South's spirit strong in area tournament

Area Schools Tournament

The National Area Schools Tournament was held in Taupo during the first week of the school holidays. Forty students were selected following the Southern Area Schools Tournament, held in May in Tuatapere, to represent the South in rugby, netball, volleyball, basketball, futsal and golf.

The week proved to be interesting, with some challenges thrown at us along the way.

However, the spirit of the team was evident in the way these were dealt with. All sports enjoyed some very competitive games with some excellent results.

The basketball and futsal teams had a tough week playing against teams that play these sports as their main sport. The majority of the team from the South played up to three different codes, which makes for a pretty full-on tournament.

The teams from Top of the North, Central North Island, Top of the South and our South of the South team played three days of games before the South and North Island teams were selected to play each other on the last day. Over half of the Southern team was selected to play for South Island teams, a fantastic effort by the students.

New Zealand teams were selected by independent selectors who spent the week watching their codes. These teams were announced at the closing ceremony. The rugby team will have a tour later in the season, and the netball team is hoping to compete in a tournament in Australia next year.

Five team members from the South had the excitement of being named in New Zealand teams, and two others were selected in a netball development squad. They were.-Tamara Hawkins (Maniototo) - volleyball.

Sam Wyber (Lawrence) - rugby.

Emma Parker and Meighan Scanlan (Roxburgh), Nicole Leebody (Lawrence) - netball.

Kendall Johnston and Serena Gunn (Roxburgh) - netball development squad.

Dunedin will host next year's tournament.

Columba College

Columba College students have benefited greatly from the Otago Schools Cycling League training and development programme run by Suzy Pryde and Chris Drake. Throughout the past term, the girls have learned riding techniques to enable them to compete in team time trial, individual time trial and road racing events. This week, as a result of the programme, Columba was able to send a team of 10 cyclists to the Otago Secondary Schools Cycling Championships. Columba students placed well in all events, working as a team.

They are now setting their sights toward more regional and national competition.

The school's First XI hockey team will play in the premier grade secondary schools final on August 15 against St Kevin's. The team is captained by Samara Dalziel and has a mix of youth and experience. An exciting match is anticipated.

The Second XI hockey team won the division 3 final against South Otago/Catlins B in a very exciting encounter. The match was a draw at fulltimeand after one round of strokes, with Columba winning in sudden death strokes. Well done to both teams on an exciting game.

Emmabeth Jensen is an Australian student attending Columba College. She recently competed at the New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championships (Division 1) and gained some outstanding results: gold in the 400m IM and 50m freestyle; silver in the 200m freestyle and 200m backstroke; and bronze in the 800m freestyle and 200m IM.

Emmabeth is from Adelaide and made the shift to Columba College when she found herself without a coach at her swim club. Andy Adair, from the Waves club at Moana Pool, was at a swim meet in Australia and Emmabeth's family were impressed by him that they decided to send Emmabeth to swim at his club. Emmabeth is in the top five swimmers at youth level in Australia and her goal is to gain selection for the Australian Youth team upon her return home.

Columba College was the top-placed girls' ski team from Dunedin on Monday at the Otago Southland Secondary School Ski and Snowboard Championship. Columba College 2 placed third behind Wakatipu High School 2 and Mount Aspiring College 4. The team consisted of Jodie Lewellyn, Bailey Saville and Charlotte Hall, all year 9 students. Lewellyn clocked the fastest time in the gravity cross event but was placed 4th in the final race. Saville was placed 5th.

The Sports Council continues to strongly support sport in the school and is fundraising with a raffle. Coming events are the AGM and a coaches' and managers' thank you function.

Cromwell College

Emma Patton, Nikayla Bolch, Cassie Hislop and William and Jack Harrison travelled to Rotorua in the first week of the holidays to compete at the National Div II swim competition. They were excellent ambassadors for the school and achieved some pleasing results. This was the first national meet for most of them and they took the atmosphere, pressure and expectation in their stride. The five swimmers achieved 23 finalist placings and won 10 medals: 3 silver and 7 bronze. Jack won silver in the 200m back and bronze in the 100m back, 400 IM, Otago freestyle relay and Otago medley relay; Emma won silver in the 200m fly and bronze in the 200m back; Nikayla won silver in the 800m free and bronze in the 200m IM; and Cassie won bronze in the 200m fly.

Will turned 16 just a week before the meet, pushing him into the tough 16-18 age group. He swam personal-best times in his events.

This was an excellent effort for a small team.

