Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools Sportsperson of the Year award winner, cyclist Regan Gough, hopes the 600km-plus of training he puts in each week will see his world championship silvers replaced by golds next year.
"Next year the junior world championships will be my age group. I was two years younger than some of my competitors this year," Central Hawke's Bay College's Gough explained after receiving the award in front of a 400-strong crowd in the Hawke's Bay Opera House last night.
Earlier in the evening, Gough, 17, won the male award and he was hot favourite for the premier award, after winning two silver medals as a member of the New Zealand team at the August junior world track championships in Glasgow. One was in the team pursuit final and the other in the 30km Madison 120-lap race with Alexandra's Liam Aitcheson.
Those feats saw Gough named in an extended training squad to prepare for next year's Commonwealth Games.
Last week, he won the junior male award for the fourth consecutive year at the Central Hawke's Bay Sports Awards.
At his last Oceania Championships in Adelaide, Gough won a gold medal in his scratch race final and a silver in the team pursuit final. He is a cousin of Olympian Westley Gough, the last cyclist to win the Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools premier award, eight years ago.
Gough was full of praise for the support he receives from coach Ivar Hopman and his parents, Dean and Penny. He will return to school again next year and intends to make a career out of cycling.
Woodford House's Hannah Bailey, who is a multiple national champion rower, took home the female award. She was a member of the Kiwi Junior Women's Quad crew which finished fifth at the August junior world championships in Ukraine.
At the Maadi Cup New Zealand Secondary Schools Champs in March, Bailey, 17, won gold in the under-17 single scull and silver in the under-18 single scull. At the February national champs, Bailey was a key member of the Hawke's Bay club quad crew which won gold.
The celebrations continued for Woodford House when sailors Olivia Mackay and Abby Goodwin captured the team award. They finished sixth in the 420 female class at the world youth championships.
Goodwin and Mackay also won the open national championship title in their class and finished second in the North Island championships.
Orienteering guru Derek Morrison, who coaches the Napier Girls' High School and Napier Boys' High School teams, took home the coach award for the third consecutive year. This year, Morrison coached the New Zealand Schools team to victory at the Oceania champs in January and at the Transtasman Trophy event in September.
He also coached the NBHS and NGHS teams at the April world schools champs in Portugal, where the junior boys team finished second, the senior boys fourth and both girls teams eighth.
Hawke's Bay-raised two-time Olympic Games rower Emma Twigg was last night's guest speaker.
She told the athletes if they were passionate about their sports, enjoyed them and dreamt about them, they should pursue them.
"You are only young once."
She recalled getting a merit award at the 2004 version of the awards when Kiwi sailing legend Barbara Kendall was guest speaker. Twigg thanked the Hawke's Bay sponsors who have supported her over the years.