Emelita Leota – Lighting Up Bishop Viard College

Porirua is a hotbed of Wellington sporting talent with countless personalities enjoying success at the national and international levels. In 2020 a new generation of Porirua athletes are making waves at high school and may one day themselves become household names. College Sport Wellington went on tour to meet some of these outstanding young talents. 

Emelita Leota grew up with four older brothers who played First XV rugby at Wellington College.

Feistily competitive games of backyard ‘touch’ coupled with athletic genes have conditioned Emelita into a leading sportswoman and official at Bishop Viard College.

The Year 12 student was a recipient of a Service to School acknowledgment at the 2019 College Sport Wellington (CSW) Awards.

In addition to representing her school in athletics, badminton, netball, and basketball, she plays football for the boys’ First XI team and achieved national honours in volleyball. She is a regional level referee in volleyball and a community whistle-blower in basketball.

Leota started playing volleyball in Year 9 and swiftly made an impression. In 2017 Bishop Viard won the CSW junior regional title defeating St Mary’s College in the final. The same two schools met in the senior regional’s decider in March, but this time it was St Mary’s who prevailed.

“We put up a good fight, but St Mary’s was stronger. They are our toughest rivals. We tried to put off one player, but they covered well,” Leota reflected.

“I play opposite which is on the right side in the front and back row. I’m a visual player. I look to fix mistakes before they happen. I try to target weak players in the opposition to set up scoring chances.”

Calculated efficiency has seen Leota selected for Wellington at Under 15 and 17 levels. She plays senior volleyball for the Hawks club based at Sacred Heart College. In October she earned a National junior trial.

“That was a three-day camp in Hamilton. We had lots of skills drilled into us and split into teams for games. It was intimidating and exciting versing some of the best players in New Zealand,” Leota revealed.

In September she was meant to be bound for Nakhon Pathom in Thailand where she was picked in a New Zealand Junior team for a ten-day tour. Unfortunately, the outbreak of coronavirus resulted in the cancellation of the trip. Instead, a series of high-performance camps and training sessions will be held.

Leota identified current New Zealand Junior Men’s coach Leanne Turrell as a pivotal mentor and believes Cliff Elisara added some much-needed steel to the Bishop Viard program.

“Cliff started this year and he was good for us. His criticism is tough, but he only wants what’s best for us.”

“Sport is about friendship and being guided by good mentors, that’s pretty much all it is.”

Off the volleyball floor, Leota says she most enjoys basketball where she plays point guard or centre.

Last summer she won the Under 16 shotput at the Western Zones and has held the Viard Shield in the same discipline for three years – defeating rivals from St Peter’s College, Cullinane College, Chanel College, and Hato Paora College.

Leota enjoys studying chemistry, physics, biology, and calculus. While most days of the week are devoted to sports Sunday is reserved for the church where she is a parishioner at EFKS in Porirua.

 

-Story courtesy of College Sport Media