Emma, Nikayla, Cassie and Will are now focused on the South Island Champs in Invercargill in September. Jack is going on to compete at the New Zealand National Short Course Championships in Wellington in August.

For the first time in years, Cromwell College entered the Otago Southland Secondary School Ski and Snowboard Championships at Cardrona.

The three teams of four skiers and snowboarders were amped and ready for action and all the students performed outstandingly.

Snowboarding: Krystal Roberts (year 9), 2nd girls' slopestyle and 3rd girls' boarder X; Jared MacLachlan, 6th boys' boarder X; Jonathan Mack, 9th boys' boarder X, 2nd mixed snowboard team comp and 2nd equal boys' snowboard team.

Skiing: Sam Bringans, 2nd ski, 11th giant slalom and 5th boys' ski team.

Kavanagh College

With five minutes to go and Dunstan leading by 10 points, the Kavanagh First XV thought their season goal of reaching the middle four in the Highlanders First XV competition final was well and truly over. But thanks to some brilliance from youngster Ryan Mitchell and Kavanagh's never-say-die attitude, Mitchell was able to slice open the Dunstan defence and score twice in the time remaining. The scores were levelled right on fulltime and put this entire team's hopes on goal kicker Rhys Johnson.

Johnson, who had made a last-play conversion already this year, had to repeat his heroics and did so by kicking the ball straight through the uprights! The inaugural Catholic Schools Senior Quad, contested by Kavanagh, Verdon, St Kevin's and St Peter's, took place this term. Kavanagh made their way down to Gore early on August 3 and were met by blue skies and a rather cool breeze.

The bus trip must have taken its toll, as the Kavanagh teams seemed to get off to sluggish starts. This didn't stop some of them shining, though. The Kavanagh girls' basketball team, despite having only two bench players, won all three games.The boys' soccer side was able to match that impressive feat and gain another three wins for Kavanagh. The day saw many close games and great sportsmanship from all schools. St Kevin's ended up in 1st place on 48 points, St Peter's 2nd on 46, Kavanagh 3rd on 45 and Verdon 4th on 37.

In other sports news, the Kavanagh A hockey team, with great games from Aaron Fahey, Johnny Thorne and Andrew Prince, has reached the final of the Dunedin schools competition with a decisive 1-0 victory over King's High.

Mt Aspiring College

Mt Aspiring enjoyed another successful day at the Otago Southland Ski and Snowboard Champs at Cardrona Alpine Resort on August 8.

Its snowboard boys' and girls' teams both took the honours and the ski boys and girls both placed second. Individual results were also very impressive: Charlotte Jolly, 2nd in the boarder cross; Fraser Dowling and Joss McAplin, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the boarder cross; Mikey Austin, 1st girls' skier cross; and Wilber Coote, 2nd in both the skier cross and the GS.

Junior rugby

Next Monday, 25 teams will converge on Molyneux Park and Dunstan High in Alexandra to be involved in Rural Livestock Junior Rugby Tournament.

The under-15 teams come from all over the South Island and this year they include Newlands College, of Wellington, which is coached by ex-Alhambra-Union captain Craig Fransen. Fransen believes this is a very suitable tournament to bring his team to and regrets that nothing similar exists in the North Island.

Newlands will be joined by Dunstan, Gore, McGlashan, Ashburton, Lincoln, Burnside and Waimea in section one. These teams play four 40-minute games over Monday and Tuesday and the best four play in the semifinals on Wednesday at 9am. The final is at midday.

The other 17 teams play four games before the best four play one of the bottom four teams from section one on Wednesday. The initial draw ensures that teams that normally play each other in regular Saturday competitions do not play each other over the first two days.

This tournament started in 1986 and moves to a different venue each year. With so many teams taking part, at least five grounds, within a suitable travelling distance, are required to host it. The tournament is unique in that although winners are acknowledged, no trophies are awarded. The main award is for the best all-round team and is arrived at using a combination of results and input from opposing coaches and referees.

The purpose of the tournament is to prepare players for future First XV competitions and teams that perform well tend to have a good First XV a couple of years later. Teams are placed under pressure because of the shortened games, because half of the flag points can be gained by scoring up to four tries in each game.

The games are officiated at by a group of referees, most of who have been to previous tournaments. Some are old hands, while the other, younger, ones are gaining sound advice and moving into South Island age group squads.


Calendar of events
Today: Boys' football finals, Dunedin.

August 22-25: SISS junior rugby, Alexandra; SISS ice hockey, Dunedin; NZSS boys' football, Balclutha; NZSS girls' hockey, Dunedin.

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