Adventure racing is a fast growing sport in many schools, with several leading events around the country on the secondary schools calendar for competitors to train for and compete in.
One of these is the New Zealand Secondary Schools Adventure Racing Championships that was held in Cromwell this past Saturday.
The 14th annual NZSS Adventure Race attracted a number of four-person school teams from throughout the South Island and also some North Island schools including from as far north as Whangarei.
The one-day race mixed core disciplines of mountain biking, walking/running, kayaking, abseiling and navigation, with mental agility as well as physical fitness a core requirement for success.
The teams competed together in Boys, Girls and Mixed divisions. Mount Aspiring College won the Boys, Cashmere High School won the Girls and St Andrew’s College took out the Mixed division.
The Mount Aspiring College Boys team won in 6 hours 58 minutes, with StAC’s Mixed team finishing in 7 hours and 19 minutes and Cashmere High School’s Girls team recording 8 hours and 12 minutes.
The winning Mount Aspiring team of three year 12s, Campbell Wright, Laurie Watson and Jack Findlay had started adventure racing in year 10 together and pulled in Zach Smith (year 11) for the South Island adventure race two weeks prior.
They have competed against each other in triathlon but trained together for that with excellent coaches including Chris Waugh from Mt Aspiring Tri Club and Val Burke of Peak Endurance. They were very organised and worked really well as a team, breaking away from the pack only 200m into the start of the ride in the 6am darkness for a 5 minute lead at TA1.
That all blew to bits during the trek when CP1 proved difficult to locate though and the front teams were all searching for it together, after finding it they all left there together and Mt Aspiring knew they had to push hard to regain the lead.
Laurie made a brave navigational decision to take them up a high point which meant they then had the benefit of moving fast down a farm track. Their lead grew from there back on the mountain bikes with Campbell as motivator driving them ever onwards and the team supporting each other through the low points of racing. Abseiling, an orienteering leg and then kayaking left them with a solid win.
StAC’s team were third across the line, behind the leading two Boys team finishers, Mount Aspiring College and Cashmere High School (seniors) and ahead of the third Boys team, Cashmere High School (juniors).
The event started with a 12km mountain bike ride from Cromwell College up into the hills behind Bannockburn to the first transition.
From there, they did a trek gaining over 1000m in elevation finding and picking up several checkpoints along the way. This took the leading teams between three to three and a half hours.
The third leg saw the teams transitioning back to mountain bikes, then winding their way across the top of the mountain and back into Bannockburn. This took approximately and hour and a half on average.
Back down at headquarters, competitors then dropped their bikes and were asked to run about 1km up the hill and then do an abseil down a rock face and run back again.
Next they were given an orienteering card with 11 checkpoints on it, which they had to go away and complete. This took teams about an hour.
The final leg saw the four-person teams split into two-person kayaks and kayak 8-9km back into Cromwell, picking up three checkpoints on the way.
StAC’s team consisted of three boys and one girl.
Their team captain was Henry Spark (year 12), who was part of the StAC’s team that won the schools Coast to Coast race in February.
“One key to doing well in this team event is that you need someone who can read maps really well,” said StAC’s teacher in charge Greg Thompson. “So he was the navigator. If you don’t have a navigator you can spend a lot more time just trying to work out where to go [as happened, see above]. You have got to be thinking the whole time.
“Most teams have a dedicated navigator, and other team members have different roles. So someone might be in charge of eating and drinking properly and someone else with equipment and so on.”
In these races, teams know what to train for and prepare for, but are only given the course map the night before, so they can go away and study and plan their route as best as they can before the race the next morning.
The other three members of StAC’s team were Molly Spark (year 11, related to Henry but not his sister), Tom Wells (year 12) and Ben Ferrier (year 11).
StAC’s preparation for the NZSS race included competing in the South Island Secondary Schools race a fortnight ago in Gore – although it was with a completely different team.
“We finished second in that one, and had a year 10 and a year 11. The other students competing this past weekend were doing a mountain bike race in Hamner instead.”
Cashmere High School had six teams competing at the event. The winning girls team, Charlotte Doogue, Lilly van Keulen, Nina MacDonald and Eva Elliot, will be joined by athletes from the top Boys team Neal Hay and Will Sherratt in Cashmere's Hillary Challenge team early next term.
One of the next events coming up for school teams is one of the two annual Hillary Challenge 6-hour races.
