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, when comparing codes?
Mount Albert Grammar School Girls First XI Football - The MAGS First XI Football side became the first team to win four consecutive NZSS Championships, defeating St Peter’s Cambridge 6-0 in the final in early September. This season was also the third in succession that they had also won the Auckland League and the Auckland Knockout Cup, making it a particularly special year for the nine Year 13 players in the group. Six of the team were subsequently selected for the NZ U17 team that competed at the FIFA U17 World Cup in October - Nicole Mettam, Alosi Bloomfield, Malia Steinmetz, Grace Jale, Jacqui Hand and Samantha Tawharu.
Saint Kentigern College Girls Netball - After near misses in previous years, Saint Kentigern College broke through to win this year’s NZSS Netball Championships. Leading player Sydney Fraser was injured and missed the tournament, while NZSS teammate Mererangi Paul missed the last two games with injury, but several youthful players collectively excelled throughout the week. St Kent’s beat Manukura 38-33 in their semi-final and four-time defending champions MAGS 35-34 in an epic final, their third win over their keen rivals in four games this year including the Auckland Secondary Schools title. Paul, Ashleigh Garner, Tori Kolose and Tayla Earle all made the tournament team.
Villa Maria First XI Hockey - A Jessie Anderson goal in extra time gave Christchurch's Villa Maria College their first national secondary schools title. Villa Maria beat Auckland's St Cuthbert's College 2-1 in the final, with Anderson's winner coming in the second period of golden goal extra-time. Earlier, leading goal-scorer Maddie Wotton gave Villa Maria a 1-0 lead in the first half, before St Cuthbert's equalised. The win also gave Villa Maria the Pat Barwick Shield, which St Cuthbert's won off Villa Maria in their third and fourth playoff match a year ago. Villa Maria only lost one game all season and beat St Margaret's College in the Christchurch schools premier league final this season.
St. Peter's Cambridge Girls Basketball - The most dominant team in girls basketball won the Zone 2, Waikato and National titles in 2016. At the Nationals no team finished inside 15 points of St. Peter's and Year 10 Charlisse Leger-Walker was named tournament MVP suggesting St. Peter's will be a powerhouse for some time to come. St Peter’s beat Westlake Girls’ High School 79-76 in their semi-final and then beat Mount Albert Grammar School 68-53 in the final.
Southland Girls’ High School Rugby First XV - Heading into this year’s National Top 4 final series, Southland GHS had reached the Top 4 in each of the past four seasons. Thus their maiden win on their fifth attempt in Palmerston North in early September was made sweeter for a dedicated group of long-term players, team staff and supporters. After beating South Otago High School 86-0 in the Highlanders final, they beat Motueka High School 57-18 to annex the South Island title. At the Top 4 they beat Kaipara College 43-24 and then laid on a withering early burst of four unanswered tries in beating St Mary’s College 46-29 in the final. With a group of young players coming through, they should stay strong in girls rugby.
Diocesan School for Girls Swim Team - Diocesan School for Girls won the New Zealand Secondary Schools Swimming Champions for the first time in September. Dio won their maiden NZSS Swimming Championships in Wellington ahead of neighbours and keen rivals St Cuthbert’s College and three-time defending champions Napier Girls’ High School. They won with 1,839 points, just ahead of St Cuthbert’s on 1770.5 and with Napier GHS on 1,433. Individual swimmers in the team to stand out included team captain Annabelle Paterson, Alice Waldow and Gina Galloway, while Dio also competed strongly at the national water polo and underwater hockey tournaments this year.
Tawa College Girls First XI Cricket – Last December Tawa College successfully defended their National Secondary School Girls Cricket title in Palmerston North. Tawa won their fifth consecutive match of the Twenty20 tournament on the final day, beating Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, and convincingly taking home the spoils. Tawa had beaten tournament runners-up St Hilda’s Collegiate by 52 runs when they had met on the opening day. All-rounder Amelia Kerr was the Player of the Tournament, scoring 178 runs, and she recently made her full New Zealand debut. Tawa College will be gunning for a three-peat of titles next month.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand