A year for first time winners in girls team sports.
Of the six teams that caught our attention this year, four were first time winners of their respective NZSS tournaments, while two Waikato schools re-asserted past dominance.
This one is hard to choose – but which school’s achievement of the six below would be your favourite in 2018? Vote in the poll below.
Alfriston College Softball – In March Alfriston College won their maiden NZSS Division 1 tournament and returned home to win the Auckland Secondary Schools title. Alfriston beat Wellington East Girls’ College 8-2 and then Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt, 13-5 in the final to be crowned national champions. They beat One Tree Hill College 5-1 to win the Auckland title. After finishing fifth in 2015, runners-up in 2016 and fifth again last year, Alfriston College captain Jacqueline Clay was the tournament MVP and top batter. Taylor Chong-nee and Tessa Abraham were the top pitcher and catcher respectively. Aylssa Bailey, Jodie McLean-Rawiri and Lily Nielson both made the tournament team.
Baradene College First XI Football - In the Auckland competition, Baradene came third in the first part of the season, and then in the Auckland Provincial Championship (APC) they reached the final against St Kent’s. In September at the NZSS Girls Premier Lotto tournament in Taupo, Baradene finally went one better and claimed a maiden National title. In the final Baradene defeated Hamilton Girls’ High School 3-1. Hannah Pilley won both the MVP and Golden Boot awards while year 10 Prue Catton and year 11 Petra Buyck punched well above their weight. Victory for Baradene over Hamilton was extra sweet as they had lost to them 3-2 on the opening afternoon of the tournament. Baradene was second in group play, but when they beat highly financed Palmerston North Girls’ High School 4-1 in the semi-final they proved impossible to stop.
Hamilton Girls’ High School First XV Rugby - Hamilton fell one game short of winning the National title in 2017 and unleashed their disappointment to full fury in 2018 winning all 16 games and scoring a staggering 962 points. At the National Top Four in September, Hamilton trounced Auckland Champions Aorere College 62-5 in the semi-final before thrashing Hurricanes Regional winners Manakura 42-5 in the decider. Hamilton, who also hold the Condor 7s crown, had three players Arorangi Tauranga, Jazmin Hotham and Montessa Tairakena selected for the New Zealand Under-18 sevens team that won a gold medal at the Youth Olympics in Argentina.
Iona College First XI Hockey - Iona College’s Federation Cup hockey tournament winning captain Arabella Sheild explained that teamwork was a key to the First XI winning its maiden title in September: “We have a well-balanced team and we get on well and know each other’s games. “We have three year 9s this year, no year 10s, four year 11s, three year 12s and five year 13s.” Iona College returned home from Whangarei to Havelock North after beating Hawke’s Bay rivals Napier Girls’ High School 4-0 in the final. Iona had beaten Christchurch Girls’ High School 2-1 in their semi-final. Prior to the tournament Iona had previously beaten Napier Girls’ 3-2 to complete an unbeaten Hawke’s Bay competition season. Year 12 striker Olivia Shannon was the tournament’s leading goal-scorer. Iona became the fifth winner in as many years to triumph.
St Peter’s Cambridge Basketball - St Peter’s narrowly missed out on a hat-trick of National titles in 2017 when they were upstaged in the final by St Mary’s College, Wellington. In 2018, St Peter’s made no mistake against capital opposition, smashing Hutt Valley High School 92-51 in the decider with Tall Fern Charlisse Leger-Walker scoring 35 points. St. Peter’s won all eight games at Nationals by an average score of 83-36 and also successfully defended their Zone 2 crown thrashing Hamilton Girls’ High School 77-44 in the final. In September, Ella Bradley joined Leger-Walker in the New Zealand Under-18 team.
Westlake Girls’ High School Volleyball – A strong team bond aided the North Harbour school to winn their first senior NZSS volleyball title after the nucleus of the team had won the NISS Junior title at the end of 2016. Individually, Tamara Otene was the tournament MVP and Zara Pocock also made the starting seven tournament team. Zara was also tournament MVP at the Auckland Championships that Westlake won earlier in March. Westlake beat top Bay of Plenty’s Otumoetai College in the NZSS final (25-23), (25-17), (25-21). They beat Wellington’s St Mary’s College in their quarter-final (25-15, 25-17, 25-18) and Auckland’s Aorere College (25-21, 25-18, 25-14) in their semi-final. St Mary’s was the team that knocked them out at the top 8 stage in 2017, while they had beaten Aorere 3-1 in the final of the Auckland Championships.
2017: St Cuthbert’s College First XI Hockey
2016: Southland Girls' HS First XV Rugby
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates many 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 2018. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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