This year's 6-hour races are in the North Island (In Rotorua on 23 June) and in the South Island (in Geraldine on 26 May). These are qualifiers for the Hillary Challenge final at the Tongariro Centre in the central North Island in 2020.
The 19th annual challenge to find the top Secondary School Outdoor Adventure Team in New Zealand - from teams that qualified from the 6-hour races last year - will take place 29 April – 3 May.
The 5-day Torpedo7 Hillary Challenge is held each year at Hillary Outdoors Tongariro, and is only open to a total of 12 teams, each consisting of 8 students from Year 12 or 13. The teams will be scored on their skill, speed and endurance during a 5-day series of outdoor adventure challenges, including a 2-day rogaine style wilderness expedition and a multisport race on the final day.
Schools that have qualified for the 2019 final are;
Whangarei Girls and Boys High (Whangarei)
New Plymouth Girls and Boys High Schools (Taranaki)
Motueka High School (Motueka)
Cambridge High School (Cambridge)
St Pauls Collegiate (Hamilton)
Macleans College (Auckland)
Westlake Girls and Boys High Schools (Auckland)
Middleton Grange (Christchurch)
Golden Bay High School (Golden Bay)
Cashmere High (Christchurch)
Francis Douglas/Sacred Heart (Taranaki)
Waimea College (Nelson)
NZSS Adventure Racing Championships, Cromwell 30 March 2019, top three placegetters from each grade:
1st: Mount Aspiring College
2nd: Cashmere High School (seniors)
3rd: Cashmere High School (juniors)
1st: Cashmere High School
2nd: Whangarei Girls’ High School
3rd: Columba College
1st: St Andrew’s College
2nd: Mount Aspiring College
3rd: Cromwell College
Pakuranga College took out the 2019 NZSS Baseball Championships at the tournament at nearby Lloyd Ellsemore Park in Auckland over Summer Tournament Week.
Pakuranga beat One Tree Hill College in a tense and nail-biting final – winning 12-11.
Individually, Jayden Ruhe was named the tournament’s Best Batter and Traye Wildbore was named Player of the Tournament. These two Pablo Montano were named in the tournament team from Pakuranga College.
Pakuranga won the tournament after recovering from a first-up 6-11 loss to Auckland Grammar School.
Gold - Pakuranga College
Silver – One Tree Hill College
Bronze – Auckland Grammar
Top hitter – Jayden Ruhe (Pakuranga College)
Top pitcher – Taiki Yamada (One Tree Hill College)
MVP – Traye Wildbore (Pakuranga College)
Right now, Alice Robinson is probably the hottest ticket in New Zealand secondary school sport.
Last week at the season ending senior elite ski racing [FIS Alpine] World Cup Finals in Andorra, Alice finished second in the giant slalom - a massive achievement.
There was little time for celebration, leaving the snow the following day and boarding a plane bound for home and back to a normal teenaged life as a year 13 student at Wakatipu High School in Queenstown.
“I am back home at school now, but will probably be going to America in May to a camp in California, but I will do a few blocks in New Zealand during the winter and then prepare for the World Cup season that starts in October in Europe," says Alice.
Alice was in illustrious company on the podium in Andorra last week, and she admits it is still sinking in.
“Winner Mikaela Shiffrin is the current Olympic champion and World Cup champion for giant slalom and then the skier who finished third behind me, Petra Vlhova, is the the current World Champion – so it is quite good company," Alice modestly acclaims.
The season ending World Cup finals in Andorra saw the top ranked giant slalom women from the season come together for the event. Alice earned her World Cup finals entry by winning the giant slalom at the Junior World Championships last month.
“Normally there is about 70 in the field, but this is World Cup finals and only the top 20 are invited and I also got invited because of winning World Juniors, so I was running last.”
Remarkably, Alice, the youngest competitor in the field, skied down the course after all the others to record the third fastest time after the first run of two, before putting in a sizzling second run to finish in the silver medal position and finish just .0.30s behind world number one Shiffrin of the USA and ahead of Slovakian Petra Vlhova.
Above: Watch Alice Robinson's second run in Andorra last week, that saw her climb from third to second in the season-ending event. Big crowds at the bottom of the course and lots of New Zealand support.
This was New Zealand’s first World Cup medal in 17 years. What does she attribute this stunning success to?
