Budding athletes keeping one eye on the future

Arlea Lewis (St Hilda’s Collegiate School) competes in ice skating and ice hockey. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Arlea Lewis (St Hilda’s Collegiate School) competes in ice skating and ice hockey. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
The Otago Secondary Schools Sports Association profiles another bunch of sports leaders.

St Hilda’s Collegiate School

Charlie Byers

Sport played: Tennis

Sporting achievement and/or goals: Becoming Otago No1 seed female aged 14, South Island Intermediate Champs singles winner, 14U Kiwi Indoors (Winter Nationals) singles finalist & doubles winner, 16U Kiwi Indoors doubles winner. First Otago female in more than 10 years to get 18U International Tennis Federation points making it to the quarterfinals. As for the future, there is the option of gaining a United States college scholarship which would be an opportunity to get a university degree and travel whilst continuing to build on my tennis aspirations.

How did you get into this sport?: Having been involved in multiple sports at a representative level from a young age, I was keen to try my hand at something new, so visited our local tennis club open day. I quickly found that I loved the athleticism and intricacies of tennis. There are so many micro skills, that when used at the right time can turn a match on its head. You never stop learning. You need to be adaptable and out-think your opponent. Being such an individual sport, I like that you get out of it as much as you put in. It’s mentally challenging, once on court, success or failure is all on you.

Arlea Lewis

Sport played: Ice hockey and ice skating,

Sporting achievement and/or goals: I played in the high school ice hockey tournament and am planning to continue playing this year. Achievements include winning the national ice skating title 2023 in basic novice ladies and being selected for NZ development 2022. My goal this year is to compete at nationals and be selected for NZ development again.

How did you get into this sport?: My brother plays for the Thunder ice hockey team, so watching him inspired me to give the sport a go. I started ice skating when I was 3 as I wanted to follow in my brother’s footsteps and play ice hockey but when I was 6, Mum suggested I do at least one competition before switching. I loved it so much I stayed in figure skating knowing I can play hockey later.

Rhythmic gymnast Kate Coates (Taieri College) performs a hoop routine.
Rhythmic gymnast Kate Coates (Taieri College) performs a hoop routine.

Taieri College

Kate Coates

Sport played: Rhythmic gymnastics (RG)

Sporting achievement: 2021 Level 9 national champion, 2023 Tour to America with gymnasts from over NZ in two competitions.

Goals: To finish at least top three at the 2024 national championships

How did you get into this sport: I started when I was 7 years old to help with dance, then rhythmic gymnastics built up and became my number one sport

Tyler Lubbe

Sport played: Jiu-jitsu

Sporting achievement: Silver placed at nationals, King of the South, competed South Island champs, won Dunedin regionals.

How did you get into this sport?: My parents wanted me to learn self-defence and discipline, then I feel in love with the sport.

Otago Girls’ High School

Jenn Sutherland

Sport: Pétanque

Goals: To win national mixed doubles, attend women's worlds which are to be held in 2024/25, to represent New Zealand again in the transtasman tournament held in Christchurch in 2025, and place within the top three in each of the national events. She has been lucky enough to have the ability to complete many of her goals so far within the sport, and hopes to continue achieving even more. Jenn has travelled around New Zealand representing Otago, locally, in the South Island, and New Zealand in Australia.

The story of how Jenn got into this sport is her favourite to tell:

"Every Christmas my family and I would have our celebrations and end the day with a friendly game of pétanque which was introduced to the family by my great-grandparents. In 2019, my mum asked me what summer sport I wanted to play. (My Mum and Dad have always been good to encourage my brother and myself to play both a winter and a summer sport). She read out the list available at Kaikorai Valley College (where Jenn was attending before coming to OGHS) and pétanque was one of them. I knew that one of my friends at the time had already signed up, so I put my name down to play. From the moment I got there I found this passion for the sport and the community like feel that the club provided. Through having these things, I have been granted the support in orderfor me to succeed, and to continue playing."

East Otago High School ice hockey player Ashley Howard (left) battles for the puck.
East Otago High School ice hockey player Ashley Howard (left) battles for the puck.

East Otago High School

Ashley Howard

Sport played: Ice Hockey

Sporting achievement and/or goals: U15 Thunder team, training with Women’s Thunder

How did you get into this sport?: Through my brother, Ryan

Bayfield High School

Shelby Sutherland

Sport played: Underwater hockey

Sporting achievement/goal: Placing third at South Island Championships this past weekend with the Dunedin Underwater Hockey Club, most prolific goal scorer of the 2023 season for the Dunedin Hoiho team.

How did you get into the sport?: I got into underwater hockey as my grandfather plays it and brought me along.