to win by tagging it against all the seven posts (pou) around the circle. Games are fast-paced and action-packed, with four six-minute quarters, so 24 minutes of total playing time. There are eight players in a team on the field at a time, with substitutes.
Tapu ae is similar to Ki-o-rahi only played on a court. The two teams try and hit targets (these being tennis balls placed on cones at end of the court). They must pass a soft ball in each third of a court but cannot run with the ball. The team no in possession defend their cones and targets. Once a target is knocked off the game re-starts.
Pani – is a traditional Fijian game with tin cans stacked up in the centre of a court. Attacking teams must throw tennis balls to knock them all over before the defending team can restack them. If the defending team get hit with the ball they have to stand down.
Mau rākau – means to bear weapons and is like a form of martial arts with weapons – although in this instance sticks were used, with a demonstration of movements.
The programme for the day started with a mihi whakatau and karakia. Schools were invited to enter teams of eight, these teams then rotated around all six activities in 35–40-minute time intervals. There were 18 teams entered for the day and a group of helpers, so approximately 160 students were involved.
Southland Secondary School Sport partnered with Te Wharekura Arowhenua, who supported and led the Maori games and activities. Students from the Kura were involved with assisting in leading and demonstrating these. Students from Southland Girls’ High School were also involved in leading the Pasifika activities. Another partnership for the day had been formed with the YMCA who have a group of youth services staff that assisted in facilitating activities. The YMCA entered a team of students who, although school aged are now not involved directly with local schools. It provided an opportunity for them to be engaged with an event with similar aged students, which they seldom have the chance to do.
As well as students having fun in a non-competitive environment and being encouraged to try new activities, the day created an opportunity to facilitate leadership roles.
It is envisaged this will become an annual event that over time they can modify or add to, according to feedback and input from rangatahi.
With a twinkle in his eye 13-year old Ben Pettit quips, “damn, I won’t double your score,” as at last a pin doesn’t fall.
Thursday is a quiet night at North City Tenpin in Porirua. There are no league matches scheduled which makes the surprised murmurings conspicuous. The kid actually missed. A nine ruins a run of five consecutive strikes. The opponent, two decades his senior, seeks solace. Your humble correspondent has never been so humbled.
Ben Pettit is the New Zealand Open Men’s Tenpin bowling champion and boasts a highest score of 279, a pin short of the perfect game. Prodigy versus piñata!
The Nationals were held in Manukau over Queen’s Birthday weekend. An annual event since 1971, qualifying involved a dozen games across singles, doubles and teams with totals taken from each event. In his 12 games Ben averaged 216 to qualify in third place.
The finals are contested for five hours over 15 straight games and head to head with every other competitor. The bowler with the highest combined pinfall is the winner.
In a field featuring seven former champions and the defending champion, Ben started poorly with a 151 against the top qualifier. He bounced back strongly averaging 232 in the next seven games to rise to second place.
As the oil on the lane wears out, the ball starts reacting differently. Bowlers have to adjust their line, delivery angle and speed to keep hitting strikes. This is the science behind the craft a simple layman doesn’t understand.
Absolute shocker! A score of 127 in game nine sees Ben tumble down the leaderboard. Medal prospects have become tenuous.
Ignoring a cyst on the right index finger and relying furthermore on his trusty 14-pound purple hammer (imported from the US for $750 as it was no longer made) Ben finds a second wind. In the last six games he bowled 1,402 to win the title by 65 pins.
“My goal was to get to the finals, but after qualifying I wanted to hold onto third place. To win was incredible,” Ben said.
“The older guys are really supportive. I look up to them and was surprised to do so well.”
North City Tenpin is a second home for Ben. In addition to playing and training 15 hours a week he’s employed by the club to do various jobs. His parents Paul and Paulette have been avid regulars for a two decades. Paul has a best score of 247 and Paulette 199. From an accounting and finance background they married in 1994 and Paulette stopped working when her first child, Will was born.
Will is a former national age group singles champion and New Zealand representative with a best score of 258. In 2019 (while Year 10) he was the youngest boy to receive sporting colours at Hutt International Boys’ High School, an honour typically reserved for rugby players, footballers and cricketers.
Ben started bowling when he was three and was competing nationally aged seven. He soon upstaged Will which was initially a source of conflict.
“Will didn’t like it when I started beating him, but now he’s my biggest supporter. I wouldn’t have gotten through Nationals without him. Will is a great player. He keeps me honest,” Ben said.
North City owner and coach Chris Haynes and stalwart Rob Pollock (father of international rugby referee Chris Pollock) are trusted mentors. Rob accomplished his first perfect 300 game, aged 74, on a social Sunday night league in front of the kids he coaches.
“Ben is an amazing talent and basically became too good for me to coach now. He’s a very nice boy with a great attitude and work ethic,” Rob said.
Australian Jason Belmonte is the best player in the world and is unusual in using the two-handed approach, a technique whereupon the throwing hand is in the bowling ball and the opposite hand is also placed on the ball during the shot.