“I have been skiing really well and my training has been going well. I knew it was possible, but I knew I had to put down a really good run so it was pretty exciting,” says Alice.
After finding herself in contention halfway through the event, what was Alice thinking? “People asked me if I was nervous but I was more just excited because I knew it was a really great opportunity and whatever happened it was still going to be an awesome result so I just tried to keep calm and have some fun.”
Alice said it was also special to be crowned Junior World Champion a few weeks previously – the first time a New Zealander has won a junior world title in alpine ski racing.
“The World Juniors was where I was based in Italy in the Dolomites, so it was really cool to win that. After the first run I was 0.9s behind the leader, and then I had another good run and managed to win.”
She recorded the fastest time on the second run to win the Junior World Giant Slalom title by 1.06s, with Swiss and Norweigan skiers second and third.
Prior to winning the Junior World Championships, she finished second at European Cup giant slalom races in Berchtesgaden, Germany on 9 and 10 February, followed by a 17th place finish at the senior World Championships in Are, Sweden.
“That event in Sweden was a breakthrough for me, I started in 38th and had the fastest second run.”
Last year, then 16-year-old Alice was selected as New Zealand’s youngest ever Winter Olympian, beating her teammate Nico Porteous for that honour.
She was selected for the Winter Olympics in Korea after being ranked 67th in the world. 2018 giant slalom gold medallist Mikaela Shiffrin is the only other athlete in FIS history who has progressed as fast as Alice did in her first year as a FIS athlete. Alice finished 35th of the 58 skiers who completed the women’s giant slalom.
In 2017 Alice won the U16 giant slalom, finished second in slalom in Slovenia, and was also the winner of the US U16 National Championship giant slalom.
Alice says the Olympic Games and subsequent success of Nico Porteous and Zoe Sadowski-Synott in snowboarding has also motivated her.
“It is really cool to have New Zealand doing well in snow sports, because we are pretty small here compared to Europe and North America and it is pretty exciting to have more competing across the board.”
Perhaps what is even more remarkable about Alice’s rise to the top in elite women’s ski racing, is her background. While most of the top Europeans are born into alpine climates, Alice’s early years were far removed from the snow.
“I was born in Sydney and moved to New Zealand when I was four.”
Moving to Queenstown, her family started skiing at nearby Coronet Peak. “I joined the racing programme and started from there.”
On the World Cup circuit, Alice is based in Italy and competes most weekends. Her Italian-based coach Chris Knight is a kiwi but other New Zealanders are few and far between. “There is one other New Zealander competing on the World Cup, but I am based with an international group and we travel together.”
Do her parents watch her race? “Yes, they came over a couple of times this past season and watched me race, they were over for the World Juniors.”
Giant slalom is her main focus. “I also have had some good results from Super G, which has bigger turns, and slalom as well.” The weekend before her season ending second place, she finished second in a Super G World Cup event in Italy.
There’s no skiing in New Zealand for a few months, but Alice admits she is already gazing up at the mountain with regularity “My house is right underneath Coronet Peak so I kind of look at that a lot, and the same while I am school.”
Alice also has a background in other sports, and has played competitive netball in Queenstown/Southland and has played football and also rippa rugby when she was younger. Following her short break, she will soon start going to the gym for a few hours a day most days of the week.
Alice Robinson – a year of firsts:
Bradley Mcdowell (Whanganui High School) has won the third annual Junior Rural Sportsperson of the Year Award.
McDowell first started cowboy shooting at 12 years old, and has been New Zealand junior champion in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
He is currently New Zealand North Island overall men's champion, New Zealand overall men's champion, Wyoming State junior champion, 2018 World junior champion, 2018 World’s fastest junior cowboy title, and is currently ranked seventh in the World overall men's Championships.
McDowell achieved his world title at the age of 16 and is youngest New Zealand shooter to do so.
His goal is to become the world's number one shooter and to get more young people introduced to the sport in New Zealand.
The award was presented by Olympic and Commonwealth Games triathlete Tony Dodds.
The other finalists were equestrian Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupō-nui-a-Tia College, 2018) and harness racer Sheree Tomlinson (Darfield High School, 2016).
Burnett-Grant won the 2018 Olympic Cup, the Premier League Series and a World Cup event, and placed in the top three in the 2018-19 FEI World Cup Series.
