Event calls for top teams

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

A record 63 schools from the wider Auck­land re­gion will take part in the up­com­ing New Zealand Com­mu­nity Trust Aims Games.

Mt Al­bert’s Marist Col­lege is one of 20 schools com­pet­ing for the first time at the games hosted in Tau­ranga.

The school team will take part in ten­nis, netball and cross coun­try over the week which sees 17 sport­ing codes rep­re­sented.

Marist phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher Sanet Bir­cham will ac­com­pany the girls on their trip and thinks the tour­na­ment will be a great ex­pe­ri­ence for the team.

‘‘It is quite a sought after com­pe­ti­tion and be­ing part of a sec­ondary school and not an in­de­pen­dent in­ter­me­di­ate we don’t al­ways go to the in­ter­me­di­ate school events so we thought we would join this year.’’

The Aims Games gives 11, 12 and 13-year-olds an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete as an in­di­vid­ual or in a team against the best of their age.

The 11th an­nual games will be the big­gest yet with more than 200 schools com­pet­ing na­tion­wide and some join­ing from Aus­tralia.

Netball star Irene Van Dyk and Com­mon­wealth Games gold medal­lists Sam Web­ster and Lau­ren Boyle will help open the cham­pi­onship, while an im­pres­sive roll call of for­mer sport­ing stars will be on the side­lines dur­ing the week help­ing coaches and man­agers with the teams.

‘‘It pro­vides the girls with an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete at a high level and not just com­pete in your lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment,’’ Bir­cham says.

Net­baller and cross coun­try run­ner Kat­jana Gr­gice­vich is look­ing for­ward to it.

‘‘I think the bond­ing will be cool and just hav­ing fun and try­ing to win it,’’ she says.

Team­mate Jessica Nootai be­lieves Marist Col­lege has a good shot at tak­ing home the spoils at the games.

‘‘I think we should get close to the fi­nal and maybe even win it all.’’

Of course the most im­por­tant thing is the kids have fun, some­thing that Bir­cham thinks is guar­an­teed.

‘‘I know the girls will have a great time and love the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in a team and work­ing to­gether to­ward a common goal.’’

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