College Sport: Massey becoming force on cycling scene

By Terry Maddaford

Massey High School cycling team, from left, Sammy Croft, Renee Wooton, Lydia Rippon and Laura Newman Watt hit the road in a time trial. Photo / Supplied
Massey High School cycling team, from left, Sammy Croft, Renee Wooton, Lydia Rippon and Laura Newman Watt hit the road in a time trial. Photo / Supplied

Massey High School has long been a force in North Harbour secondary schools rugby and a factor in other sports but few would have predicted the impact they have made nationally in the continued emergence of cycling.

On the local scene, too, they are turning heads as evidenced by the outstanding ride for second in the last round of the senior girls' time trial in Mangere when they split perennial front-runners St Cuthberts and Diocesan.

In national selections the school celebrated as three of their students were named in the 22-strong squads. In having more than 10 per cent of the nationally recognised cyclists, the West Auckland school had plenty to celebrate.

Lydia Rippon, in her first year in the grade, was selected in the New Zealand under-17 team for the upcoming July trip to Australia while Sammy Croft and Lewis Stevens, in their second year as under-17s, were selected in the national development squads.

Having the trio recognised nationally has been an inspiration for other members of the school's cycling team and led to better and bigger results with many now forcing their way into the top 10 in their respective grades.

Rippon and Croft have wasted little time in forcing their way on to the national stage having taken up cycling just 2 years ago - a year after Stevens first rode.

Their successes have come across the board.

At last year's club nationals Rippon won the time trial championship and finished second in the individual road race after claiming the Auckland under-15 road title. She won the national criterium and was third in the Mt Wellington hillclimb. More recently Rippon won the Auckland road race championship.

Croft won bronze in last year's road race championship, was seventh in the North Island road race, second in the national SS criterium and fifth in the hillclimb.

He went one better in this year's Auckland road race claiming silver.

On the track, Stevens won the points race in his grade at last year's national championships - a day after riding the testing junior Tour of Manawatu where he consistently claimed top 10 finishes. In this season's under-17 Auckland road race he just failed to make the podium.

Collectively, the trio have competed with distinction in other nationally recognised road races and tours.

This new wave has followed a number of former Massey cyclists on to the international stage including Dion Smith who is in the BikeNZ/Pure Black Team and was racing in the Tour of Ireland until a crash a few days ago ended his race and left him needing surgery.

Oliver Harding Sheath, Latham Croft, and Steven and Dan Furminger are other former Massey pupils to represent this country in recent years.

JUBILEE

Plenty of on and off-field action on Saturday as one of Auckland's most successful sporting schools celebrates its 90th jubilee.

The top Mt Albert Grammar netball, rugby and soccer teams - all New Zealand champions in recent years - will be in action at home.

The premier netball team will set the ball rolling against Kings at 10.30am in the school's new state-of-the-art gymnasium followed at 12.30pm by the premier soccer X1 in the first of two games with St Kentigern. At 2.30pm the fourth-placed Mags 1st XV will run out to play the 1A leaders in the match of the round.

Many old boys are expected at the school to watch what should be entertaining games in all codes. The weekend's celebrations will start with a Friday night get together in the school's famous hall.

MULTISPORT

Mt Maunganui College head boy Sam Durrant was first home the New Zealand SS multisport championships in Rotorua - but only just in the 60-strong field which featured a massed start for male and female competitors.

Durrant, 17, an experienced triathlete, finished the 6km kayak, 15km mountainbike and 6km run Grassroots Challenge, part of the Expand-A-Sign 3D multisport festival, in 1h 36m 8s on a course taking in Lake Okareka and the Whakarewarewa Forest.

But it was a close run thing as Durrant only overhauled Rangitoto College's outstanding Danielle McKenzie on the final run leg after both had chased 14-year-old Trident College rookie Campbell Reid who shot to a handy lead with an outstanding kayak leg.

"I didn't think I was capable of winning it after that kayak. I was kind of aiming for top-five at that stage but I pushed pretty hard on the bike and came off as second male, which was a big surprise," Durrant said. "I've had a bit of mountain biking experience and that was definitely the leg where you could make up a lot of time but I still needed to work hard on the run."

His 42m 21s mountain bike leg was the fastest of the day and he then posted the third fastest run time finishing 2m 35s clear of the next fastest male Dunstan High's Sam McCulloch, with Trident's Sam Oliver third.

McKenzie, the national age group triathlon champion and a New Zealand surf lifesaving squad member and titleholder, used all her racing experience to finish in 1h 37m 14s - a little over a minute after Durrant.

