Clay Shooting: Shooter bags top prize at awards

Clay target shooting is not the sport that comes to mind immediately when considering who would win the Tauranga Boys' College Sportsman of the Year award, but the sport hit the jackpot when New Zealand champion Brody Clark took out the top prize at the school's Titans Sports Awards dinner on Friday night.

Clark has swept all before him in 2012, winning the High Over All award in the Super 8 competition, before he took out the South Island title and then shot a perfect score of 90/90 to become the high gun New Zealand secondary schools champion.

The school's elite athletes were feted at the dinner in what has been another vintage year, with 44 boys representing New Zealand and 13 top five finishes in team sports at national level. The junior volleyball, surfing and squash teams were crowned national champions.

The most prestigious awards were spread around a variety of sports.

Alex Oakley won the Best Allrounder Award for his outstanding efforts in squash and cricket. He was selected in the New Zealand secondary schools squash team, the New Zealand under-17 cricket team and his wicketkeeping skills saw him picked for the Bay of Plenty men's cricket team.

Michael Sutton picked up the prestigious Pergo et Perago Award after his selection in the New Zealand secondary schools cross country team and his high academic standards.

The highlight of the evening for the boys was the chance to meet with Olympic silver medallist Peter Burling, who was Sportsman of the Year at Tauranga Boys' four years ago.

In his guest speaker role, Burling outlined the fundamental principles that have guided him to his yachting successes and helped him make an immediate impact in the dramatically different role as skipper of Team Korea's AC45 catamaran last month.

"The key is to out-learn the others," Burling said.

"We did in four years what most crews do in eight to get up to podium standard in the 49er class.

"Planning, debriefing and out-learning everyone else were so important to our success, as well as working harder than them. There is no replacement for hard work."

Burling says the last four years since he was winning awards at Tauranga Boys' have flown by.

"I suppose it has been a pretty busy four years and it is pretty cool how much I have managed to achieve in those years.

"I was sitting in this hall as sports captain and four years before that I was quite fortunate to be here, sitting at the back as a third former in the sailing team."

Burling made quite an impact on the students, especially those who have Olympic aspirations.

The college athletics champion Alex Colvin, who is in the 2016 Rio Olympics development squad and came second in the New Zealand under-17 long jump competition, was inspired by what Burling has achieved.

"It just makes me want to go just that much harder seeing what he has done, especially going to his first Olympics in Beijing when he was just 17 and still a schoolboy. It is pretty much unreal," he said.

"All of us sportspeople try and aim for that but some of us don't make it. He is just such a good talent."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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