After finishing runners-up to Waikato rivals Cambridge High School in each of the past two years, the Epsom Girls’ Grammar team were celebrating their maiden NZSS Girls Lacrosse title at Whangaparoa over this past weekend.
Year 13 player and attacker Nikki Fordyce spoke about the team’s weekend. “After our previous second placed finishes, our goal was to win and it was awesome for us to take it out the first time,” said Nikki who was also the MVP in the final.
The final against Cambridge HS was tense and tight. “We won 9-8 so it was a close result. We were winning by 9-3 at one stage, before they came back after halftime and ended up coming back but we still held on for the win.”
In the semi-final they beat their close Auckland rivals Mount Roskill Grammar School, after winning all three pool games on day one. In fact EGGS were unbeaten all year.
“We played in the Auckland league every Thursday and also in a regional tournament where we played a lot of quick-fire games against everyone. We won both, and we were undefeated in all our games the whole season.”
Nikki and Caitlin Dellow are the co-captains of a team of mixed ages. “We have a got a good base of players with younger players and seniors all playing together.”
Many of the EGGS players are also Auckland senior and age grade provincial and New Zealand players.
Nikki recently played in the New Zealand Women’s Team that finished eighth out of 25 teams at the Women’s World Cup in Guildford, England. Next up is the World U19 Championships in Canada in two years, with New Zealand currently ranked fifth at U19 level.
Nikki has her sights set on making the U19 national side. She has been playing lacrosse since year 9, and has a background in football, while her grandmother is a former captain of the New Zealand Women’s hockey team.
As well as playing for New Zealand teams, there are scholarship opportunities in American universities where the sport is played competitively at college level.
Nikki’s year 12 EGGS teammate and specialist midfielder Harriet Overend, also in the recent Women’s World Cup team, has already secured her future with a scholarship already in place when she leaves school at Villanova University in Philadelphia and has already been over there several times to train and play.
The tools of the trade for a lacrosse player their goggles and lacrosse stick, while mouthguards are essential in a high energy, competitive game, that is officially a non-contact sport in the female game. “In the lead-up to the World Cup, we had a few girls with concussion, and you get a lot of bruises on your arm,” said Harriet.
As well as lacrosse Harriet is also an equestrian rider and has played football as well. Like Nikki she has also been playing lacrosse since she started EGGS in year 9.
Both Nikki and Harriet said one of the secrets to their success is their head coach Rosie Gunn, who was the Assistant Coach at the recent World Cup coach and the recently appointed New Zealand U19 Head coach.
Both are in the Auckland team. “Nikki and I have both played for the Auckland senior women’s team for the last two years, and earlier this year we won.”
The growth of women’s lacrosse in New Zealand has largely been in Waikato and Auckland, but Hariett said it is expanding. “There is a Wellington U18 team coming to our upcoming tournament, while some girls from up north are bringing the game to Canterbury, “added Harriet.
The Epsom Girls Grammar lacrosse squad that won the NZSS tournament was:
At the end of this month a group of young New Zealanders will be putting their best foot forward at the IFSC World Youth Climbing Championships.
Amongst them is Hutt Valley High School year 12 student Ben Hubmann, and he can’t wait. “We’re leaving next Tuesday for the worlds in Innsbruck in Austria, so I’m pretty excited to head over and mix it with the best climbers in the world,” he extolled. The New Zealand team will be competing with 779 climbers representing some 40 countries.
This coming weekend, Ben and the rest of the team that is heading to Austria descend on the Extreme Edge West Gym in Glen Eden Auckland for the 2017 Lead Climbing Nationals.
There are three disciplines in competitive climbing, speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering.
Ben is competing in the second two in Austria, lead climbing and bouldering.
“Speed climbing is pretty straightforward, it is all about getting to the top fastest,” Ben explained. “Ever since they developed this there has only ever been one speed route that is internationally recognised.”
“Lead climbing is with ropes and that is based on how high you get and the route gets harder the further you go.”
Bouldering is performed without the use of ropes and harnesses and involves climbing a four and a half mete wall with just a mat on the ground as a crash pad.
“Bouldering is very problem solving, you need to think of creative solutions. Bouldering differs from lead climbing also in that you can only have one attempt for your climb, once you have fallen off that’s your attempt.”