Following earnest YouTube study Ben abandoned the conventional single-handed style and delivered 279 in December 2019.
“The advantage I get is more revolutions on the ball and more power though the body once I perfected the technique. The single handed delivery involves a bigger back swing and can damage the thumb, but you should do what feels comfortable.
“My favorite bowler is actually Packy Hanrahan from Kansas. He’s a two-hander like me and the way he plays is really exciting. I wrote to him on Instagram not expecting a reply but he got back to me and now we communicate a bit which is really cool. When I’m older I want to go to Wichita State University where Packy went to school.”
At Nationals Ben was just 18 pins off the all-time national finals record. During lockdown a pink rubber ball with a smile on it rolled down the hallway was a loyal companion.
He has been selected in the New Zealand Under-21 team to compete at the Australian National Teams Championships in July. Before that he will contest the Australian Under 14, 18 and 21 individual Nationals. He will be accompanied by Paul and Paulette carrying multiple bags of bowling balls, apparel and specially crafted shoes.
With the boys too young to drive and many tournaments away it takes a lot of time and resources. Travel expenses are soaring but with a kitten named Tenpin, through strikes and gutters, ups and down, Ben and Will Pettit are worth the commitment.
14-year-old Ava Henderson has become the second youngest winner of the Open Women’s Division of the New Zealand Surfing Championships.
The Avonside Girls’ High School Christchurch surfer running away with the win posting a 14.03 point heat total to add to her earlier title in the Under 18 Girls Division. Henderson built on her scores throughout the Open Women’s Division Final posting her best score, a 7.2 on her final wave.
“I started to believe I could win when I got a five and I only needed another five to lead and I had already got that score and I hadn’t actually surfed to my potential. I knew if I got a few good turns in, I could get a six or higher you know. Then when I was leading toward the end, all I wanted was for the time to speed up because I had priority and I knew I could control the final” said Henderson.
“I am so stoked on the win, I can’t really believe but yeah. I mean my goal was to win the 16s at this event and do well in the 18s, I wasn’t actually going to do the opens but I convinced mum to let me, and now I have won” said Henderson who also claimed the overall Standout Performance of the event for her efforts across the week.
Henderson defeated Gabrielle Paul (Piha) in the final, Paul led the final early before being eclipsed by Henderson. Defending Champion Aimee Brown (Grt Barrier) finished third in the final ahead of local surfer Hayley Pascoe (Dun).
Junior Divisions were won by local grom Alexis Owen and Amarnie Barber (Aus) in the Under 14s, Barber defending her title. One of the form surfers of the week, Finn Vette (Gis), won the Under 16 Boys Division as did Liv Haysom (Piha) in the Girls Division.
The Under 18 Boys Division was won by Jack Lee (Whaka) who beat Tom Butland (Tara) in the final. Ava Henderson claimed her first title of the day in the Under 18 Girls Division defeating Georgia Wederell (Mnt).
Final results from day six of the Health 2000 National Surfing Championships completed at St Clair Beach, Dunedin today (Saturday 11th January 2020):
Open Women’s Division Semifinals
Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 13.7, 1, Hayley Pascoe (Dun), 11.4, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 11.3, 3, Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), 10.1, 4
Ava Henderson (Chch), 13.7, 1, Aimee Brown (GB), 11, 2, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 10.9, 3, Brie Bennett (Rag), N/S, 4
Open Women’s Division Final
Ava Henderson (Chch), 14.03, 1, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 11.2, 2, Aimee Brown (GB), 8.4, 3, Hayley Pascoe (Dun), 7.83, 4
Under 18 Boys Division Final
Jack Lee (Whaka), 12.6, 1, Tom Butland (Tara), 11.44, 2, Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 11.14, 3, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 8.54, 4
Under 16 Boys Division Final
Finn Vette (Gis), 15.5, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 11.03, 2, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 10.8, 3, Navryn Malone (Rag), 10.44, 4
Under 14 Boys Division Final
Alexis Owen (Dun), 11.43, 1, Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 10.6, 2, Ryder Pennington (Tara), 10.04, 3, Karne Gabbot (Dun), 8.77, 4
Under 18 Girls Division Final
Ava Henderson (Chch), 13.9, 1, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 8.9, 2, Leah Wilson (Chch), 8.03, 3, Amarnie Barber (Aus), 7.07, 4
Under 16 Girls Division Final
Liv Haysom (Piha), 11.47, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 11.33, 2, Ava Henderson (Chch), 11.3, 3, Anna Brock (Mnt), 10.93, 4
Under 14 Girls Division Final
Amarnie Barber (Aus), 11.66, 1, Misha Peyroux (Dun), 7.36, 2, Jess Haysom (Piha), 6.33, 3, Poppy Pennington (Tara), 3.47, 4
Under 14 Boyd Division Final
Alexis Owen (Dun), 11.43, 1, Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 10.6, 2, Ryder Pennington (Tara), 10.04, 3, Karne Gabbot (Dun), 8.77, 4
Under 14 Girls Division Final
Amarnie Barber (Aus), 11.66, 1, Misha Peyroux (Dun), 7.36, 2, Jess Haysom (Piha), 6.33, 3, Poppy Pennington (Tara), 3.47, 4
The final act of the 2019 New Zealand secondary schools sporting calendar also promises to be one of the most hotly contested of the year when the country’s leading Girls, Boys and Mixed touch schools descend on Rotorua for the NZSS Nationals.