Tomlinson has made a big impression in a short space of time in harness racing. She dominated the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in Australia. She led from the early stages, takin both Well Fancied and Rough Chance horses to victory to gain maximum points. This followed her history-making win in the 2017 Dominion Handicap – New Zealand’s most famous race for trotting horses.
Caleb Cutmore was back home and out surfing as soon as possible after his Billabong Grom Series win In Piha this past weekend.
Caleb and his friends and schoolmates from the Raglan Surf Academy are out surfing most days of the year. What’s more, they get to surf in school time.
“There are 16 in our class at the surf academy at Raglan Area School, and we mix in with the rest of the school,” Caleb explains.
“But at quarter to two every day we go out surfing instead of sitting in a classroom, Surfing takes up two of our class times. We learn about surfing in the classroom and then we go out and do it!”
Caleb is just starting level 3 NCEA and is doing four subjects and has been at Raglan Area School since the start of last year after previously attending Hamilton Boys’ High School.
On Saturday, the goofy footer won the third and final leg of the Grom Series to win the U18 Boys section and defend the title he won last year.
The third event of the series at Piha was scheduled for two days, but with adverse weather forecast for Sunday it was completed in one big day of surfing.
Caleb finished with a 14.27 point heat total edging out Jack Lee who pushed him for the win posting 14.07 points out of a possible 20.
This followed wins in the first leg at Mount Maunganui and a fourth in the second leg at Whangamata over the past few weeks.
The four-surfer U18 Boys final was an all-Raglan Surf Academy final, as Caleb explained.
“There was Jack Lee and Luis Southwood, both from Whakatane, and Taylor O’Leary from Muriwai in the final. We all go to school together every day. Every Tuesday morning we have a competition amongst ourselves so it was just like another one of those,” said Caleb.
“We are all pretty close. Jack got three seconds in the Grom Series - he didn’t quite win but he got close in all three legs.”
When the wider group aren’t competing against each other they are out there surfing together for fun.
“My favourite break is Manu Bay [in Raglan]. Around the headland from Raglan there is a beach called Ruapuke. It is usually way too big, but when the swell drops off it is a good size and that is a really good wave as well.
Caleb has travelled around New Zealand and overseas on surfing trips. “Last year I went on a trip with a few other guys to Fiji, no competition, just going to get good waves.”
What is the difference between just going out for a surf and surfing competitively?
“Pretty much the main difference is when you are free surfing it doesn’t really matter if you fall off, you are just learning and trying new things. But in a competition you want to land everything and complete all your waves.”
Surfing competitions are marked by judges on the beach.
“The heats throughout the event are 15 minutes, except for the final which is 20 minutes. Each wave you catch is marked out of 10 and your top two waves count. So the idea is to get two or three good waves in there and get the highest score out of 20.”
Caleb lives with his family at Raglan, having recently moved there from Hamilton.
“My everyday break is Manu Bay. Every so often I will go somewhere else, most often Manu Bay.”
Has Caleb been in any dangerous situations?
“I have seen a shark but it wasn’t a dangerous one. There has been the odd scary situation such as when we surfing across the harbour at Raglan and we left it a bit too late and we had to paddle across the harbour in pitch black.
“Last year in Fiji I surfed at a place called Restaurants and it is a sharp reef and it gets super-shallow. Luckily I didn’t come off but I cut myself slightly and it was okay, but one of the guys I was with sliced his back on the reef.”
Has he ever been caught out in big waves? “I have never been properly hurt in big waves but I have been held under for a while. But that is all just part of it.”
Late last year he represented New Zealand at the Junior World Championships at Huntington Beach, California and finished a credible 13th in the individual Boys U18 division. The event attracted 350 Boys and Girls U16 and U18 surfers from 44 countries.
“That was exciting having the whole team backing me and making a few heats alongside people who are much more well-known than I am. in New Zealand everyone is friends and knows each other but over there it is different and more serious.”
This was Caleb’s second Junior World Championships, after finishing 49th as a year 11 surfer in 2017. He hopes to earn selection for this year’s Junior World Champs, details of which haven’t been finalised yet.
He has also competed in Australia and in Brazil at the Rip Curl competition. Back home, he won the 2017 U16 Boys title and then the 2018 U18 Boys title at the [NZSS] Scholastic Surfing Championships.