She was second off the water after a brilliant 21m 40s kayak leg and maintained the pressure over the final two legs to finish nearly 15mins clear of her closest female challenger, Trident's Janneke Olthuis. McKenzie was nearly 12mins faster than her winning time a year ago.

"I've only been out about three times in a K1 this year but it felt okay. I just love racing and this is such a great event so I'm stoked to do well in it," said McKenzie.

RUGBY

They might not be among the highest-rated New Zealand secondary schools on the rugby team but there is no doubt Westlake BHS have crafted a proud record in their first 50 years.

A well-chronicled history of the part the game has played at the school is the result of surely what must have been a painstaking labour of love by Tony Vinicombe who has found time, when not teaching mathematics (since 1986), to produce a fabulous record of the school's rugby in his book Westlake Rugby: The First 50 Years.

To mark the jubilee of 1st XV rugby, Vinicombe has named a Jubilee XV. Not surprisingly, four of the schools five All Blacks, Ron Williams, Frano Botica, Nick Evans and Luke McAlister are included in his dream team. The fifth, Dean Kenny did not meet the criteria of having played for the WBHS 1st XV as he played his senior school rugby at Palmerston North BHS after spending his third and fourth form years at Westlake.

Williams, named captain of the Jubilee XV, is the only forward among their All Blacks with the remaining four all inside backs. Evans is named at fullback, Botica at first-five with McAlister outside him at second-five.

Elsewhere Westlake players have made their mark. Iain Abercrombie and Mike Mills were among those to play for Auckland and Ben Botica, Mike Harris, Wayne Pivac along with Williams, Frano Botica, and McAlister among the 29 who have pulled on a North Harbour jersey.

AUCKLAND: In Saturday's 1A catch-up game, De La Salle upset world champions KBHS 31-29 in a cliff-hanger.

The win took De La Salle into the top four ahead of this week's crucial round when they will entertain Kings. In other key match-ups, Mags are at home to table-topping St Kentigern; second-placed AGS are at home to third-placed Sacred Heart and Kelston travel to play St Peters in the "Cage."

WAIKATO: Hamilton BHS came from behind to beat Auckland Grammar in the 97th annual encounter between the two schools which this year had the Headmaster's Bowl - an impressive new trophy engraved with the results of all previous matches between the two schools - at stake.

The visitors scored two early converted tries and led 14-10 at half time but the hosts the better of the second half and went on to win 30-24.

Hamilton BHS have now won the annual match between the two schools for the last seven years.

St Pauls Collegiate suffered their second loss in the Central North Island competition, beaten 26-13 by Palmerston North BHS.

On the local scene, Cambridge HS had a decisive 36-18 win over St Peter's School and have now taken a clear lead in division one as the only unbeaten side after just three rounds. In other matches St John's College beat Matamata College 45-15 and Morrinsville College had a 32-10 win over Tokoroa High School.

Te Awamutu shaded HBHS 3rd XV 12-7 to head division two, while Melville and HBHS 4th XV share the lead in Division three.

SOCCER

Keen to at least match last season's effort when they beat three senior teams in the ASB Chatham Cup, the Westlake BHS 1st XI have already ticked off their first two scalps in 2012.

On Monday they came from behind to claim their biggest victory when they bundled out Lotto Northern Regional Premiers and two-time cup-winners Manurewa 7-2. It was their first premier scalp after beating seven lower-ranked teams in the past.

Manurewa took an early lead after converting a penalty but the Miroslav Nikolic-coached Westlake team then scored seven unanswered goals before Manurewa scored the last goal when trailing 1-7. Dylan Stansfield scored two as did Judd Baker and Stuart Holthusen. Sam Brotherton added the other.

Stansfield, Jack Caunter and Ben Roberts from the school team are all members of the Manurewa squad and play for them when there is no school football. Louie Caunter, Jack's brother, was due to play for Manurewa but a finger injury ruled him out of the game.

NETBALL

Ahead in every quarter, the New Zealand SS team trounced their Australian counterparts 38-25 in the final of the transtasman series in Adelaide.

After taking an 8-5 lead in the first quarter, New Zealand won the second quarter 12-3 to lead 20-8 at halftime.

The Australians bridged the gap a little in the third quarter before New Zealand pulled away to win by 13 goals.

Goalshoot Malia Paseka landed 29 of 37 attempts (78 per cent) and goal attack Shaani Temata-Frost nine of 12 (75 per cent).

New Zealand opened with a 66-4 win over Samoa and followed that with victories over the Pacific Rim, Australia (35-31), and the Indigenous Schools before beating Bukit Jalil Sports School 35-19 in the semifinals.

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