To Colombia, Portugal, Australia and Beyond: Our International Sporting Success
A number of Rangi Ruru Girls’ School student athletes are donning the silver fern to represent New Zealand on the international sporting stage across BMX, swimming, athletics, rowing, canoeing, waterpolo, softball and cheerleading.
So far in 2022, there are at least 14 Rangi Ruru students representing New Zealand in their chosen sporting codes—including some students representing the country in more than one. Those students are:
• Hollie Tribble (Year 7) was part of the New Zealand Mighty 11s team which won against Australia at the Oceania Championships in Brisbane in April
• Gaby Smith (Year 11) won bronze at the Para World Swim Series in the US and is currently in Portugal for the world champs
• Keira Hall (Year 13) is off to Colombia with the New Zealand Athletics Team to compete at the World U20 Championships in August
• Keira and Abbey Moody (Year 13) are also both competing at the 2022 Oceania Championships in Mackay, Queensland next week. Keira with the U18 women in 800m, 1500 and 4 x 400m and Abbey with the U20 women in javelin
• Abbey is also in the NZ Youth Women’s Waterpolo team along with Aggie Weston (Year 12)
• Isla Joyce (Year 13) was recently named in the NZ Canoe Sprint team to contest the Asia Pacific Championships in Japan in September and in the NZ team to compete at the Junior World Championships in Hungary in August
• Kaiyah Ratu (Year 11) is in the Softball NZ Junior White Sox Squad competing in Australia in July
• Amelia Freeman (Year 12) has represented NZ in cheer over the last three years and recently her team placed 2nd in the Oceania division of a global competition. The team will compete in Brisbane in October at the Australian majors
• We also had six of our rowers chosen for the NZ U19 Junior Rowing Team which competes in Italy in July. They are: Women’s 8 – Georgie Bethell (Year 12), Nicole Vance (Year 12), Holly Lill (Year 13) and Annabel Wynn-Williams (Year 12) (cox) and Women’s Pair – Alice and Pheobe Wallis (Year 12).
Hollie, 11, was one of eight Kiwi kids chosen for the Mighty 11s Trans-Tasman Test in Queensland. Her girls’ team—of which she was the only rider from the South Island—were victorious over their Australian counterparts, winning the Troy Fisher Cup.
Hollie says making the team for the 30-year-old competition run by the national cycling bodies of both countries has been her dream since she started riding as a 4-year-old. She says wearing the New Zealand jersey and bringing the trophy home with her team was “very exciting”.
“You only get one chance to do it, because you have to be 11 on race day, and you get to travel to Australia and you get to travel with your team and make really good friendships. I felt very proud and that I needed to represent New Zealand well.”
The race was held at the Sleeman BMX facility during the Oceania Championships. Hollie says the achievement has only fuelled her passion for the sport.
“I’m going to keep BMXing forever.”
Para Swimming Star
Gaby, 15, won bronze in the women’s 100m breaststroke at the Para World Swimming Series in Indianapolis. The impressive feat means she will be heading to the world champs in Madeira, Portugal this month.
Gaby, a long time member of the Wharenui Swim Club and a Parafed Canterbury athlete, says she was not expecting to take home a medal from her first ever international competition where she also competed in the 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 400m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 50m free style.
“It was quite surprising for everyone,” says Gaby, who was born with no fingers and a partial palm on her left arm. “I started doing my warm down and my manager came over and told me to get out of the pool and get dressed. I thought something must have happened or someone was hurt, but it was for the medal ceremony.
“Standing next to the women who got first and second, I was just in awe, they have Paralympic medals. It was pretty cool.”
While humble about her success, Gaby holds four New Zealand records, was Parafed Canterbury’s Junior Sportsperson and Club Swimmer of the Year for 2021 and Emerging Talent of the Year in 2020.
She swims eight times a week and has two gym session as part of her training regime, and says swimming has always been a big part of her life.
“My mum took me to swimming lessons when I was 3-months-old and I just never stopped. I love the atmosphere and the people involved—all the managers, coaches and swimmers—I just love it.”
After being crowned the New Zealand U18 800m champion, Keira, 17, will compete at the Oceania Championships in Mackay this weekend with javelin thrower and fellow Year 13 student Abbey Moody.
Keira says she has worked hard to reach her goal of securing a national title, and is looking forward to travelling internationally.
“Getting my first NZ title was a goal of mine for this season. I’m also very excited to travel representing New Zealand because it’s such a great opportunity to meet other athletes and will also be very fun. It makes the hard trainings worth it!”
Keira is also one of 12 athletes selected for the Athletics New Zealand team that will travel to Colombia for the World U20 Championships in August.
“As well as meeting new people and making new friends, I’m also looking forward to gaining experience racing the best U20 athletes from all around the world. I’m hoping they will push me to run a personal best.”
Keira says running has not only introduced her to many fellow athletes who have become close friends but has opened the door to exciting opportunities like travelling to new places.
“I also love the feeling after a good training or race,” she says.
Rangi Ruru Girls’ School Director of Sport Mandy Anderson says the recent international successes for students is a reflection of their hard work, dedication to and passion for their sports.
“It is so great to see these young wahine achieving so highly in lots of different sports and we are really impressed with the increasing diversity of sports our students are involved in,” she says.
“It is a privilege to support these students on their sporting journeys and to help them harness and amplify their passion, dedication and perseverance as they work towards their goals.”
She says the school works closely with its student athletes to help provide balance between their school work, sporting pursuits and wellbeing. A dedicated programme, SOAR, provides mental skills coaching, nutrition guidance and strength and conditioning coaching as well as hosting events for students and their families with expert guest speakers.
“We want to support students to be able to achieve at a high level in their chosen sport, and that means creating a culture which promotes wellbeing and balance so as our young wahine progress in their sporting endeavours they have a well-stocked toolkit to be able to draw from to become healthy, happy and fulfilled sportswomen.”