What is coming up this year? “I will be competing in Australia a couple of times this year as well as doing the Surfing New Zealand Circuit and then hopefully going to the World Juniors again.”
Caleb is open about the future. “I definitely want to take my surfing as far as I can, but I might also look to go to university next year or start getting some qualifications behind me as a back-up plan.”
Like all surfers, Caleb wants to surf around the world, including at the most famous break of them all, Pipeline in Hawaii.
“Pipeline looks amazing if no one was out there. It is quite crowded. I would definitely want to surf it but it is not like I can just rock up and take any wave I want.”
The world’s top 34 surfers compete on the elite men’s World Championship tour. How attainable is that goal?
“It is a big leap up, it is a lot of hard work and plenty of years to qualify for the world tour. There are hundreds of people who are all just as good as each other fighting it out for 30 spots.”
Plus the financial hurdles to overcome to get to travel around the world chasing the best waves and competitions.
Surfing has also been given a boost by being included on the list of proposed new sports for inclusion at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
For now, Caleb is happy to spend his days finishing his last year of school and surfing everyday on one of the breaks virtually on his backdoor at Raglan.
The recent 2019 Billabong Grom Series overall champions were:
Under 18 Boys – Caleb Cutmore (Rag)
Under 18 Girls – Gabrielle Paul (Piha)
Under 16 Boys – Jayden Willoughby (Rag)
Under 16 Girls – Ava Henderson (Chch)
Under 14 Boys – Bill Byers (Piha)
Under 14 Girls – Anna Brock (Mnt)
New Zealand ski racer Alice Robinson has been crowned Junior World Champion in Giant Slalom.
The seventeen-year-old from Wakatipu High School in Queenstown went in to Tuesday night’s race at the Alpine World Junior Ski Championships in Val di Fassa, Italy as the world number one U18 racer for ladies’ GS. This is the first time a New Zealander has won a Junior World title in alpine ski racing.
“Winning is incredible,” said Robinson. “I arrived in Val di Fassa with some good results in my last races and a good experience at the World Championships in Are, but I knew that there were some really strong athletes here. I tried to stay focused and to ski to the best of my ability. Being able to win in the first race at the Junior World Championships is really incredible.”
Robinson has had a strong build up to the Junior World Championships with a win and a second-place finish at European Cup Giant Slaloms in Berchtesgaden, Germany on 9 and 10 February, followed by a 17th place finish at the senior World Championships in Are, Sweden last week.
Sitting in second place after run one, 0.9s behind Slovenian Meta Hrovat, Robinson recorded the fastest time on run two to take the win by 1.06s. A fall from Hrovat put her out of the medals, opening the way for Swiss skier Camille Rast to take the silver medal, and Norway’s Kaja Norbye the bronze.
Robinson will be back in the start gate tonight (NZT) for the Junior World Championship Slalom, along with team mate Amelia Gillard. Gillard finished 51st in the GS.
As Junior World Champion, Robinson has also earned the opportunity to compete at the World Cup finals in Andorra on 17 March.
Alice Robinson Q and A on the eve of the Junior World Cup
European You Tube channel Ski Online interviewed Alice on the mountain on the eve of the Junior World Cup this week:
How did you start skiing?
I started skiing in Queenstown back home. The mountain is a 10-minute drive from where I live, so I just started skiing up on the mountain there in the weekends.
Do you have any family that ski?
They ski but they didn’t really grow up skiing, they grew up in hot climates so they didn’t really ski that much. But when we moved to Queenstown everyone got into it.
Are you going to school in New Zealand, or how are you managing online school and ski racing?
I just go school at the local high school in Queenstown and they are really relaxed and help me out and do stuff while I am there. Then when I am not there I just focus on skiing and then when I get back I focus on school and catch-up.
When you travel, what is your team like? Are you coaching with your mum and dad or with your coach?
At the moment I am travelling with another team of girls and when I go to races I travel with them. There is another Kiwi girl who goes to most of the world cups as well.
What is your target in ski racing?
Probably to be top three in the World Cup.
What do you need to get there?
Just to work hard and keep pushing.
Have you had any injuries?
I have been safe on injuries so far – touch wood. I haven’t had any big problems like that so hopefully it continues!
Do you feel homesick, when you are so far away from home for most of the year?
Not really. I love home, but it is good to get out of New Zealand for a bit. And this year I am not really home for that long, about three months so it is not too bad.
