PE sensation’s star is rising
PORT Elizabeth-born Cody van Wyk has followed his hockey dreams to the bright lights of Johannesburg, where he is making a name for himself at Wits University.
Marked as a potential South African hockey star at the tender age of 17, Van Wyk has since competed at the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, played in the U18 test series against Australia in 2014, went to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China, was a member of the South Africa U21 squad in 2015, and played in the Premier Hockey League (PHL) in 2016 and 2017 for the Drakensberg Dragons.
The former Rhodes University student is currently playing for Wits in Varsity Hockey, where the boys from Braamfontein are third on the overall table as they head to the second leg of the tournament.
Van Wyk, who is studying a bachelor of science honours degree in environmental sciences, became endeared to his beloved sport in the unlikeliest of ways.
“I first started playing hockey at the age of six, when my mother brought back a spare hockey stick for me to use from the school that she was teaching at, and I have played the sport ever since.”
The former Grey High pupil believes playing hockey in Port Elizabeth gave him the skills to progress in the sport.
“The level in Port Elizabeth was quite competitive as I played school hockey, as well as club hockey at Lakeside Cavaliers Hockey Club.
“Our derby fixture against Paul Roos Gymnasium and our fixtures against our brother school, Grey College in Bloemfontein, were our biggest hockey rivals. Selborne, St Andrew’s College and Queen’s were very competitive as well.”
The Youth Olympian played for the Rhodes men’s first team but because the Grahamstown university was not in Varsity Hockey, after receiving a scholarship to Wits University, it was a no-brainer for him to chase his ambitions north.
“Varsity Hockey has given me a solid foundation for big tournaments such as the annual men’s inter-provincial tournaments and the PHL.
“The dedicated gym and conditioning programmes allowed me to improve my field-based performances and I look forward to the next phase and stages of this season.
“With the introduction of dedicated sporting programmes at various universities, the level of university hockey has definitely increased and is now starting to serve as a feeder system for players to reach higher levels within the sport,” he said.
The second leg of Varsity Hockey is this weekend at the TuksSports Astro, with the semifinals taking place on Monday.
All games tomorrow and Monday will be televised on SuperSport 210.
CHASING DREAMS: Port Elizabeth-born hockey star Cody van Wyk, right, is making an impact for Wits in Varsity Hockey