Secondary Sport: Promising athletes from around the region


Jake Hibbert competes in a mountain biking event earlier this year.
Jake Hibbert competes in a mountain biking event earlier this year.
Tom Sides is one of Mount Aspiring College’s successful young athletes. Tom, who just turned 15, is excelling in sports such as rugby, running and triathlon.

His sporting highlight of 2021 was winning the Challenge Wanaka secondary schools team event and coming fourth overall in the same category in the full Challenge Wanaka course at the main event.

His training regime consists of swimming one to three times per week, running two to four times per week (depending on his race schedule) and enjoying some mountain biking in his spare time.

During the rugby season, Tom trains two to three times a week and is starting to get into the gym more. He played first five for the school under-15 team this season and was part of the under-16 Otago Country squad. His sporting goal is to be good at as many sports as he can, while still staying big and strong enough to play rugby at a high level.

Tom is a very exciting sports prospect coming through the school, and we all look forward to seeing what he can do in 2022 and in the future. — Ben Simmers (MAC sports committee leader)


Alex Duff represents New Zealand at a global basketball 
skills contest.
Alex Duff represents New Zealand at a global basketball skills contest.
Year 10 pupil Alex Duff has already made an impressive mark on the sports field.

Representing Columba’s top teams in basketball and athletics, this star athlete has plenty to offer in the sporting arena. Alex is a competitive, focused and dedicated athlete with her strong work ethic contributing to an ever-growing list of impressive sporting achievements.

She is a member of the Columba junior 10A netball, junior A volleyball and junior A basketball teams, and is also in the senior A handball and senior A basketball squads.

Alex has broken multiple long-standing records and holds 12 athletics records for Columba College. She gained first place in the hammer throw and broke the discus record at the South Island secondary schools athletics championships earlier this year.

Alex was also recently named in the New Zealand under-15 women’s Fiba skills challenge basketball team. This is a huge honour, and Columba College is extremely proud of Alex’s achievements. Columba congratulates Alex on an outstanding year of sport, and on the prizes she received recently at the school’s annual sports awards: Fiona Weddell Cup for best all-round field athlete (athletics), Miss Turnbull Trophy for most improved junior player (basketball), two prestigious school blues awards (athletics and basketball), New Zealand representative honours and New Zealand representative school tie presentation, Clouston Family Cup for best all-round junior sportswoman.


Anabelle Batchelor (14)

Year 9

I am involved with the following sports at Otago Girls’ High School: athletics, netball Y9A, basketball junior A, volleyball Y9A and cross-country.

My short-term goals are to keep my place in the Otago athletics sprint squad, and my long-term goals while at secondary school are to make finals at national secondary schools and be selected in the senior A netball team. My goal for the future is to earn a scholarship to university in the US and experience competing and training with other elite athletes while studying.

Kiana Ropata (14)

Year 9

The sports I am involved in at Otago Girls’ High School are netball Y9A, touch junior A, volleyball Y9A, rugby first XV, sevens and swimming. Outside school, I take part in mixed martial arts.

My short-term goals are to be performing at my best in all my sports so that I continue to be selected into top teams. My long-term goals are to make every A netball team and continue on to make the senior A netball team and then go through to higher selection into the Southern Stee. I want to continue to work on my personal growth within sport and to improve on my defensive skills within netball.


Georgia McHutchon
Georgia McHutchon
Georgia McHutchon plays and excels in multiple sports at Taieri College. As a year 10 pupil, she is a top player in the girls first XI hockey team, and also a member of the Otago under-15 A team. She competes in athletics as a middle to long-distance runner. Georgia came third at the South Island second schools athletics championships in the 3km, and third at Colgate Games in the 1500m. Cross-country is also a strength for Georgia, who is the Otago under-15 girls champion. Outside school, Georgia competes in eventing (dressage, showjumping and cross-country), for the Mosgiel Pony Club.

The Taieri College team is the Get2Go regional champion team. Georgia is one of eight pupils in the team ready to tackle the national championships in 2022.

Her goals are to improve on her running, become fitter and achieve higher results in her middle-distance running.

Jalen Forgie is a talented athlete in the many sports he plays. During winter, Jalen is a loose forward in the under-15 boys rugby team and the current MVP.

He also excels in wrestling and is the 14-16 year boys Otago champion in his weight grade. In summer, Jalen is a top player in two senior sports team, our first XI boys cricket team and the senior mixed touch team. Jalen achieved great success when making the Dunedin under-15 cricket side.

Jaden is also in the Taieri College Get2Go team targeting the national championships in 2022.

While performing to a high level and being rather competitive, Jalen is also very active in social sports teams such as volleyball, futsal and basketball.

His goal is to keep improving in everything he does.


Jake Hibbert competes in a mountain biking event earlier this year.
Jake Hibbert competes in a mountain biking event earlier this year.
Jake Hibbert has had another very successful year with athletics.

He has real talent with the hammer throw. He broke the under-14 Otago and South Island secondary school records this year.

The South Island record was held by his older brother, Zack Hibbert. There is a lovely rivalry between the brothers. Zack claims a share of the success as Jake’s coach.

Jake describes the feeling of having a good throw as ‘‘a real buzz’’. It’s what he loves about throwing the hammer. Jake’s other passion is hockey. ‘‘I just love playing hockey.’’

Jake was selected and played for the Otago hockey under-15 team this year. A new sport for Jake is Australian rules football and he is really enjoying it. He also competes in mountain biking.

Lily Abbott prepares for a hockey game to start.
Lily Abbott prepares for a hockey game to start.
Lily Abbott is a talented all-round athlete. Lily plays multiple sports for Logan Park.

In summer, she competed in the secondary schools triathlon and the Otago secondary schools athletics championships. She also plays volleyball and handball, and in the winter plays hockey and netball. She also competed in adventure racing and enjoys trying new sports.

This year, Lily was selected for the under-15 Otago hockey squad and played in several tournaments.

Lily has also excelled in volleyball and is a key member of the junior A girls team. She is well known for her impressive volleyball serves. Lily is competitive and strives for excellence. She also just loves ‘‘playing sport with my friends’’.

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