Do you ski all-year round? Because when you are here you miss summer-time in New Zealand and then you go home and it is winter again?
My season this year in Europe, in the Northern Hemisphere, is only three months. Then I will probably only ski three months. And winters in New Zealand are not really like winters in Europe. It is not as cold and there is no snow in the towns, it is just on the mountains, so it is not too bad!
Thank you, I wish you all the best for the juniors.
Watch the full interview here:
Liam Lawson lives life in the fast lane and he is speeding up.
Lawson has won a contract with the Red Bull Junior Team.
He signed on with Red Bull on his 17th birthday but was unable to announce the news for several days.
"It is huge. I've dreamed of this since I was a kid. Out of all the Formula One teams, I've always loved Red Bull," Lawson told TVNZ.
He will be mentored by former Kiwi F1 driver Brendon Hartley who spent 2018 driving for Red Bull's development team Toro Rosso.
The former Pukekohe High School student will be based in Europe and race in the Formula European Masters series.
Signing with Red Bull means Lawson will spend time with F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly. He is one of nine drivers to sign on with the Red Bull Junior Team.
He recently won the Castrol Toyota Racing Series (TRS) and the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild.
Two years ago. Lawson won the New Zealand F1600 Championship, making him globally the youngest ever Formula Ford champion. Lawson dominated the NZ F1600 season, winning pole at every round and taking victory in 14 of the 15 championship races. He finished second in the other. He won the title on his 15th birthday.
He stepped up from karting with a string of race, event and championship wins to his name and moved into Formula First in 2015 then to winning pace in Formula Ford a year later.
Lawson attended Pukekohe High School from 2015-17, before leaving school to pick up a contract with an overseas team racing in Europe. He finished second in the German Formula 4 Championship in 2018.
The annual Coast to Coast multisport event is one of the toughest events on the New Zealand sporting calendar.
Last weekend a trio of St Andrew’s College athletes took on the Coast to Coast for the first time and comfortably won the schools race over two days.
The team of year 12 boys Ben Leech and Henry Spark and year 13 girl Fiona Murray (recent StAC student, now living in Wanaka and attending Mt Aspiring College) traversed the 243km on foot, bike and kayak in a time of just over 13 and a half hours.
They won the 3-person schools race by and hour and a half and finished seventh overall out of 61 teams overall in their category. They were also quicker than 48 of the 50 2-person teams, giving them a top 10 finish overall in the combined teams Coast to Coast races.
The other six school teams were from Aotea College, Mackenzie College, St Thomas of Canterbury College, Greymouth High School and Mt Hutt College.
Adventure racing is a growing sport at StAC. Last December they finished 5th out of 12 behind South Island winners Waimea College in the National Get2Go Finals held at the Hillary Outdoors Centre beside the Tongariro National Park.
Coming up, StAC is looking at competing at the SISS Adventure Racing Championships in Gore on 16 March and then the NZSS Adventure Racing Championships in Cromwell on 30 March.
Together, the winning team have answered these questions below about their weekend traversing the South Island.
Who did which leg of the race, how did you split the race up between you?
Fiona started with the 2.2k run off the beach, which Ben then followed with a 55km bike to the start of the run. Henry then ran the 33km of Goat Pass to finish off the day. We finished the first day with a time of 5 hours 43 minutes. The second day Ben did the 15km bike ride, then Henry did the 1km run followed by Fiona who paddled 67km down the Waimakariri River. Ben then took us to the finish line in New Brighton with an overall time of 13 hours and 32 minutes.
What are your backgrounds in each of the events and had you competed together in previous races?
This was the first time we had competed together as a team. However we have all had other experience in other multisport type races including mountain biking and adventure racing.
This was also the first time that a team representing St Andrew’s College had competed at the Coast to Coast.
What were your expectations before the race?
We all knew the course was going to be tough and challenging but to come out with the result we got was above expectations. Henry had a goal to be able to complete the mountain run in under 4 hours and achieved this.
At what point did you know you were competing in this year’s Coast to Coast and how did you team come together in the first place?
We came together midway through last year and entered as a team into the Coast to Coast. The hree of us just decided to do it together. Hopefully next year we may have more than one team.
Did you spend the summer school holidays training?