Last year Dunedin’s Columba College were crowned touch national champions for the first time – and were the first Otago school to win the title.
They return to this year’s touch nationals in buoyant mood and excited by the opportunity to defend their title, said this year’s captain and senior New Zealand player Meg Sycamore.
“It is exciting to be going away to defend our title,” she said. “We have been training hard and obviously the goal is to go and win again but we just want to go away and enjoy ourselves by playing as well as we can and then hopefully the results will take care of themselves.”
Meg said that there is a good balance of new and returning players heading to Rotorua.
“We have been training with a squad of about 18 girls but we are taking 15 away with us. Our team has been building since I was year 9 and we lost several girls at the end of last year.
“Our team for this year’s nationals comprises about seven year 13s and a group of year 12s and a couple of year 10s, as well as a couple of youngsters and these players will be the future of the game for our school.”
As well as training and playing in a competitive weekly module, some of Columba’s preparation involves playing games against nearby St Hilda’s Collegiate, who are the other Dunedin girls school going to nationals, and the South Otago High School Mixed team and John McGlashan College boys side, also both going.
“Playing against the Mixed and Boys teams really tests us, which is good for us,” affirmed Meg.
“We have also just started this new competition called the Otago Premier League (OPL) and this is club-based. This is beneficial for us individually as we are playing with different people and against each other in live game situations.”
Those in touch (and netball) circles need no introduction to Meg’s talent. In the space of a few months since the middle of this year, she played for the inaugural New Zealand Warriors women's touch team playing in the NRL Touch Premiership across New Zealand and Australia, the Senior NZ Women’s Touch team at the World Cup in Malaysia and in the South Island team that won the inaugural Premier Touch League competition.
Most recently, Meg’s Premier Touch League Te Waipounamu (South Island) side played against three North Island teams over four weekends in a new national series featuring the country’s leading players.
Te Waipounamu beat the Manukau Rovers in the final last weekend. Meg was the only school aged player that played in this decider, and she was one of three current schoolgirls in the wider squad along with Amelia Scully and Brooke McAlwee.
The team was co-captained by Columba College’s Sports Director and coach and New Zealand Women’s captain Dayna Turnbull and also included some old girls such as last year’s NZSS tournament winning captain McKayler Moore.
Meg was her team’s MVP from the series and voted the overall player of the series throughout the country after being named player of the finals round.
In May, Meg played in the Senior NZ team were beaten finalists by Australia at the Touch World Cup in Malaysia.
“That was so cool because it was my biggest tournament playing at the top level.
“It was also really great playing against different countries and against so many different styles of touch that were new to me.”
Meg was one of three current school players in the New Zealand team, along with Jaymie Kolose (Saint Kentigern College) and Princess Elliot (Mount Albert Grammar School).
The stint with the NRL Warriors team followed.
“There were games at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland and overseas. It was so cool playing in these big stadiums. Because the NRL games were played straight after, the field was shorter and narrower and it changed the style of the touch and that was cool.”
Living in Dunedin, Meg is no stranger to travel.
“I have had so much time off school this year. At the very least I have had 15 trips away for sport this year.”
Through it all, she has been the deputy head girl at Columba and knuckled down academically as she plans on starting a double law degree at Otago University in 2020. Meg was named best all-round student at the Columba College Prizegiving, receiving the highly sought after Fergus Ring.
Plus fitting in her other major sport – netball.
This year the centre/wing attack was a training partner for the Netball South Beko team and played for her school as much as possible.
“This year I couldn’t do as much for the netball team because of my touch commitments. I was also in the New Zealand U19 team but then I got injured before Nationals so I didn’t actually get to go to that, which was a setback.
“But now I have made the off-season training team for the BEKO team for next year.”
It was a bittersweet year for Columba College’s Senior A netball team, who won the Otago Secondary Schools competition for the first time in several years but fell to ninth in the SISS tournament, four spots shy of qualifying for nationals.
“Some could say we peaked too early for the SISS tournament.”
Columba was also beset by injuries, while the tournament in Nelson was moved outdoors after two days as the venue was double booked by the Zone 4 basketball qualifying tournament.
Meg has also played other sports to a high level, including athletics but she won’t be attending this weekend’s NZSS Track & Field meet in Wellington.
She also coached Columba College’s Junior A touch team in 2019 for the second straight year.
“They recently lost to St Hilda’s in the final of the Otago tournament but played really well.
Coaching is something that interests Meg in the future. “I have also been assisting coaching the Otago U18 Girls team with Dayna, which is really exciting for me.”
“I think coaching makes you see the game in a different way. When you go to play you are better for it.”
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