SPORTS PEOPLE OF THE YEAR
The Taranaki Daily News Taranaki Sportsperson of the Year awards will be held on Friday, November 24. Over the next week we will feature the nominations across the 11 categories, starting with the senior sportsman and senior sportswoman.
Senior Sportswoman of the Year Aliena Wallis
Wallis has been able to illustrate to the wider community that the New Zealand pathway was available through the Netball Taranaki Representative programme. One of three Taranaki open players who attended the Beko screening day in September, she was and has been named in the wider Beko Squad for 2018. She was also named Netball Taranaki senior representative player of the year and was an key member of the Taranaki team who remain unbeaten this year from 12 matches.
One of the most committed trainers involved in women’s rugby in Taranaki, Davison was nominated to trial for the New Zealand Under-17 sevens team. Davison helps out in any way she can with the younger rugby girls teams at Sacred Heart Girls’ College. Her list of achievements for the season saw her included in the Taranaki women’s sevens squad, the Taranaki Under18 sevens squad and the Taranaki 15-a-side.
A national 200m butterfly open champion this year, Webby won the title 10 years since she won her first. It was her sixth open title in the last 10 years. Webby’s ability to stay at the elite level for that length of time reflects her stamina and determination, two things that helped her again win the New Zealand Open Water Championships. Competing in New Zealand and across the Tasman, Webby has been competitive in every race. Webby was also awarded the trophy for 2016-2017 Taranaki Swimmer of the Year.
A dual code New Zealand representative for both 2016 and 2017 in surf lifesaving and athletics, Eaton holds the Open World Beach Sprint title, the Australian Open Beach Sprint title and the New Zealand Open Beach Sprint title. In surf lifesaving, she had an outstanding summer on the beach, winning a number of national titles before she headed off to Australia where she took gold again in the Open Women’s Beach Sprints at the Australian Nationals. Eaton was then named in the New Zealand Open (Black Fins) team to compete at the International Surf Challenge in Mt Maunganui in November 2017. She was also part of the national athletics squad who competed in Australia.
A stress fracture in a rib seriously slowed Toa’s progress in rowing this season. However, she managed to still produce enough good results at the nationals to be given the chance to trial and her ability to still be selected in the New Zealand Under23 squad proved her potential. That potential was again confirmed when she made the A final in the double sculls at the world championships. Her other achievements this season include a second placing in the under-22 national women’s quadruples sculls and wins in regional regattas in the women’s open double and women’s open.
Senior Sportsman of the Year Jordie Barrett
An exceptionally talented all-round sportsman. Represented the New Zealand Under-20 rugby team for the past two years before being selected in the All Blacks for his debut against Samoa and the British and Irish Lions test series. Barrett also won the Mitre 10 Cup with Canterbury before he was named player of the competition. His performances saw him earn a contract with the Hurricanes where he kept a number of senior players out of the starting side. Barrett has also represented Taranaki at cricket.
Baxter’s athletic career has continued to thrive since he took up a scholarship in the United States. The former national agegroup champion has shown his versatility across a wide range of distances as well as his ability to perform at both indoor and and outdoor tracks. As well as a host of top three finishes at national collegiate events, Baxter won Greater Louisville Classic over 8km.
Equally competent at beach flags and sprints in surf lifesaving, McCallum has put a great deal of hard work in becoming successful at both. McCallum made the World Surf Lifesaving team to compete at the World Championship in Holland where he finished third in the youth beach sprint and second in the youth beach relay team. At the national champs he finished third in the open men’s beach sprint, second in the beach sprint and first in the under-19 flags.
Selection in the Black Caps Twenty20 cricket side was undoubtedly Bruce’s best achievement of the past season. The hard hitting top order batsman earned his call up after a string of impressive performances for Central Districts. Bruce made 59 off just 39 balls in the second T20 match against Bangladesh and 33 in the second T20 against South Africa. He scored 261 runs in the Ford Trophy one-day competition which included one century and two 50s. In the longer form of the game Bruce scored 540 runs at an average of 41 with a high score of 127 not out.
The para cyclist continues to improve the longer he spends in the sport. Some of his best performances in the past season saw him finish third in the time trial at the UCI Para World Championships .02 of a second off from being the world champion in the road race in South Africa.
The former Taranaki sportsperson of the year is a competitive sit-skier and since 2012 has been a member of the New Zealand Adaptive Snow Sports team as part of the Snow Sports NZ High Performance Programme. He won NZ’s only medal at the
2014 Paralympic Winter Games and is tracking well towards selection for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. Peters won the
2016 Adaptive Snowsports Athlete of the year award and is nominated again.