We trained individually as we were all doing separate legs of the race. We spent a lot of time over the summer holidays training and then came together for the weekend. Our parents were instrumental in helping us train through the summer giving us guidance and support.
How did the race pan out?
The race panned out really well and we did better than expected. Everything went smoothly.
We were in the lead after day one. Day one went really well and there were no mishaps. It’s nearly impossible to tell who is what team during the race, you can just look at the results as teams finish each day.
Day two also went smoothly except we almost left our timing transponder behind at the accommodation (we had to go back and get it) which could have been a disaster.
How exhausted were you after finishing and crossing the South Island, and did you know you had won (the school’s section) and done so well in the 3-person race overall?
We were all pretty knackered after the race, glad to see the finish line. It wasn’t too long after when we knew how well we had done. The results are added to the Coast to Coast app at frequent intervals.
How did you celebrate?
We celebrated at the end then slept! We then met up again at prize-giving the following day.
Tell us about your support?
We had really good support from family and friends. All of our parents were helping and supporting at the transitions and overnight they fed us well. The teacher in charge of Multisport, Greg Thompson, also came along and It was good to have his knowledge and expertise. We want to thank Buddle Findlay for sponsoring us for the event.
Success starts at secondary school level.
A group of current and recent (2017,2018) school elite athletes and sportspeople have been chosen as nominees for the 2019 Halberg Awards.
Winter Olympic medallists Zoe Sadowski-Synnott and and Nico Porteous have been nominated in the Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year categories respectively, after their efforts at Pyeongchang.
The historic feat of the Football Ferns U17 side, earning a semi-final berth at the U17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay, has been recognised with a Team of the Year nod. Coach Leon Birnie is also in for the running for Coach of the Year.
White Ferns cricketer Amelia Kerr is among the nominees for Emerging Talent of the year, with swimmer Lewis Clareburt, U17 Football Ferns goalkeeper Anna Leat and shot putter Maddison-Lee Wesche, who won gold at the Under 20 IAAF World Championships.
The winners will be announced at the awards dinner in Auckland on February 21.
Four of the individual nominees and the Football Ferns U17s featured on College Sport Media in 2018. Their achievements were:
Ameilia Kerr (Tawa College). In June the year 13 Tawa College leg-spinning all-rounder set a new world batting record in women's one-day cricket with her unbeaten 232 against Ireland, the third highest score in ODI cricket history. Facing 145 balls and hitting 31 fours, and two sixes. She then took 5-17 with the ball as Ireland were bowled out for 135, chasing 441 to win. At 17 years and 243 days, Kerr became the youngest double-centurion in the format across genders. Now a regular member of the Wellington Blaze and White Ferns teams, she went on to play an international tri-series against England South Africa and then against Australia, and this month is playing in the Twenty20 Women’s World Cup.
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (Mount Aspiring College) In February Zoi Sadowski-Synnott became New Zealand’s first Olympic Winter Games medallist in 26 years, and only second winter medallist in history after Annelise Coburger who won silver in the women's slalom at the 1992 Winter Olympics. The Wanaka sixteen year claimed a bronze medal in the women’s snowboard Big Air at PyeongChang 2018. Prior to winning bronze, she finished 13th in the women’s snowboard slopestyle. She was subsequently selected as New Zealand's flag bearer for the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, becoming the country’s youngest-ever flag bearer. Returning home, she won the Supreme Award at the Otago Sports Awards and later Snowboarder of the Year at the Snow Sports NZ awards.
Anna Leat (Rangitoto College) - The goalkeeper who debuted for the Football Ferns in 2017 showed again she belongs on the world stage with a memorable display at the FIFA U17 World Championships. After keeping a clean sheet to help New Zealand to victory over Finland in pool play, Leat then saved two penalties and kicked the winning penalty in the dramatic win over Japan in the quarter-finals. Leat is a member of the New Zealand high performance set up.
Nico Porteous (Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu( - The New Zealand skier at 16 years and 91 days old became New Zealand's youngest ever Olympic medalist when he became the first male to claim a Winter Olympics medal winning a bronze medal in the halfpipe in PyeongChang in February. Porteous started with an 82.50 before stunning everyone - nobody more than himself - with an incredible 94.80 on his second run. Porteous was briefly in a gold medal position, but was overtaken by two Americans. In September Porteous reinforced his quality by winning the FIS Junior Freeski Halfpipe World Championships at his home mountain of Cardrona Alpine Resort. Again after a modest first run, Porteous came through with a winning run when it most counted. Porteous was named Snow Sport New Zealand Freeskier of the Year.
