Despite much disruption and disappointment in sport the 31st annual College Sport Wellington awards at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua were a resounding success with plenty to celebrate.
Won previously by heavyweights Melie Kerr, Nick Willis, Lewis Clareburt, Steven Adams, Jerry Collins, Jodi Te Huna and Julianne Alvarez, to name just a few, the 2020 ceremony was attended by about 700 people with 53 sports, 40 schools, and 500 students represented.
Last year’s overall male winner Edward Osei-Nketia (Scots College) officially became New Zealand’s quickest man when he won the National senior 100 and 200 metres sprinting titles in late 2019. Despite limited chances to compete on the global stage in 2020, Osei-Nketia ran the 20th fastest 100 metres (Under-20) time in the world this year and reclaimed his supreme award from 12 months ago.
Osei-Nketia faced competition from a number of athletes. Corran Hanning from Wellington College dominated disabled athletics, setting six national records in the T12 (visual impairment class). Outstanding on both the track and in the field, Hanning established national records for the 100, 200 and 400 metres sprints as well as peerless throws in discus, javelin and shot. He was acknowledged as a supreme award nominee and was named Wellington College Junior Sportsman of the year.
Few matched Jesse Randall in football. The Rongotai College First XI gun was the second highest scorer in the senior men’s Central League and earned a scholarship to the University of Kentucky. He won the boys football and futsal award, and pressed hard in the overall category. On the subject of the American, excellence in gymnastics took Alex Sims from Naenae College all the way to Houston, Texas in January.
Motocross rider Dylan Ball (Whitby Collegiate) knows a thing or two about epic journeys. The 16-year-old won the Expert Grade at the New Zealand Moto Trials and is rarely bettered by anyone in a grueling, individual sport. Ball was a finalist for the supreme award and still has two years left at school.
Jono Little (St Bernard’s College) was captain of the Under-18 Hutt Valley softball team that won Nationals in the summer and led the New Zealand side that competed in the World Championships. He is also a stellar rugby player. Riley Higgins (St Patrick’s College, Silverstream) was recognized as the capital’s best rugby player. He top scored in the Premier I competition.
Scots College successfully defended the Trevor Rigby Football Cup and Premier First XV rugby title with thrilling victories over St Patrick’s College Silverstream. Tawa College denied Scots senior boys basketball glory hitting a last second shot to complete an unbeaten season.
Dare Chung (Chilton St James) is New Zealand’s top female amateur golfer. The New Zealand North Island stroke play champion has competed aboard and created history by being invited to compete in senior men’s events. Unlucky not to win the supreme award last year she joined Osei-Nketia atop the podium.
Emma Douglass (Wellington Girls’ College) covers a wide spectrum on the athletics track. The NZSS Open Girls 800 metres champion also medaled in the 200 metres and was picked in a New Zealand squad. She was crowned female athletics winner and was a nominee for the supreme award.
Mollie Nicol (Queen Margaret College) drove her crew to gold in the North Island Rowing Championships, a rare feat for a capital crew. She was acknowledged with national selection and nominated for the supreme award.
Kiri Winiata-Enoka (Otaki College) was similarly prominent on a national stage. The Junior White Sox softballer was a part of the senior wider squad and helped Hutt Valley win nationals. She took home top female softball player and was also nominated for the supreme award.
Bailey Reddish (Wellington East) is a member of the national waterpolo team and rounded off the leading girls.
Wellington Girls’ College beat Wellington East 2-0 in the Premier Girls football final. St Mary’s College continued their dominance of rugby while Wellington East beat Sacred Heart in the Polhen Cup basketball final.
A stirring rendition of the national anthem was performed by Mia Welsh-Duffin from Taita College while further entertainment was provided by the Rongotai College Big Band and Off Topic, runners up in the Smokefree Rockquest from Paraparaumu College. Te Aniwa Hurihanganui and Jason Pine were fine MC’s with the latter interviewing special guest former test cricketer and Ronogtai old boy Jeetan Patel.
-Story courtesy of College Sport Media