Celebrating this past year in secondary school sport, a strong contingent of boys have excelled in their sports, both in individual sports and as part of teams and achieving higher honours. Below is a selection of these athletes from a wide variety of sports.
Connor Bell (Westlake Boys’ High School)
Just last weekend, Connor Bell shattered his New Zealand U19 and U20 discus throw record with a massive 63.90m with the 1.75kg implement. This added over three metres to his previous record of 60.09m set on the North Shore in July this year. He broke the record with his second throw of 62.22m and improved to the 63.90m with his last round throw. The 2018 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist is eyeing up his New Zealand Secondary Schools’ title defence in early December, with a big summer and then big international meets to follow including the U20 World Championships in Kenya.
Louie Ferigo (Sacred Heart College) - It was another stellar year for the all-conquering Sacred Heart College water polo team, winning the Auckland, North Island and National titles, while preserving their unbeaten three-year record. Sacred Heart have been National champions six times in the last decade. Louie Ferigo, an outstanding talent bound for the US collegiate system, was the driving force behind another unblemished season. A prolific goal scorer, with a huge engine and ability to create scoring chances for others, Ferigo was named College Sport Auckland Water Polo Player of the Year. Selected in the New Zealand Junior team playing in the FINA World Men’s Junior World Championships in Kuwait in December.
Liam Lawson (Ex-Pukekohe High School)
On his 17th birthday earlier this year Liam Lawson signed a contract with the Red Bull Junior Team.He spent much of this year based in Europe and racing in the Formula European Masters series, and as one of nine Red Bull Junior drivers spent time around Formula One and their drivers Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly. Last NZ summer he won the Castrol Toyota Racing Series (TRS) and the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild. Recently finished seventh at the prestigous Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.
Taine Murray (Rosmini College) - The Year 12 at Rosmini College created national headlines in August when he was named in the Tall Blacks squad for their World Cup warm-up tour to Japan and Australia, one of the youngest Tall Blacks selected in history. The 17-year-old stands at six-foot-four and has only been playing the game for three-years. Earlier in 2019, Murray was named to the Tournament Team at the U19 National Championships after helping North Harbour win the title. Additionally he was MVP at an NBA-sponsored camp in China and the College Sport Auckland Sportsman of the Year.
Jason Nel (St Peter’s School, Cambridge)
Beat a strong field to win a convincing U18s boy’s single sculls victory in this year’s Maadi Cup on his home water at Lake Karapiro, after winning the NISS title. Beat Eric Gruythusen from Hauraki Plains and Tom Hall from King's College into second and third, with SISS champion Ben Mason just behind. Nel then partnered up with Patrick Griffin to win silver in the U18 Boy's Double, while also a crew member in the St Peter’s quad and eights boats that also made A finals. In August he was part of the NZ quadruple sculls crew that also included Mason that made their final (fourth fastest qualifiers) at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Japan.
Edward Osei-Nketia (Scots College)
The College Sport Wellington Sportsman of the year is New Zealand's fastest teenager, and the third fastest Kiwi sprinter of all time. Osei-Nketia highlighted his incredible potential as an athlete by storming home to win the senior men's 100m final at the Australian Athletics Championships in April. Osei-Nketia set a new personal best of 10.19 seconds in the semifinals - just 0.08 off his father's record - before returning to the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre to win the final in 10.22 seconds (wind-adjusted from 10.24sec). Osei-Nketia ran 10.24 later in the year at the World Athletics Championships in Doha and has attracted the interest of rugby union scouts. Last weekend he was at the Red Bull Ignite Sevens development camp along with 95 other athletes.
Laurence Pithie (Christchurch Boys’ High School)
A strong year in the saddle for the year 12 Canterbury rider, just last week winning the national men’s Criterium National Championships in his home town Christchurch. Earlier this month Pithie won his regions’ Zonta Award for male Individual Athlete of the Year. In the space of a few weeks this year he became a double world champion in the Omnium and Madison at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships and second and then won all three U20 Boys titles on offer at the Cycling New Zealand Schools Road Championships.
Nathan Xu (St Kentigern College)
Since representing New Zealand in Table Tennis at the Youth Olympics just over a year ago Nathan Xu has gone from strength to strength. He has represented NZ, winning the Junior Oceania Singles title and the ITTF Senior Men’s Oceania Tournament. He is the Auckland U21 singles Champion and Auckland Open Men’s singles champion. He is the NZ U18 Boys Singles Champion, the U18 Boys Doubles Champion, Open Men's Singles Runner up, U21 Men's Singles Champion and U21 Mixed Doubles Champion. In 2019 he led the St Kent’s Premier Table Tennis team to win the Auckland Championship and Greater Auckland Championship. He also won the NZ Secondary Schools’ title.
Ben Waine (Hutt International Boys’ School)
In October the only school boy in the Wellington Phoenix had his contract upgraded from a scholarship deal to a fulltime contract, rich reward for a stellar season which saw Waine represent New Zealand at Under 20 and 23 level, earning a place in the Olympics next year in the later age group. Waine was a nominee for College Sport Wellington Sportsman of the year and easily won the CSW Football player of the year.
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates a selection of the leading athletes and teams in each that College Sport Media has followed this year. Preference has gone to those individuals/teams that CSM has interviewed and profiled in 2019. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand