By JENNI RUTHERFORD
Avondale College are fast becoming a major force on secondary schools netball stage.
Their latest win, at the New Zealand secondary schools championships in New Plymouth, was the final goal in what has become a successful year for the side.
Avondale beat Verdon College 35-29 in the final.
The school, playing in the less competitive Waitakere division, were elevated into the premier Auckland grade, getting a chance to foot it with some of the big guns, such as Auckland Girls' Grammar.
Avondale did not put a foot wrong, downing Grammar to win the division and qualify for the national champsionships.
The North Island secondary schools competition was a let-down for Avondale and AGS.
They were favoured to meet in the final, but failed to make it past the semis.
The West Auckland college has just employed Tania Karauria, coach of Coca-Cola Cup side the Auckland Diamonds, as a PE teacher.
Fifth-former Rachel Rasmussen was also part of the Diamonds' 2000 campaign. The promising goal-defence and goal-shoot was a member of the New Zealand under-21 team who finished third at the world youth championships in July and has now been named in the New Zealand secondary schools tournament team along with Silver Ferns squad member Nicolette Ropati (Auckland Girls' Grammar).
Rasmussen's year has been a blur of achievements.
She was part of Avondale's winning basketball side in the Auckland premier league, and the team were second at the New Zealand championships.
As soon as that competition ended, with her name included in the New Zealand secondary schools tournament team, she was whisked to New Plymouth to make her mark on the netball court.
Rasmussen's successes have earned her a nomination as Auckland junior sportswoman of the year.
After important victories in such a short space of time, Avondale College should find themselves among the heavyweights of college netball, with plenty of talent waiting in the wings to continue the charge.
The official Olympic Games may be over in Sydney, but an unofficial Olympics are set to be held in Hamilton from December 8 to 12.
Touted as the "the Olympics for New Zealand schools," the first New Zealand College Games will feature 20 sports, and the medal haul is guaranteed to be huge.
At least 250 of New Zealand's 407 secondary schools are expected to be represented by more than 4500 contestants and 800 coaches, managers and teachers.
The "Olympics" will coincide with the official Games, held every four years, with Hamilton planned as a permanent venue.
Games events will double as national championships for seven of the sports, athletics (28th track and field championships), cricket (girls and boys, Gillette and Yoplait Cups), indoor rowing, judo, petanque and touch.
Other sports are cycling, canoe polo, clay target shooting, duathlon, karting, mountain-biking, disabled riding, springboard diving, swimming, tenpin bowling, volleyball, water polo and wrestling.
Four sports will cater for disabled athletes.
The season resumes next week, with a term left to play to find the regional champions of the girls' and boys' competitions.
National finalists Epsom Girls' Grammar will represent the Auckland zone in Hamilton on December 10 in the Yoplait Cup, while Auckland Grammar will compete in the boy's equivalent, the Gillette Cup.
Events coming up this week include. -
Today: Counties Manukau equestrian.
Friday: Auckland table tennis.
Saturday: Auckland cricket resumes, tennis. North Harbour senior cricket.
Sunday: Auckland mountain-biking team relay.
Monday: Southern region boys softball.
Tuesday: Auckland junior touch.
NZ INTERCOLLEGIATE BOYS GOLF
(Manor Park, Wellington)
450: Rotorua BHS (D. Johnson, B. Iles, S. Hunt, M. Holten).
456: Shirley BHS (S. Russell, B. Choung, D. Lee, E. Lee).
458: Wellington College (S. Pinfold, Brenden Stuart, M. Johns, P. Watkins).
477: Cromwell College (W. Moore, C. Crowther, D. Pollard, Brad Stuart).
488: Whangarei BHS (M. Boys, L. Drake, M. Allen, D. Clarke).
491: Motueka High School (B. Heal, A. Smith, A. McCarthy, K. Stevens).
By JENNI RUTHERFORD