Recognition for playing at their best
Five Matamata College sports stars have punched above their weight this year, after being announced as finalists at the Waikato Secondary School Sports Awards.
To top it all off, two of the five students were announced as winners over the weekend.
The 2014 Waikato Secondary School Sports Awards supported by Wintec and organised by Sport Waikato, were held on Sunday at the Wintec Atrium in Hamilton.
This year there were more than 900 nominations across 44 Waikato secondary schools.
Sport Waikato’s Regional Sports Director, Jennifer Parkes, said it was extremely difficult to become one of up to three finalists in each code, ‘‘so it’s an honour just to be a finalist’’.
‘‘I’m constantly amazed by the talent of our Waikato students. Our finalists include a Paralympian, a Tall Fern, Touch Black and an Ice Fern. These young people are surpassing age group honours and achieving at the highest level, a credit to their hard work and resilience’’ Parkes said.
Matamata College students Anilise Fitzi (volleyball), James Thomson (bowls), Taine Morrissey (disability sports), Dylan Ryan ( motocross) and Logan Allen (rugby union) were all announced as finalists.
Matamata College sports coordinator, Kim Lawrence, said it was ‘‘really exciting’’ to have such talented athletes at the school.
The sports awards were divided by code, unlike other sports awards that judge apples against pears, she said.
Each school in the Waikato could nominate one boy and one girl per code.
Each code then judges their own nominees to find the winner of each category. ‘‘That’s what is neat for these kids, they’ve been recognised by their own sport as being up-and-coming stars.’’
Year 12 student, James Thomson, who is heavily involved in bowls, took out the Waikato Secondary Schools Bowls Sports- man of the Year category.
Thomson competes in pairs bowls with fellow Matamata College student, Kasey Garforth. The pair placed second at last year’s national secondary schools competition. This past season, the pair qualified for nationals again, which takes place in December. They also won the Thames Valley secondary school pairs.
Thomson said it was ‘‘ pretty cool’’ to be a finalist in the district secondary school sports awards. ‘‘I’ve never really been up for any- thing like this before.’’ He said it was great recognition for all the hard work he puts into his sport.
Year 13 student, Anilise Fitzi, won the Waikato Secondary Schools Volleyball Sportswoman of the Year title for the third year in a row.
As a member of the New Zealand Junior Womens U19 volleyball team, Fitzi travelled to the Philippines to complete in Shakeys Volleyball Tournament where they won a bronze medal.
The team placed ninth at the Asian Junior Champs and Fitzi finished this event as the second ranked blocker behind a player from the winning Chinese team. Also a great beach player, Fitzi placed ninth at NZSS Champs and in the top eight for Age Group Nationals.
All winners from the sporting codes will be considered for awards for the Perry Foundation Waikato Regional Sports Awards, to be held at the Claudelands Events Centre in Hamilton on Thursday, January 29, 2015.
FINALISTS: Matamata College students, from left, Anilise Fitzi, James Thomson, Taine Morrissey, Dylan Ryan and Logan Allen, were all finalists in this year’s Waikato Secondary School Sports Awards.