Stellar sportswomen emerge

By Siobhan Leathley

Napier Girls' High School is producing more and more successful sportswomen. This is down to a combination of hard work from the students and support from the school.

Brianna Massie, 16, is one of the school's sporting successes - she recently won the Tararua District Council Sportsperson of the Year for Orienteering.

"I was shocked when I found out, I didn't expect or believe it," she told Hawkes Bay Today.

However, this is only one of her awards. She came second in last year's World Championships in Italy for the individual long event in orienteering.

The Year 12 student decided to join the orienteering team four years ago, after watching her brother compete. Brianna's goal is to represent New Zealand again before she graduates from high school - a dream that the school and its staff are helping her achieve.

Head of sport at Napier Girls' High Jo Vernnell said the teachers in charge of different sports supported students by monitoring their progress and encouraging them.

But at the end of the day it was the girls' responsibility.

"In terms of orienteering, it is up to them to do the training and keep fit, but we help them in any way we can."

The school also supports students by inviting guests, such as Silver Fern Katrina Grant, to visit the school and talk to students. Yesterday Grant spoke to students who are national representatives or top players in their sport.

Brianna attended the session to get some advice on how to balance schoolwork, training - she runs every day for 30 minutes to an hour - and her social life.

Grant said the most important advice she could give the girls was for them to write down their dreams, so they "know what they need to achieve and how to get there".

The Silver Fern said she wanted to motivate girls to get the most they could from sport and she hoped the experiences she shared would inspire them to do that.

Ms Vernnell said students compete in a number of sports, including rock climbing, equestrian and badminton and she wants the girls who attended yesterday's talk to realise it is possible to achieve their dreams and be successful.

Brianna is only one of the excellent sportswomen to emerge from the school.

Emma Twigg, single sculler in New Zealand's 2012 Olympic rowing squad, is another.

And with Brianna's help, the school won top school in the secondary school nationals for orienteering and is a possibility for competition in Portugal next year.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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