Before the event, none of the competitors will have seen the wall they are climbing, and none get to see others compete to avoid copying what others do.
With a number of climbing walls in most New Zealand urban centres, the sport has been growing over the past several years. Given its nature, it’s a young person’s sport, with 90 percent of climbers aged 20 or younger.
Ben trains regularly at the Hangdog Climbing Centre in Alicetown in Lower Hutt.
He carries some of his own equipment. “I have my own harness, my own climbing shoes and my own chalk bag – those are the main things."
How did he get into his sport? “I went with my parents a couple of times and enjoyed it. One of my friends did it as part of his birthday party and the instructor told me that I should come and join and from there I got to where I am now.”
He’s also keen on outdoor climbing. “But it’s windy and cold in Wellington and you’ve got to get a ride out to where the rock is, so it’s tricky.” The rock in Wellington is on the southeast and southwest coasts and up around the Titahi Bay/Pukerua Bay coast, while there’s lots of places around New Zealand like Paynes Ford in Golden Bay, and in Canterbury and up in Waikato.”
An outdoor climbing road trip appeals. “Especially in summer, a main goal is to go on a good long trip, that is the best part of it - that is what indoor climbing is about, trying to replicate that.”
Climbing is now an Olympic Sport – with the chance of representing New Zealand at the Olympics now a clear goal for Ben and his teammates.
“The Youth Olympics next year in Buenous Aires will be the first time at Olympic Level and then will be a sport at Tokyo in 2020.”
Initially, just 20 males and 20 females will earn selection for the Olympics, but the sport can only grow from there.
The New Zealand team attending the IFSC Youth World Championships:
Junior Female (U20): Lucy Whitehead (former Napier Girls’ High School)
Youth A Male (U18): Ben Hubmann (Hutt Valley High School), Joe Dravitski (St Thomas of Canterbury College), Josh Cornah (St Andrew’s College)
Youth B Male (U16): Luke Gardner (Rotorua Lakes High School), Matthew Jones (New Plymouth Boys’ High School)
“I don’t really train or play against my sister. She is a couple of years younger than me, but she is definitely getting better,” Corbin Faint says when asked about his sister's squash ability.
Annaleise refutes that claim and was motivated to play the sport because of Corbin’s success.
“We’re both really competitive and I was resentful of Corbin’s success. I decided to play to try and beat Corbin,” Annaleise laughs.
The fierce sibling rivalry has driven both to great heights. Corbin has been named captain of the New Zealand Secondary Schools team for the upcoming Trans-Tasman series, while Annaleise is ranked No.1 in the girls team for the series that takes place in Rorckhampton from 21-24 August.
Corbin has enjoyed previous success against the Aussies.
“I have played in two series where we play Queensland and New South Wales first before they combine to become Australia. I have won all of my matches and was captain last year, Corbin reflects.
Annaleise earned her National honours after helping Palmerston North Girls’ High School win their third consecutive National title. Girls' High didn't drop a single game at the tournament accounting for Napier Girls’ High School 5-0 in the final.
“Were really lucky to have a lot of depth. Our fourth and fifth seeds are really competitive with our top seeds. That isn’t the case in some of the other teams,” Annaleise acclaims.
Boys’ High matched their pre-tournament seeding and finished third at the boys tourney behind St. Paul’s Collegiate and Westlake Boys’ High School.
Corbin started squash at the behest of his uncle and achieved a major breakthrough when he won the Oceania under-15 title. Annaleise finished second at the National under-15 championships. Both have been well served by the same coaches, despite contrasts in their style.
Initially the pair was coached by Kashif Shuja, a five-time National champion who was ranked as high as 34th in the world. Shuja helped build fitness and a passion for the game. National high performance mentor Nick Mita has now taken over helping improve technical aspects of the Faint’s game.
“I’m a hustler and back myself to outlast my opponents. I enjoy working hard work,” Corbin says.
Annaleise prefers a more exuberant approach.
“I like short rallies and taking control of the point straight away. I like to be smarter than my opponents.”
