College Sport: Juggling nets, hoops and school

By Terry Maddaford

Busy student plays in top basketball and netball teams.

Maia Wilson, 15, played in her school's top teams at national final level for both netball and basketball. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Maia Wilson, 15, played in her school's top teams at national final level for both netball and basketball. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Maia Wilson gives new meaning to being a girl in a hurry in being caught in a tug of war between promising netball and basketball careers.

Juggling both is a challenge but when you are good enough to play for your school at the highest level, despite being only a year 10 (fourth form) student, the sporting world is very much your oyster - particularly if your school is good enough to reach the national finals in both sports.

Any disappointment at losing the basketball final - a huge step up from a ninth-place finish a year earlier - was more than compensated for by the win Mt Albert Grammar scored in beating Tu Toa handsomely in the netball finale.

COLLEGE SPORT RESULTS

In the AA basketball finals in Nelson, MAGS went down to Hamilton GHS but a few days later and further down the South Island they grabbed the netball spoils in Timaru.

Wilson, 15, a key member of both teams, admits she is happy it is all over.

"It has been very busy juggling both, but that's my life," said the lanky 1.88m multi-talented sportswoman.

"I never have an empty afternoon. Luckily they don't often clash but that can mean having to run from one to another which often involves four to five hours training."

In saying it is over, Wilson is only telling half the story.

Her school sporting commitments might be behind her for the year, but she is now heading into representative basketball at Waitakere-Auckland and has been selected as one of seven from MAGS to attend the upcoming Netball NZ talent identification camp.

Her sporting prowess does not end there, although she admits her athletics ambitions might go on hold as netball, basketball, shot put and discus is becoming an unlikely mix.

Wilson's chosen sports have already taken her to Singapore (for netball) and Australia (for basketball and athletics) with other trips abroad put in the "can't afford it" basket.

But that has not stopped her drive to get the most from her sport and balance a hectic life inside and outside sport.

It must be difficult to switch from one indoor ball sport to another?

"In some ways, I suppose, but I am always thinking about whichever sport I'm doing at the time," she said. "I have learned to focus on what I am doing. Mentally it is not too difficult but at times it can be physically demanding."

A preference?

"None, really, although I am keen to get a scholarship at an American university which would have to be for basketball."

Wilson does not discount heading down the path a handful have already taken in playing for both the Silver and Tall Ferns.

"If I was lucky enough to ever be in that position it could be a decision I would have to make. At the moment I'm just thinking about finishing school and taking it from there."

Beyond her remaining three years at MAGS - her 17-year-old brother Kahi is also at the school and playing in their premier basketball team - she has her sights set on a degree in psychology.

From a sole parent family but with a very supportive mother, brother and grandfather, Wilson is grateful for the support she receives in juggling a busy life which often includes meals prepared by her mother to be eaten whenever she can and the cost of replacing shoes which are subjected to plenty of wear and tear in keeping her feet firmly on the ground - or court.


College wrap

Cricket

Auckland Grammar resume their chase for the coveted Auckland SS premier two-day title with a trip to old rivals Kings.

AGS take a two-point lead in to the third round after winning their two term one matches and Kings are in equal fifth, six points out of the lead. WBHS, who trail AGS by two points and are alone in second place, are home to Sacred Heart who share fifth place with Kings. In the other premier match, MAGS are at home to Macleans. Both teams have four points heading into the last three rounds.

League

There was only a missed conversion in it, but the rookie Pakuranga College team celebrated their school's first year in the sport with a 12-10 win over Orewa College in Monday night's grand final of the Auckland SS under-85kg competition at Mt Smart.

The teams were evenly matched, but when Pakuranga finally broke the deadlock they looked the stronger of the two finalists. Their first try came from an excellent angled run that put Tevita Sifa across the line wide out. Ata Hingano added a superb conversion.

When they scored again - Hingano crossing the line and adding the conversion for a 12-0 lead heading to halftime - the signs looked grim for Orewa.

But Orewa came out fighting and kept Pakuranga from scoring.

Eventually their tenacity paid off and they scored two tries, the first to the very popular Rocco Hill, which was converted by Jake Foster. With the clock ticking down, Orewa made a break and Taylor Morgan scored their vital second try.

Unfortunately Foster missed the difficult conversion.

Kiwi and Warriors fullback Kevin Locke made the presentations with Orewa's Jordan Waterworth named player of the day.

Netball

MAGS outclassed old rivals Tu Toa 43-24 in the national secondary schools final in Timaru.

The win was a reversal of their last meeting in a final when, three years ago, Tu Toa ruled.

Goal attack Meretini Fuimaono led the charge for MAGS from the outset, confidently slotting goals from all angles and getting the better of rangy Tu Toa goal defence Kayla Williams, who used her height and reach to great advantage.

MAGS captain Erikana Pedersen's combination with centre Nadia Loveday was the strongest in the competition as they worked tirelessly and seamlessly together in looking down court to find holding shooters Chiara Semple (first half) and Maia Wilson (second) at every opportunity.

At the other end of the court, Jamie-Lee Price and Holly Fowler stifled the movement of the usually dynamic Tu Toa shooting duo of Shaani Temata Frost and Emma May Murray-Fifita, forcing them to shoot from distance and then claiming repeated rebounds.

Tu Toa had moments of brilliance, especially in the second quarter with centre and captain Renee Te Riini inspiring her team.

Tu Toa goal attack Anania Cook brought some much-needed patience to the attacking line after the first quarter but with MAGS already out to a solid 9-2 lead which proved more than enough as a winning foundation.

Soccer

Auckland secondary schools will today vote on a proposal to expand the premier league from eight to 12 teams for the 2013 season.

Moved by St Peters and seconded by KBHS, the remit is one of a handful to come before today's annual meeting at Bill McKinlay Park.

In calling for change, the plan would be for each school to play each other once - a total of 11 games (but without a home and away component) before splitting into championship, plate and bowl rounds (four teams in each) with teams retaining their first round points and goals for and against records.

Again, it would be just three games with the home draw reversed from the first round to find the respective winners.

The bottom team (in the bowl competition) would be relegated (replaced by the top A1 school with the second-to-last premier side playing the second-placed A1 team for the last spot in the following year's competition.

The schools involved see it as an opportunity to develop soccer across greater Auckland and give more schools a taste of top level football and, hopefully, bring an end to the situation when teams often find themselves being promoted one year and relegated the next.

Another remit to today's meeting will seek to stop boys returning for a repeat seventh form year (year 13) to play soccer.

The remit, put forward by Auckland Grammar, wants students declared ineligible to play in the premier or senior A1-A4 grades for a second successive years. The remit also seeks to have students who repeat fifth form (year 11) and then go to seventh form should be eligible to play.

Next year's season is set to start on May 11 with entries closing on April 19 and Knockout Cup entries two days earlier.

On the web:
www.collegesport.co.nz

For results go to:
http://tinyurl.com/collegesport

- NZ Herald

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