MAGS 17-year-old will be youngest in squad for softball worlds in Canada.

Cole Evans didn't have Mark Sorenson's number in his phone when the Black Sox coach called with the news he will be the youngest in the New Zealand softball squad for next month's world championships in Canada. But he does now.

Despite trialing earlier in the year, the 17-year-old Mt Albert Grammar School Year 13 student and centre infielder says he had no inkling he was on the Black Sox radar.

"I didn't think I would get a look-in, with the amount of talent in New Zealand, and especially in the position I play."

Sorenson spoke of Evans having the x-factor, a big call on one so young, but then he was just 16 when he got the call-up to the 1984 world champs. His philosophy is clearly if you are good enough, you are old enough.


Evans seems like a grounded young man - his grandfather and MAGS premier coach Stu Kinghorn helps ensure that - but he is confident he will have what it takes should he receive game-time at the champs. His softball pedigree is impeccable, with his parents, grandfather, brother and aunt all having played to club, rep or international level. Asked what he will bring to the Black Sox, the word "energy" is uppermost.

"Some guys are going to their fifth world champs, like Brad Rona, so they have been there and done that. I'm not saying they won't bring energy, but I'm going to my first and I'm just buzzing to get out there," says Evans.

His role will be to field ground balls, or take close catches, and fire opponents out at first base. His batting is a work-on, but he exudes an inner self-confidence.

"Softball is about self-confidence. It's one-on-one a lot of the time, you versus the pitcher, but it's you who has to make the play when the ball is hit to you."

Evans was inspired by seeing the Black Sox winning the 2013 world champs on home turf, and admits that while he wanted to experience that moment, he didn't think the opportunity would come so soon.

MAGS have a strong softballing culture, with the premier boys and girls and juniors all enjoying success at Auckland and national level in recent seasons. Kinghorn plays a big part in that, and Evans has been able to feed off his knowledge since he cracked the premier team as a youngster in Year 9. This season finished with MAGS as the national champions for the third time in a row in the premier boys' ranks, though they went down to St Peter's in the Auckland final. Evans is the captain, but other key players include pitcher Seth Bourgeois and top batter Marshall Maynard, both of whom are going to the August world champs with the Junior Black Sox.

Evans' time playing premier club softball with Ramblers has helped too. There he comes under the wing of player/coach and Black Sox skipper Nathan Nukunuku. And he doesn't have many issues with the older heads sledging the young bucks.

For now, he is hitting the books and the gym hard, and getting back into softball mode after a short break. He will seek to carry the same form into his first Black Sox campaign from MVP outings at the national U17s, U19s and fastpitch championships.


"It would be nice to get an opportunity, but I'll look to fill in wherever I can and make the most of it."

ASB Young Sports Person of the Year winners 1991-2014

Each week from now until the ASB YSPOTY awards dinner in November, Campbell Burnes will profile past winners as we count down to the 25th annual event which honours the top young sportspeople in the region.

Michael Bullot (Westlake BHS) 2001
Michael Bullot has Rio on his mind.

The laser class sailor won the 2001 boys' ASB Young Sportsman of the Year honour out of Westlake BHS and is hungry for an Olympic medal.

Following time away from yachting after missing selection for the 2012 London Olympics, Bullot is refocused and re-energised.

"I felt there was some unfinished business on the sailing front. I dusted off the laser and got into it with my first European event in May 2014 ... It's been a really tough 12 months with plenty of testing moments, but I think I'm finally where I need to be," he says. That is at No6 in the world rankings and with his eye on the July world champs in Canada.

In 2001, Bullot won the open laser radial world champs and the youth world champs a fortnight later, making him the first and still only sailor to have clinched both titles in the same year.

It helped him to the North Harbour sportsperson of the year gong. He was crucial for Westlake, captaining them to the national teams' racing title and inter-dominion title against an Australian school.

alerie Adams won the girls' ASB award that year: "I remember Val, of course, she was quite a presence even back then ... It was clearly obvious she was heading on to what she has accomplished now."

Bullot went on to enjoy success in the Olympic laser class and was fifth at the 2008 world champs and second in 2009.

He lives in Pt Chevalier with wife Chelsea, who won Masterchef in 2012.

Sarah Macky (EGGS) 1997
Sarah Macky is taking it a bit easier these days.

Now Sam Macky-Dunn, she was the second of seven supreme ASB award winners out of Epsom Girls' Grammar School. After a fine sailing career, she now competes at a social level and has two young children.

In 1997, her senior school year, she claimed two world youth championships while EGGS also won the national championship.

"My focus was on international sailing in the laser radial at that stage and I was thrilled to win the ISAF World Youth Sailing Champs in Japan. I remember being pretty focused on this goal and everything else [schoolwork, friends] was pushed aside," says Macky-Dunn.

She shared the ASB awards podium with future hockey star Ryan Archibald. They went to the same Olympics - Sydney 2000.

One of her career highlights was winning the first race at the 2000 Olympics, but a fifth and sixth at the Women's Sailing World Championships in 2001 and 2003 respectively also rated highly.

"After many years off sailing I am now competing again at a social level ... It's entirely for fun and I really enjoying learning about sailing a keelboat and sailing as a team, two things I never did in my Olympic career."

Macky-Dunn lives with her family in Auckland, though husband Cameron sails professionally for a Russian team, Gazprom.

She works for a charity called Project Litefoot, led by 10 top Kiwi sportspeople, including Brendon McCullum and Conrad Smith, who have all made changes in their lives to reduce their environmental footprints.