, It’s secondary school sport’s awards season around the country, with the leading sports achievers currently being recognised throughout the regions that administer secondary school sport.
Napier Girls’ High School’s Black Sticks hockey player Kaitlyn Cotter won the Hawke’s Bay Supreme Award last week.
Similarly, Whangarei Boys' and Girls’ High School’s squash player Vette-Blomquist and water ski champion Courtney Williams won the respective boys and girls Northland overall honours.
Cyclists, Burnside High School's Sami Donnelly won the sportswoman category and Christchurch Boys’ High School’s Lawrence Pithie won the sportsman category at the annual Zonta Awards in Canterbury.
Other awards such as Auckland (14 November), Southland (this coming Thursday), Wellington (this coming Sunday) and Taranaki (15 November) are coming up, with nominations having been made.
We take a look at Wellington below, where the finalists will be announced this Thursday ahead of the awards ceremony at Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua.
Two features of the Wellington awards this year are the re-introduction of the Sports Hall of Fame and the apparent evenness of some of the awards.
There will be 10 new inductees into the Hall of Fame which features high achieving retired athletes who attended a Wellington secondary school. This makes the field broad and exceptional, but All Black Cory Jane, All Whites and Phoenix stalwarts Tim Brown and Leo Bertos and former World Mountain running champion Melissa Moon must be among the contenders.
In several categories, including the overall boys and girls Supreme Award categories, there appears to be fewer obvious winners than in recent years.
Past supreme gong winners have largely picked themselves, with recent winners such as Amelia Kerr (currently with the Brisbane Heat cricket team), Daniel Hillier (recently turned professional golfer) and Lewis Clareburt (Commonwealth Games swimming medallist), Liberato Cacace (All Whites and current Phoenix footballer) clear-cut winners.
Taking into account that success on the international stage is the most important consideration, then perhaps jumping out of the blocks as a favourite in the boys category is Clareburt’s Scots College alumni Edward Osei-Nketia, who recently represented New Zealand at the Senior World Championships after earlier winning both the NZ and Australian 100m titles.
Osei-Nketia’s stiffest competition for the Supreme Boys award could come from Hutt International Boys’ School footballer Ben Waine.
Waine was a member of the NZ U20 football team that played in Poland this year, is a member of the NZ U23 squad and made his Phoenix debut earlier this year.
The overall girls category winners could be between two individual sports girls, trumping others in team sports such as football and netball.
Wellington East Girls’ College’s Kirstie Rae would be a frontrunner, having won the New Zealand Secondary School cross country championships, and also taken out the Australian U20 cross country title and competing at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Denmark. Earlier in the year she broke the CSW Senior Girls 3000m record on the track.
Chilton St James swimmer Chelsey Edwards appears to be another fancied supreme accolade girls contender, having broken six long-standing Wellington age group records, winning multiple golds at schools, short course and long course swimming meets and part of the NZ team at the Fina World Swimming Championships in July.
Onslow College’s national U18 champion and world ranked junior table tennis player Hui Ling Vong should be in the mix as well.
What about other individual code winners?
Of the boys rugby union nominees, three players stand out as contenders, Aotea College’s Ropati So'oalo, HIBS’ Harrison Press and Scots College’s Roderick Solo.
Front rower Press was a recent member of the Barbarians Schools’ squad, while So’aolo is clearly one of the leading schoolboy rugby players in Wellington but failed to gain higher recognition in 2019 where as Solo was in the NZ Schools’ team and made the tournament team after last December’s Condor 7s nationals.
Earlier this year, Solo jumped 6.78m to break the CSW Senior Boys Long Jump record and also won the regional triple jump and 110m hurdles titles, but is not nominated in either the athletics or all-rounder of the year categories indicating he will be the rugby winner.
Newlands College halfback and NZ Maori U18 representative Milley Mackey and Aotea College and Northern United club player Harmony Hunter could be frontrunners to win the girls rugby accolade this year.
A new netball winner will be found after Wellington East’s Tiana Metarau won this in recent years. St Mary’s Beko League champion shooter Saviour Tui could be a frontrunner there.
Queen Margaret College’s Paris Lokotui is one of several other strong netball nominees, with Lokotui also a basketball nominee (and a gun sevens rugby player as she showed on Monday) and a finalist of the girls all-rounder award.
Futsal continues to grow, with Raphael Le'ai (Scots College) and Natalie Olson (Wellington East) likely frontrunners to win their awards. Both are accomplished footballers as well, with Le'ai the golden boot winner (9 goals) at the NZSS Football nationals and Olson helping her WEGC team to a creditable seventh at the NZSS Nationals.
Ben Waine (HIBS, above) and Wellington Girls’ College and NZ U17 footballer Charlotte Wilford-Carroll could be frontrunners to win the football.
Cricket winners this year could go to St Pat’s Silverstream’s NZ U19 player Ryan Jackson and Queen Margaret’s Wellington Blaze squad member Xara Jetly.
Scots College’s Boston Bright could have the credentials to win the boys bike category, although his school mate and recent NZSS Downhill mountain bike champion Albert Snep hasn’t been nominated.
Kapiti College sisters Kate and Millie Day are both up for the girls cycling gongs.
To view the full awards nominees in Wellington go HERE
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