Read more about the achievements of the Football Ferns U17s at the two links below:
Halberg Award Emerging Talent - past winners:
For a group of outgoing year 13 players including captain and tournament MVP McKayler Moore this past weekend’s maiden NZSS touch title for Columba College was a few years in the making.
“For three of us, this is was our fifth year coming to nationals, and for the four of us in the team leaving school it was going to be the last 15 minutes in our Columba singlets,” said McKayler of the second half in the final that propelled them to the title against Saint Kentigern College.
Columba College beat Hamilton Girls’ High School and then St Kent’s on the third and final day of the annual NZSS tournament at Auckland’s Bruce Pulman Park to be crowned national champions for the first time – and the first Otago school to win the title.
In their semi-final they beat 2016 winners and last year’s runners-up Hamilton Girls’ High School 7-4 before beating defending champions Saint Kentigern College 7-4 in the final. Columba had lost to St Kent’s earlier in the tournament.
After finishing fifth last year, McKayler said going into finals day Columba had nothing to lose against the two big North Island schools.
“Those two teams are renowned for being very classy, so going into finals day we were a bit nervous. But we knew we just had to stick to our game plan and just believe in ourselves and give it everything.
“Beating Hamilton Girls’ for the first time ever gave us a lot of confidence going into the final and we left it all out on the paddock in that last game and it was just awesome to achieve our goal at the end.”
The final itself was on tenterhooks at 2-2 at halftime. “It was a tough grind in the first half, but come the second half we realised that we could actually win this and we just had to give it everything and that managed to be enough.”
On day one Columba had beaten Morrinsville High School 10-1 and Trident High School 9-1, before losing 2-1 to St Kent’s.
“We weren’t too disheartened by that loss as we knew there was more we could have given in that game, and we were just really happy to get into the top eight anyway.”
On day two they beat Whangarei Girls’ High School 7-4, Mount Albert Grammar School 7-3 and drew with Westlake Girls’ High School 5-5.
“The draw was probably our worst game of the tournament but we used that as motivation for the games that followed.”
Columba had qualified for nationals back in Summer Tournament Week in March, beating Dunedin rivals St Hilda’s Collegiate 7-1 in the South Island final.
Being named girls tournament MVP was a surprise. “That was such a crazy experience, hearing my name being called out and I was not expecting it!”
McKayler, Meg Sycamore and Maia Joseph made the girls tournament selection of 20 players.
Hamilton Boys’ High School won the boys competition and Howick College annexed the mixed title.
McKayler paid tribute to coach Dayna Turnbull, who is also the New Zealand open women’s captain.
“She has been involved in the team for a few years now and her enthusiasm and experience as a coach and player at the highest level is immense.
“There are still lots of players coming back next year and just having Dayna as the coach you just know they will give it their all in their title defence next year.”
McKayler herself made her full New Zealand debut earlier this year, in the trans-Tasman series in Rotorua.
“That was very surreal, I was just honoured to play against the Australian side who are the world’s best,” said McKayler who plays in the middle playmaking position for Columba and link for New Zealand.
As well as Columba coach Dayna Turnbull, Olivia O’Neill from St Hilda’s Collegiate was also in the team that played Australia, who beat New Zealand 2-0 in the three-match series (bad weather cancelling the last match).
McKayler, Olivia and Columba College teammate – and New Zealand U18 team MVP - Meg Sycamore later went to Malaysia with the New Zealand U18 team that finished second to Australia at the U18 World Cup.
“The culture, the heat and playing against all the other teams in Malaysia was so different to anything I had experienced before. In the final it was a draw at halftime but unfortunately in the second half they ran the legs off us.”
The next big tournament for McKayler and many of the Otago players is the U21 nationals in March. She also plans to start university in Dunedin in 2019.
The Columba College NZSS winning touch team was: McKayler Moore (captain), Meg Sycamore, Maia Joseph, Claudia Carruthers, Brylee More, Olivia Fowler, Jess Cowie, Liv Preston, Madi Williams, Kate Macbeth, Riley Piebenga, Abby Anderson, Meg Breen, Grace Macbeth, Charlotte Hayes, Chelsea Smith.
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