Top athletes get cash injection

More than 25 top Western Bay of Plenty athletes who have represented their various codes at a national level will benefit from the annual BayTrust scholarships announced today.

The scholarships recognise both athletes and coaches and aim to support and assist Bay of Plenty sporting talent to achieve on the national and international sporting stage and allow coaches to develop new skills that can be delivered back to the community.

The Scholarships are funded from BayTrust’s annual $400,000 contribution to Sport Bay of Plenty’s CoachForce programme and fully align with one of BayTrust’s five strategic outcomes – Active Communities.

BayTrust’s four other outcomes are Healthy Communities in Healthy Environments; Educated Communities; Culturally-enriched Communities; and Communities developing their full potential.

Both scholarships are open to sports people residing in the region covered by the BayTrust and Sport Bay of Plenty, with the intention that the coaching expertise and sporting talent is retained in the Bay.

The Athlete Scholarship applications were available to any young athlete from the Bay of Plenty aged 16–23-years-old, who has achieved national representation at their sport.

Coach Scholarships are for coaches currently coaching at a recognised and endorsed level by their respective regional sporting organisation or equivalent body.

A remarkably high number of quality applications were received.

BayTrust Athlete Scholarships:

Amber Johnston, (Rotorua) - XC Mountain Biking

This year has been an extremely successful year for Amber. Amber came 1st in two national cups and 2nd place in a third race in races at the NZ Mountain Bike National Series, Oceania Mountain Bike champs, NZ Secondary School Nationals and the Cateye Moonride in Rotorua. Amber also placed 2nd overall at Xterra, and 3rd place junior girl at the UCI World Cup in Canada. Next year’s goal for Amber is to place 1st at Oceania’s in March, winning by more than two minutes. Amber was also selected for the NZ team to go to Worlds this year.

Amy Robinson, (Ohauiti) - Athletics/Hockey

Amy’s resume is an impressive list of achievements. This year Amy placed 3rd at the Vanuatu Junior Open and her team placed 3rd at NZ Secondary School Cross Country. Amy placed 2nd in Heptathlon at NZ Multi-Event U17, and at Club Nationals Amy placed 2nd in long jump and 1st in the 4x100m and 4x400m. Amy also placed 1st at NZ Age Groups U17 Beach Volleyball and Women’s Hockey Intercity Waikato/BOP Competition. Amy has been named in the NZ U18 Squad for Hockey and has been selected in the Long List Athletics Squad for the Youth Olympics.

Anna  Higgins (Tauranga South) - Canoe Slalom

Anna is a member of the Tauranga Girls’ College Canoe Slalom team who this year at the NZ Secondary Schools championships placed 1st in four events and 2nd in two events. Anna also received the Lucy Ford trophy for U18 champion K1 and DR and the Heather Jull trophy for the best overall U18 girl paddler. At the NZ Open National Canoe Slalom championships, Anna’s team came 1st overall K1 women’s team and Anna herself was ranked 2nd K1 NZ U18 girl. Anna’s future goals include World Championships and Youth Olympics in the next two years.

Ben Johnston, (Papamoa) - Surf Lifesaving

Ben is well on his way to achieving his goal for the rescue worlds this month, where he hopes to have his team, U20 NZ Team Surf Lifesaving, win the U20 World’s title. Most recently, Ben has competed at the 2012 Australian Pool Rescue championships where his best result was 1st place in the U19 4x25m manikin carry replay in which he set an Australasian record. In the 2012 Northern Regional Pool championships, Ben placed 1st in five events. Ben has a long term goal of being selected for the 2014 Worlds team to compete in France.

Cameron Hayes (Tauranga South) – Waterpolo

Western Bay’s Cameron Hayes has had a busy year so far including being a member of Tauranga Boys’ College Senior A Volleyball team and the BOP U16 Surf Lifesaving team. He has achieved a 1st in Surf League, 1st U16 Surf Race at Surf Lifesaving Nationals, NZ U16 Trans Tasman Series most valuable player, member of NZ U16, NZ U18 youth men’s and NZ School Boys waterpolo teams. Cameron lists a short term goal for his team of placing in the top 6 at the Junior World champs in December this year.


Daniel Bridgwater, (Pyes Pa) – Rowing

Daniel, a Tauranga Boys’ College student has an impressive list of achievements this year which include, 1st Place in U19 double NICC/NZCC, Club 4x - NICC, U17 double NISS/NZSS, U18 LWT NISS/NZSS (double skulls) and U18 LW four NISS (2nd place NZSS).  Daniel’s scholarship will help him with the costs of competing in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January, where he a goal of winning all the races he’s entered.


