SAS NZ Touch Secondary School Championships Girls MVP Tori Kolose said that Saint Kentigern College’s win at last weekend’s national tournament was hugely satisfying.
“This was our third time lucky in a final, after being beaten finalists in both 2013 and 2014,” Year 11 St Kent’s student Tori told College Sport Media.
“We wanted to do well, for the coaches, supporters and the school. We not only wanted to make history but also create good memories”
Tori was in previous St Kent’s teams that had lost finals to Mount Albert Grammar School in 2013 and to Rangitoto College in 2014.
So it was with joy on Sunday when they overcame poor weather and slippery conditions to beat Southland Girls’ High School 7-2 in the semi-final and then Hamilton Girls’ High School 4-3 in this year’s final.
“I’m very proud of the girls and how we played in the finals. We stuck to our game-plan which was to drive hard and defend strong. We have speed and girls who can chuck a long ball so we wanted to utilise both these things. The younger players in our team all stepped up and did their jobs well.
“We played against Hamilton Girls’ High School in a pool game the day before and lost to them, so we went into the final knowing what we had to do to beat them.”
They made a fast start to the final. “We knew we had to start well, which we did by scoring two really good tries. At halftime we knew we had to come out stronger, especially on defence.”
Tori added that every match was tough. “Every game we played was like a final. The calibre of girls touch at this tournament has definitely got stronger.”
She said her that the preparations for winning the national title started back in February. “That’s when we set our goals for this. We also won the Auckland regionals in March for the first time. Once winter codes finished for the year we got straight into it. The two fitness trainings and two field trainings we had each per week paid off.”
Tori, her younger sister Jamie, Lisa Putt (both Year 9s), Mererangi Paul and Sydney Fraser (both Year 12s) were all named in the tournament team after the final.
As well as that, Tori, Sydney and Mererangi have made the New Zealand Open Women’s Touch training squad, to be selected for the Touch Blacks. They have a training camp in early January and from there a squad of 16 gets selected for the team to play in the Trans-Tasman series in Auckland in April.
For several girls in the national champion St Kent’s team, Touch isn’t their only sport at an elite school level. Tori, Mererangi, Sydney and Touch captain Christina Oscar were all in the Premier netball team that was defeated 35-41 at the National Secondary School Netball Championships in Ashburton in October.
Tori, whose main position is wing defence, also made the Auckland U17 and the Auckland Maori U19 netball teams this year.
She’s also good at athletics, but joked that she has “retired”, adding that it’s too time consuming. “Athletics kind of clashes with the touch and netball so I have put it on hold at the moment.”
Her main event is the 200m and the 400m. In 2013, aged 13, she finished sixth at the New Zealand U18 400m Championships.
Touch teammate Lisa Putt recently won the Junior Girls’ Triple Jump title at the NZ Secondary School Athletics Championships in Timaru.
Tori is off school at the moment enjoying her summer break, recharging her batteries for another big sporting year in 2016, which all starts in early January with the Counties Manukau U17 Touch team and the Touch Blacks training squad camp.
The 2015 SAS Touch Secondary Schools Girls Tournament Team is: Abbey Johnston (St Hilda’s Collegiate), Ariana Ieremia (Hamilton Girls’ High School), Hope Fraser (Hamilton Girls High School), Kiana Beattie (Hamilton Girls High High), Jamie Kolose (St Kentigern College), Krystal Leger-Walker (St Peter’s Cambridge), Lisa Putt (St Kentigern College), Mererangi Paul (St Kentigern College), Moanekah Vo’ai (Mount Albert Grammar School), Patricia Hopecroft (Southland Girls’ High School), Sydney Fraser St (Kentigern College), Teniaka Willison (Hamilton Girls’ High School), Tori Kolose (St Kentigern College), Victoria Pone (Mount Albert Grammar School), Violet Hape Wise( Hamilton Girls’ High School), Jazmin Hotham (Hamilton Girls’ High School).
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand