Talented Watson leaves others in her wake

Give Danielle Watson a stick, a paddle or a bat and she will handle it well.

The multi-talented Tawa College student has been able to shine at kayaking, hockey and cricket.

Watson, 15, was a member of the Tawa College first XI who won the national secondary schools cricket title in December, and was this month named in the Capital (regional) under-18 hockey squad.

She has also been excelling at a national level in kayaking and won five titles at the 2015 New Zealand canoe sprint championships at Lake Karapiro.

The year 12 athlete will have a busy winter, as she juggles training sessions on the water with her hockey commitments at school, club and representative level.

Kayaking is becoming her No 1 sport but plans to keep playing cricket and hockey.

“I’ve always done it and I enjoy it,” she said. “I probably won’t spend as much time on cricket but I’m still focused on hockey and looking forward to the season.”

Watson has been in the senior hockey and cricket teams at Tawa since year 9, taking up both sports when she was “7 or 8”.

Her interest in kayaking developed later, almost by osmosis, as her father, Mark, coaches the sport.

“I went along with Dad and probably started when I was 10 or 11. But I’ve only been training properly in the last year or two.

“We have got a really good group of people in our [kayaking] squad and I enjoy the training.”

Watson’s work paid off at the national championships, when she won the under-16 K1 500m and teamed with Hawke’s Bay paddler Farren McGregor-Smyth to win the K2 200m and 500m.

The pair then joined Tess Allen (Kapiti College) and Gemma Woolcock (Sacred Heart) to take the prestigious under-18 K4 200m and 500m finals, which also doubled as Oceania championship titles.

Allen and Woolcock were also placed in the under-18 K2 200m and 500m, and Allen finished third in the K1 500m and K1 5km.

Caitlin Clarke (Tawa) won the under-14 K1 5km and teamed with Neve Sissons (Aotea College) to claim silver in the K2 200m and 500m.

Ethan Moore (St Bernard’s), in only his second year in the sport, finished second in the under-16 K1 200m and 500m.

Moore, Allen and Watson also took part in trials last weekend for the New Zealand team for the junior world championships.