There have been some outstanding performances by girls teams in NZSS events in 2017, including first time winners in several codes, others back on top after several years and an epic defence on the water.
Vote for your favourite performance from the ones we have featured below.
Auckland Diocesan School for Girls Rowing - It’s said that defending NZSS rowing eights titles is one of the hardest assignments in secondary school team sport, such is the competitive and prestige of the Maadi Cup regatta. Auckland Dio did just that on Lake Karapiro in early April, winning back-to-back Levin 75th Jubilee Cup U18 titles and becoming the first North Island female crew in 27 years to do so. They came from behind in a thriller to win the 2000m race by three-quarters of a boat length to Hamilton's St Paul's Collegiate and Christchurch’s' St Margaret's College. Prior to the Maadi regatta, the Dio U18 eight won their third consecutive title at the NISS Rowing Championships at the same venue. This year, Maadi attracted more than 2200 competitors, solidifying its position as the largest secondary school rowing competition in the southern hemisphere.
Howick College Netball Perhaps the fairytale win of the year? “This is the first time for our school at Nationals and we are excited to be there", captain Lasalle Lefale told CSM before the NZSS Netball Nationals in early October. Many hoped, but few expected they’d go all the way and win in their first attempt, after qualifying fifth out of six teams in the UNISS tournament and coming fifth in the Auckland Premier competition. But that is what they did, beating rivals and defending champions Saint Kentigern College 30-27 in their opening game and winning five more matches before beating St Kent’s again in the final, 33-25. Three players in the tournament team – shooter Leehava Saverio, wing defence Iva Livani and goal keep Nanise Waqaira. A multitalented side, most of the squad play other sports such as Touch, Sevens and volleyball to a high level.
St Cuthbert’s College Hockey - St Cuthbert’s College won their third Federation Cup Hockey title and their first since 2012, beating Christchurch’s Rangi Ruru Girls’ School 1-0 in the final, a year after much of the same group of players lost the final to Villa Maria College in extra time. Completing an unbeaten season, St Cuthbert’s had beaten neighbours and rivals Auckland Diocesan in the finals of both the Auckland and Super City competition, including winning 5-1 in the latter final. The team scored 101 goals and conceded just six in the Auckland Super City competitions and scored 43 goals and let in two in the Federation Cup (144 -8 combined score all season). Co-captain Madi Doar made her debut for the Black Sticks earlier this year, while Madi, Katie Doar and Sophia Howard all represented Auckland at the senior National Hockey League tournament. Madi, Katie, Sophia, Tonya Botherway and Kendall Vaughan were selected in the New Zealand U18 squad.
Saint Kentigern College Football – Ending rival school Mount Albert Grammar School’s recent dominance of both the Auckland and NZSS Girls Football titles, the Saint Kentigern College First XI won three lots of silverware in 2017 – the Auckland Premiership, the Auckland Knockout Cup and the NZSS Lotto Premier title in Taupo. St Kent’s went unbeaten throughout the Auckland season with just two draws against Rangitoto College and MAGS (2-2 on their annual exchange day) during league play. Having won the Auckland League, they went on to beat Baradene College 3-0 to win the Auckland Premier Championship title. On to Taupo, and, after beating Westlake Girls’ High School in their NZSS semi-final, St Kent’s found themselves trailing MAGS 0-2 at halftime in the final. They fought back to level at 2-2 on fulltime. This was then 4-4 after extra time, sending the final into a penalty shootout, which St Kent’s won after three rounds of sudden death.
St Mary’s College Basketball – Went through the season unbeaten to win the Wellington, Zone 3 and National titles - the former for the first time. Combined, these competitions amount to winning 26 games in a row. St Mary’s successfully defended their Wellington title overcoming Hutt Valley High School in the final, the same opponent they foiled in the regional decider. At the Nationals, St Mary’s failed to contain the brilliance of St Peter’s, Cambridge tournament MVP Charlisse Leger-Walker in the final. Charlisse scored 48 points, but St Mary’s had the collective ammunition to overcome the twice defending champions 68-62. Captain Grace Hunter, Sariah Penese and Renee Savai’inaea were selected in the tournament team. Coach Nixon Penese was named Coach of the Year at the College Sport Wellington awards while the team shared the team of the year accolade with the St Mary’s College Rugby team.
St Mary’s College Rugby – “We beat Hamilton Girls in a tough semi-final, and were too complacent heading into the final. We thought we had beaten the best team,” Renee Savai'inaea conceded to College Sport Media in October when reflecting on the 2016 National Top Four rugby final between Southland Girls’ High School and St Mary’s College. St Mary’s was well beaten, but bounced back a better side. In December 2016, St Mary’s became the first Wellington school of any gender to win the Condor Sevens title, beating defending champions Hamilton Girls’ High School 19-17 in the final. As a result of this success, St Mary’s was invited to the Sanix World Youth Invitational even in Japan in April and won that tourney undefeated. In First XV rugby, St Mary’s was close to unstoppable. They won the Wellington final 51-12 against Aotea College and after a tough win in the semi-finals of the National Top Four against Auckland champions Southern Cross Campus, comfortably beat Hamilton Girls’ High School 29-12 to became national champions for the first time.
Trident High School - Volleyball Team unity and strong courtside support were to two factors that carried Trident High School’s Senior A Girls volleyball team to this year’s NZSS title. “Five of us have been playing together since 2014 and we won the Junior North Islands that year together, and other players that have joined us since then have all fitted in well, we’re really close-knit and that helped us win some tight games,” team captain Courtney McConkey told CSM in April.“ We also got a big boost from our supporters. We were surprised that so many came down from Whakatane. Seeing so many people dressed up in Trident colours really lifted us.” Trident beat New Plymouth GHS 3-1 in the final to win their maiden NZSS title. Overall the team played and won nine games in five days, winning their matches by a combined 27 sets to six. Phoenix Paniora and Mana Kume made the tournament team and Year 12 Phoenix was the Tournament MVP.
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 2017. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
View the Champion of Champions Boys Teams at: https://www.collegesportmedia.co.nz/other/champion-of-champions-boys-teams8963679
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