What if we had a Halberg award for the best College sports team during the year. Who would win?
Normally in school sport it is relatively easy to find the top team within a code, but can you pick who has achieved more in 2017, when comparing codes?
Christ’s College Hockey - Christ’s won the Rankin Cup for the first win since 1991 after a dogged victory on penalties against Christchurch Boys’ High School in the final. Christ’s recovered from a defeat to King’s High School in pool play to foil Wairarapa College 4-1 in the round of 16, Paraparaumu College, 4-1 in the quarter-finals and King’s College, 1-0 in the semi-finals. In addition to their Rankin Cup triumph, Christ’s successfully defended their Canterbury title taming St Andrew’s College on penalties in the final.
Hamilton Boys’ High School Football - Won the National championship for the first time, thus becoming the first school from the Waikato region to capture the crown. Hamilton stunned defending champions Sacred Heart College on penalties in the final after earlier eliminating fellow Auckland powerhouse St Kentigern College in the quarter finals. Hamilton won their local title for the 13th time in 14 years and were runners up to Napier Boys’ High School in the Super 8.
Hastings Boys’ High School Rugby - Became the 13th team since the inception of the National Top Four in 1982 to win the title unbeaten. Hastings have only lost one of their past 40 matches and scored over 1000 points in 2017, while holding eight opponents scoreless. Hastings remarkably beat St Pats Town (106-7), Palmerston North BHS (100-0) and Wellington College (78-0), the largest defeats any of those proud rugby institutions have suffered. Hastings success was rewarded when they had no less than half a dozen selections in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ teams, including No.8 Devan Flanders who won the Bronze Boot award as the best player in the annual trans-tasman test against Australia.
Rosmini College Basketball - Rosmini bounced back from their defeat in the Auckland final to Rangitoto College to beat the defending National champions in both the Zone I and National finals. In the latter event Rosmini won all eight games foiling Zone 4 champions Christ’s College in extra time in the semi-finals and resisting Rangitoto 87-79 in the decider to became national champions for the first time since 2011.
Manurewa High School Volleyball - Manurewa have been the dominant force in Auckland volleyball winning the Auckland title for the past three years. After a series of narrow misses at Nationals, Manurewa finally broke through in 2017 to claim the mantle as the top team in the country. Manurewa was beaten in pool play at Nationals by Western Heights High School, but bounced back hard to reach the final where they beat Orewa College in straight sets 25-16, 25-23, 25-23. Three Manurewa players made the tournament team: Wanyae Suafo’a, Henry Ap’e (Captain) and Tala Potifara (Tournament MVP).
Mount Albert Grammar School Softball - MAGS claimed a record fifth-straight title at the National Secondary Schools Division 1 competition at Rosedale Park, beating Hastings Boys’ High School in the final 6-3. However, it didn't come easy for defending champions, who were beaten twice by Hastings Boys throughout the tournament. MAGS won the Auckland title for the fifth year on the trot to and their all-round excellence was awarded at Nationals when Harley Maynard was named top pitcher, Max Earley the top catcher award and Toby Bourgeois tournament MVP. Additionally Brock Evans, Floyd Nola and coach Stu Kinghorn joined the other three in the Tournament Team.
St Andrew’s College Rowing - Celebrating their centenary, St Andrew’s (STAC) coxed eight created history by winning the Maadi Cup for the first time. At Lake Karapiro, St Andrew’s finished ahead of defending champions Christ's College and perennial contenders Hamilton Boys’ High School. A day earlier Ben Taylor, Zackary Rumble, Thomas Russell and Mitchell White also won the coxed four Springbox Shield for STAC for the first time since 1983. The other members of the STAC eight were: Sam Paterson, Oliver Bailey, Flynn Dijkstra and Hamish Veitch. Tom Flavil was coxswain and the the head coach was Dale Maher.
Sacred Heart College Football - It was another stellar year for the Sacred Heart First XI winning the Auckland Premier League for the fourth consecutive year and repeating the knockout cup/league double. Sacred Heart trailed St Kentigern College in the league standings for much of the season, but scored 24 goals in their last three games to overtake their presbyterian rivals. Additionally Sacred Heart finished fifth in the International School Sport Federation's World Schools Championships in Prague. The event feature 36 teams from 24 countries with Sacred Heart becoming the first New Zealand team to compete. In the quarter-finals Sacred Heart lost to eventual champions Qatar in controversial fashion, Qatar was a million dollar sponsored team. Sacred Heart failed to defend their National title, but were runners up to Hamilton Boys’ High School despite missing three of their leading players who were selected for the New Zealand Under-17 squad.
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