College Sport: NZ squads in three different sports

By Peter White


There has been no shortage of sporting talent at Tauranga Girls' College since the school began in 1958 but Amy Robinson has set a record that may take some beating.

The 16-year-old has been selected in three New Zealand squads this year in hockey, athletics and beach volleyball - sports that require different skill sets and disciplines.

Last year she was named Junior Female Athlete of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships after winning gold medals in the 100 metres and the long jump, silver in the 80m hurdles and 100m relay, and bronze in the 400m relay.

She followed that up this year by helping her school win bronze at the national cross country champs and she finished second in the gruelling seven-event heptathlon at the nationals.

Her reward is inclusion in the Athletics New Zealand squad for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January, which will be selected after the nationals in December.

This winter Robinson made the Tauranga under-18 and Midlands under-21 secondary schools hockey teams, before getting the call to join the New Zealand under-18 training squad that starts a four-day camp this Friday.

To round off an extraordinary sporting year, she won gold at the national under-17 age group beach volleyball champs and went to Vanuatu with the New Zealand team.

Robinson is as highly focused and goal-orientated as you would expect from an elite athlete and is thrilled to make all three squads.

"It makes me quite happy and it is a big achievement to make a New Zealand squad, let alone three. I work hard at it, that's for sure. I am well organised so try to fit in all the training and my school work as well."

Of all her achievements so far in her sporting career, being named the best junior female athlete at last year's secondary school nationals is top of the list.

"I thought after one of my races I had to have a chance as I was one of the top performers. It was really exciting being called up to get that award as I didn't think that I could get it."

Her athletics coach is former Bay of Plenty rugby player Todd Blyth, who also coaches 19-year-old national sprint champion Joseph Miller.

"This is my first year with Todd and I feel like I am improving so much already, just getting more strength, and I quite like the training."

Robinson has two sporting pathways to consider when she finishes school next year.

"I have this dream to study in America but if I could make the New Zealand hockey team then I would stay here and chase my goal of going to the Olympics in Rio."

Mark Elliott is the director of sport at Tauranga Girls' and has not comes across another athlete quite like Robinson.

"I have been here 17 years and we have had a lot of New Zealand reps through the school," he said. "We have had 32 this year but in my time, we have never had someone make three New Zealand squads in one year.

"It is an outstanding achievement and just shows the multi- talent that she has, as the national squads are in three very different sports. On top of that is her heptathlon.

"She shows huge leadership potential and uses her time wisely and is 100 per cent reliable and a pleasure to deal with."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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