The NZSSSA Trans-Tasman team for the upcoming series is:
Senior Boys:Lwamba Chileshe, Temwa Chileshe, Corbin Faint, Sean Dykes, Angus MacDonald, Glenn Templeton (Reserve)
Senior Girls: Annaleise Faint, Iyra Stewart, Taylor Clarke, Amy Hroscroft, Jess Dean, Amelia Wadsworth (Reserve)
Junior Boys: Elijah Thomas, Ben Tomlinson, Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist, Mason Smales, Sam Kelly, Devlin Gurr (Reserve)
Junior Girls: Anna O'Connor, Jena Gregory, Alex Harding, Katie Templeton, Sam Harding, Dileesia Henare (Reserve)
Next week is a massive one in the Super 8 with the hockey and basketball tourneys happening. The hockey is being hosted by Gisborne while the basketball is staged in Rotorua.
Hamilton has been the power base of New Zealand Secondary Schools hockey in recent years. St. Paul’s Collegiate are the reigning Rankin Cup champions and prior to that Hamilton Boys’ High School had won the title twice.
In 2017 the Waikato region again appears to be the pace-setting region. Heading into the Super 8, Hamilton BHS is 12-0 and leading the Waikato Secondary Schools Championship. Additionally Hamilton was the only team to win all five games at the ANZAC hockey festival in April which featured three of the top four sides from the 2016 Rankin Cup.
Hamilton are superbly led by midfielder Tim Nield in his fourth Super 8. Nield is a dynamic midfielder who has represented the Junior Blacksticks and both the Midlands U18&21 squads. Brad Coxon is another real threat.
Palmerston North Boys’ High School are a perennial contenders having won in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Longtime coach Bruce Kensington departed at the end of 2015, but six wins from seven games and a India Shield triumph at Nationals last year shows the program is still in good shape.
Hastings Boys’ High School have enjoyed notable wins over King’s College and Wellington College in April and locally have beaten Napier BHS and Lindisfarne College. If Hastings are consistent they could threaten. Their key players are Hamish Gilbert and Central U18 rep Sachan Dadrah.
Similarly New Plymouth Boys’ High School have experienced mixed form. Losses to Auckland Grammar School (4-2), Hamilton BHS (3-2) and Palmerston North BHS (4-1) were offset by easy victories over local rivals Francis Douglas Memorial College and Wanganui Collegiate.
Players to watch in the New Plymouth roster include Branden Russ, a young Year 11 striker who is very elusive and deceptive with his dribbling skill and speed. Tom Nicholls is a workmanlike defender who will prove tough to foil in the back field.
For More Click Here: http://www.super8.co.nz/page/hockey-2017/
Palmerston North Boys’ High School are the overwhelming favourites to win the Super 8 basketball tourney at Rotorua Boys’ High School next week.
Palmerston North lost the 2016 National final by a solitary point on a miraculous three-pointer, but have retained most of their roster from that setback and have started 2017 in rampant form winning 23 out of 25 games.
Palmerston North is stacked with National representatives. Rangimarie Mita, Oscar Oswald, Tama Fa’amausili and Cooper Boyce-Towler are all New Zealand Under-18 reps while seven-footer Callum McRae is a Junior Tall Black and will almost certainly head to the US on scholarship next year.
Who could challenge Palmerston North?
Hastings Boys` High School always produce a competitive team and 2017 will be no exception. Under the astute coaching of Curtis Wooten, Hastings have developed a reputation as the `best small team in New Zealand.` Hastings play a high speed game that relies on skill rather than height and power to succeed.
However in Isaiah Jones they have a big man of genuine quality. Jones represented New Zealand at the 3×3 World Championships recently.
Napier Boys’ High School are the defending champions and have retained former Tall Fern Kirstin Daly-Taylor as coach. Tyrese Davies who made the 2016 Super 8 tournament team is a key player.
Hosts Rotorua Boys’ High School are a long way off the standard which saw them make the final in 2015 and lose a National semi-final by a solitary point to eventual National Champions, Rangitoto College.
Pool A consists of: Napier BHS, Hamilton BHS, Palmerston North BHS and Rotorua BHS. Pool B features New Plymouth BHS, Tauranga BC, Hastings BHS and Gisborne BHS.
Hastings were the first winners in 1998 and the most frequent champions with five titles. New Plymouth BHS have prevailed four times since 2010 while Palmerston North last won in 2008.
For more information Click Here: http://www.super8.co.nz/page/basketball-2017/
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