Talented students honoured

WHS student Emma Rainey receives her Senior Sportswomen of the Year trophy from guest speaker Kayla Whitelock, former NZ Blacksticks captain.

PHOTO / Stuart Munro

Indoor netball and hockey stole the show at senior level in the annual The Hits 2017 Whanganui Secondary Schools Sports Awards announced at Cullinane College last night.

Senior Sportsman of the Year Jaqiya2K Kora was a member of the New Zealand 17-and-under mixed indoor netball team that won the World Indoor Netball Association Junior World Series this year.

This was the second year the Whanganui City College student had been selected for this team. They travelled to South Africa to take on South Africa and Australia finishing champions of the series.

Senior Sportswoman of the Year was Emma Rainey from Whanganui High School.

While she is a talented track and field athlete, she was chosen for her hockey exploits during the year.

Rainey was selected in the New Zealand under-18 team for a third successive season and was also selected in the Central Districts National Hockey League team.

Rainey was vice-captain of the Central Districts under-18 team that won their national championship and was named the tournament's MVP.

Rainey has been identified by New Zealand Hockey to be part of the Pathway to Podium programme this year.

There are 298 other athletes identified for this programme throughout New Zealand, of which only 10 are hockey players, with Rainey the only athlete from Whanganui.

The Senior Team of the Year marked the end of an era.

The WHS mixed touch team were back-to-back champions this year, again winning their New Zealand Secondary Schools title.

They also won the Central Regional Schools competition.

This is the fourth consecutive year this team has been national finalists.

They won silver in 2014 and 2015 and gold in 2016 and 2017 under coach Sean Brown., with most of the squad finishing school this year.

The team included Mitchell Millar, Blair Osborne, Dylan Bowater, Ayzak Bennett, Griffin Culver, Tyrone Houltham, Kelly Houltham, Mairangi Tamahana, Jordan Cohen, Kahurangi Sturmey, Deanne Tyrell, Mahiharangi Millar-Potaka, Te Miringa Parkes and Ruhia Tamati.

The individual junior titles were dominated by martial arts, with Keightley Watson named Junior Sportsman of the Year and Erica Elers Junior Sportswoman of the Year.

Watson's judo performances at local, regional, zonal, national and international level gave judges little choice but to select the WHS student.

This year alone, the 16-year-old won gold in competitions throughout New Zealand and Australia in 90kg-plus, 100kg-plus and open grades.

He also competed at the Oceania Judo Competition in Tonga representing New Zealand where he won silver in cadets 15-17 years and gold in the junior men 17-20 years.

Watson was in Wellington recently for the national judo champs, where he won four titles and obtained his black belt.

He is ranked fifth in the world for junior men 100kg-plus and first in New Zealand for cadets and junior men.

Elers, from Taihape Area School, is the world karate champion in the 14-16 age group.

The world champs were held in Japan and Elers competed against fighters from the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Singapore.

Her success in age group international competitions has earned her a raft of gold medals.

Elers has two black belts in karate and is going for her third next year.

The Junior Sports Team of the Year was the Wanganui Collegiate junior relay squad that included Genna Maples, Tayla Brunger, Georgina Duncan, Emma Osborne and Sophie Redmayne.

The girls competed in December 2016 in the New Zealand Secondary Schools 4x100m and 4x400m relays for under-16s.

They won gold in both events, breaking the 4x100m national record which had stood since 1980 and also the 4x400m record at the same meet.

The 4x100m was broken in the heats and 4x400m in the final.

Brunger, Maples and Osborne have been selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools under-16 team that will travel to Australia in December alongside Duncan, who has been selected for the under-18 team.

By Iain Hyndman
Wanganui Chronicle 2/11/17