A friendly rivalry between Kane Williamson and Peter Burling that illuminated Tauranga Boys' College sports awards for the five years they attended together will continue on the biggest stage of New Zealand sport.
Williamson and Burling are among the country's top athletes nominated for the 53rd Halberg Awards to be held on February 18 in Auckland.
Williamson, 25, is a finalist for the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year award along with Bay Of Plenty golfer Danny Lee, world rugby Player of the Year Daniel Carter and IndyCar Series winner Scott Dixon.
Williamson was named the world number one test batsman in December after scoring the most test runs in a calendar year (1172). He scored five test centuries, including two against Australia and one on his debut at Lord's in London. He averaged a Don Bradman-like 90.15 for the year.
Burling, 25, and Blair Tuke are in the toughest category of all, the Microsoft Surface Team of the Year. They are up against world champion men's pair winners and Supreme Halberg Award holders Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, Rugby World Cup winners the All Blacks and the Black Caps, New Zealand's first men's team to reach the Cricket World Cup final.
Burling and Tuke won the coveted ISAF Rolex World Male Sailors of the Year award and their third consecutive world 49er championship title to extend their record unbeaten run to 22 consecutive victories. Both also helped Team New Zealand win the America's Cup qualifier series.
Read more: Peter Burling, man with wind in his sails
Rotorua's Lee enjoyed his best year as a professional golfer, winning the Greenbrier Classic on the US PGA Tour and was selected for the Presidents Cup Team.
The High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year will again be closely contested with 2014 winner and world number one golfer Lydia Ko shortlisted alongside double world champion canoeist Lisa Carrington from Whakatane, road cycling world champion Linda Villumsen, swimmer Lauren Boyle who produced two silver medals at the FINA World Championships.
Four promising athletes have been selected for the Emerging Talent award including pole vaulter Eliza McCartney, who broke a world junior record and double junior world champion track cyclist Campbell Stewart. Tall Black and New Zealand Breakers development player Tai Wynyard and Dylan Schmidt, who finished tenth at the Trampoline World Championships, are also shortlisted.
The Coach of the Year finalists are All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and Carrington's coach Gordon Walker, Burling's 49er coach Hamish Willcox and Black Caps coach Mike Hesson.
Named after Olympic champion Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ), the Halberg Awards is the country's pre-eminent event to honour and celebrate sporting excellence.
The Awards are also the major fundraising event for Sir Murray's charity - the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation - which aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation.
The full list of finalists for the 53rd Halberg Awards:
* High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year (Eligible for the supreme Halberg Award): Daniel Carter (Rugby), Danny Lee (Golf), Kane Williamson (Cricket), Scott Dixon (Motorsport).
* High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year (Eligible for the supreme Halberg Award): Lauren Boyle (Swimming), Linda Villumsen (Cycling), Lisa Carrington (Canoeing), Lydia Ko (Golf).
* Disabled Sportsperson of the Year (Eligible for the supreme Halberg Award): Corey Peters (Para-Skiing), Michael Johnson (Para-Shooting), Nikita Howarth (Para-Swimming), Sophie Pascoe (Para-Swimming).
* Microsoft Surface Team of the Year (Eligible for the supreme Halberg Award): All Blacks (Rugby), Black Caps (Cricket), Men's Pair; Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (Rowing), Men's 49er Class; Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Yachting).
* SKY NEXT Emerging Talent: Campbell Stewart (Cycling), Dylan Schmidt (Trampoline), Eliza McCartney (Athletics), Tai Wynyard (Basketball).
* Coach of the Year: Gordon Walker (Canoeing), Hamish Willcox (Yachting), Mike Hesson (Cricket), Steve Hansen (Rugby).