Impressive performances on the world stage has earned speed skater Renee Teers and heavyweight judoka Keightley Watson the Ray White Whanganui Secondary Schools International Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year awards.
The Whanganui High Shool students were presented their awards at a function at Whanganui Collegiate last night.
The announcement gave Watson back-to-back titles after he won the senior section in 2018.
Shortly after receiving the 2018 award, Watson ensured his 2019 nomination and eventual win after making New Zealand judo history at the New Zealand Judo Championships in Christchurch where he won six gold in three different divisions, including the Senior Open Weight Men's title.
For that victory he brought home the Champions Cup, a trophy his uncle Wayne Watson won eight times, the last 23 years ago in 1996. He also completed another batsugan and obtained his second dan black belt — a first for a 17-year-old.
Now 18, Watson won bronze in the senior men's Asian Open in Taipei and gold in the Hong Kong Asian Cup this year.
Watson has franked that form by retaining his +100kg senior men and open weight titles for the second year, and his +100kg junior men and open-weight titles for the third successive year at the 2019 National Judo Championships in Rotorua earlier this month.
Teers was one of the stars of the Oceania Speed Skating Championships in Brisbane, Australia over Easter. Although the New Zealand team went down to the Australians 1298 points to 1048 in a close fought competition, Teers played her part for New Zealand by winning the overall junior girls' championship.
In a closely fought class, the Whanganui teenager won the 15km elimination and the 42km marathon as well as anchoring the New Zealand No 1 relay team to victory. Teers sealed her overall win by also placing second to Australian speedster Asha Hickford in the 200mTT and the one-lap sprint and second to Kiwi teammate Charlotte Clarke, of Timaru, in the 1000m.
The Senior National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year went to fellow Whanganui High School students Travis Bayler and Rebecca Baker.
Baker won her title off the back of solid performances in two codes, athletics and hockey.
Baker's successes included the NZ Secondary School Athletics Junior Girls 1500m title, fourth place at NZ Secondary School Senior Girls Cross Country, which gave her selection into the NZSS team to run in Australia in August where she came fourth in the under-18 girls' grade.
Baker was also in the NZ team that won gold in the six-to-score and the NZ relay team that also won gold. Baker was also in the Central under-18 hockey team that won back-to-back national titles for 2017-2018.
She was selected for the NZ U18 hockey team and is also part of the leadership group for this team. Rebecca also made the NZ Pathway to Podium programme for hockey. Baker also won the junior section at last year's awards.
Bayler was presented his award largely on the strength of his New Zealand Secondary Schools' 400m title. He has been a key member of the WHS 1st X1 hockey team and the athletics and cross country teams.
In December 2018 at the NZ Secondary School Athletic Champs Bayler won the title in the senior boys' 400m race. He was also selected in the NZ Paper Team for Secondary School Nationals.
The International Junior Sportswoman of the Year went to Genna Maples from Whanganui Collegiate School.
Maples tops the New Zealand under-18 and under-20 long jump rankings and is fourth in the open women's rankings. At New Zealand Schools she won the Junior 100m, 200m and long jump and ran in both the 4 x 400m and 4 x 100m winning relay teams, the latter with a NZSS record.
Maples also took silver at both the North Island Schools and New Zealand under-18 championships in 100m and 200m, the 200m in a personal best and under the old North Island intermediate record. She plays a vital role in the relay programme and has contributed outstandingly to school, Whanganui schools and Manawatu/Whanganui Athletics medal-winning teams.
The International Junior Sportsman of the Year was awarded to Alex Hamblyn from Whanganui High School for sprint kayaking.
A young up and coming athlete who has had a very successful year, Hamblyn competed at the NZ Canoe Racing Sprint National Champs achieving national titles.
He also competed in the NZ and Oceania Canoe Sprint Championship winning gold medals in the Tyros K2 200m, Tyros K4 200m and U14 Men K4 200m, silver medals in Tyros Men K1 200m, Tyros Men K1 500m, Tyros Men K1 100m and a bronze in the U14 Men K4 500m.
The Senior Team of the Year for 2019 went to the Whanganui Collegiate senior girls 4x400m relay team.
Emma Osborne, Ana Brabyn, Tayla Brunger, Sophie Redmayne and Genna Maples had an outstanding year.
In December they won the New Zealand Schools Senior title with a New Zealand Schools Record. In March the squad took silver against centre teams in the Athletics New Zealand Championships.
They completed the season by winning the North Island Schools title by an 11 second margin. Three of the team took silver in the Swedish Relay at the Australian Schools and two of the team are in the NZ Development 4x400 squad.
Junior Team of the Year was claimed by the Whanganui Collegiate junior girls' athletics relay squad that featured Ana Brabyn, Sophie Williams, Jess Johnstone, Lucy Brown, Genna Maples and Emma Bedford.
The squad won the New Zealand Schools 4x100 and 4x400m titles, the latter was with a New Zealand Schools record-breaking the record set by the Whanganui Collegiate team in 2017.
Golfing sensation Tara Raj claimed the National Junior Sportswomen of the Year title. She is now schooled by correspondence through Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu.
Raj won the Sir Bob Charles Harewood Jennian Homes Women's Open that included NZ and Australian professionals and amateurs and is the number 1 player in the women's Manawatu Wanganui provincial team.
She won a host of titles during the qualifying period including the Horowhenua-Kapiti Open, Manawatu Open, Ruth Middleton Open, Waikato Open, Harewood Open, Manawatu Wanganui Women's Strokeplay Championship, Palmerston North Open and the Kapi Tareha Open.
Sprint kayaker Zane Mills-Nossiter won the National Junior Sportsman of the Year after winning national titles at the NZ Canoe Racing Sprint Championships.
Mills-Nossiter won the U14 K1 200m, U14 K2 200m, U14 K4 200m, U14 K1 500m and the U14 K1 5km titles.
Official of the Year went to Charlie Brown of Whanganui High School for football and futsal.
Brown is part of the 1st XI boys football team at WHS and not only dedicates his time playing to the sport, but also gives back to it by refereeing.
Locally Brown refereed the midweek girl's league, the men's and the junior league. He was selected as assistant referee for the National Women's League.
He was also selected by NZ Football as an assistant referee for the National Youth League and selected to officiate at the National Age group tournament.
Brown officiated at the National Tertiary Futsal Championships, at the National Age Group Tournament and National Secondary School Futsal Tournament.
He was also selected to attend the Referee Development Academy. Brown was awarded Football Official of the Year, Whanganui Futsal Official of the Year and won the Ray White Whanganui Service to Sport award in 2018.
Connor Hoskin from Whanganui High School won Coach of the Year for hockey.
Hoskin had a busy season playing in the WHS 1st XI hockey team and was also selected for the Central U18 men's team.
He also took on the role as coach of the Whanganui U15 boys that competed in two regional and one national tournament. They finished fourth at the National U15 Hockey Championship Tournament in Whanganui over the holidays.