Josh Kenyon, (Rotorua) – Triathlon

Josh’s list of achievements is extensive. This year and last, his 1st place achievements alone include, the Saucony Off Road Half Marathon 10km, Open Male Tinman Sprint Triathlon, New Zealand Secondary Schools duathlon and 1st place overall in the Master Tour of Thailand (yellow jersey). Josh plans to place in the top 10 at the ITU Triathlon Oceania champs in Australia in January of next year and hopes to qualify for the World Xterra champs in Hawaii as an open pro in April.


Karina Radley, (Otumoetai) - Surf Lifesaving/Kayaking

This year has seen Karina compete in many events with excellent results. Her latest results include being a finalist at the Australian National Surf Lifesaving championships in the U19 women’s ski, open women’s ski relay and open women’s double ski race. Karina has been selected in the U23 Canoe Sprint High Performance Programme and Pathway Squad. The next goal on Karina’s list is to make the finals at the World’s event in August next year.


Katherine O’Neill, (Rotorua) - Mountain Biking

This year has seen Katherine place 3rd in the NZ National Series, 4th in the National Championships, and 5th at the Oceania Championships. Coming back from major back surgery due to an injury, Katherine is back on track to achieving her goal of becoming New Zealand’s top female rider and to not only compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympic Games but to be a real contender. In the short term, Katherine is working towards getting back to top three for Nationals and Oceania, after her injury.


Makayla Daysh (Ohauiti) – Basketball

Makayla has represented Tauranga Girls’ College, the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand in Basketball. In September this year Makayla’s team, the NZU19 Junior Tall Ferns, placed 2nd at the U19 Oceania Champs. Makayla hopes to be selected in the NZ National Basketball team who will compete at the Australian State Champs in Tasmania in January. Makayla has been selected in the NZ U18 Women’s basketball team and the All Star 5 tournament team.


Marshall Gibson (Te Puna) – Wrestling

This year Marshall has won seven gold medals in the 120kg category. The first was in July at the Wrestling NZ Down Under Championships, then at Wrestling Nationals, USA Ironman and four gold medals at NZ Wrestling Nationals in September. Next year Marshall’s goals include gold in the junior 120kg class at the Oceania Championships and gold in the 120kg at the Junior Worlds. This electrical engineering student is well on his way to achieving his goals.


Nigel McDowell, (Rotorua) - Mountain Biking

Nigel has competed in a total of 12 events this year alone. His first place results include Mid North Island Mountain Bike Series U19, Oceania Mountain Bike Champs U19, New Zealand Secondary School MTB Championships U19 and Black Stump Adventure Mountain Bike race. Nigel’s goals include Oceania’s U23 top 5, Italy World Cup top 40, Andorra World Cup top 40 and MTB World Championships top 50. Nigel is a year 13 student this year at John Paul College.


Sam O’Dea, (Otumoetai) - Beach Volleyball

Sam was awarded Best Blocker both this year and last in the New Zealand national tour, and this year best attacker also. On the tour this year Sam’s team, NZ National Beach volleyball team placed 2nd overall. A couple of highlights from Sam’s achievements this year include; 1st place Thailand National Championships Invitational and 1st place Asian Beach event in Indonesia. Sam plans to compete in the World Tour in April next year and hopes to play in all events and qualify for the World Championships.


Sam Shergold, (Bethlehem) - Surf Lifesaving

Sam has been selected in the New Zealand U20 Surf Lifesaving team to go to the U20 World Champs this month. His national achievements this year include 1st place U19 ski relay, 2nd place U19 taplin relay, 3rd U19 ski race and 3rd place open men’s board relay. At the Australia champs, Sam placed 7th in the U19 board race. Sam’s hopes to become a world champion this month at the U20 World champs. Sam is currently studying Business Management at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.


Sam Smith, (Mount Maunganui) – Basketball

This Mount Maunganui College student has been a member of four basketball teams this year; captain of the Tauranga City U17 Men’s team, member of the Tauranga City Men’s team who came 1st place at Regionals in August, captain of Mount Maunganui College Senior A Boys team and member of the New Zealand Koru U18 Men’s Development team. Sam has a list of goals, one of which is being selected in the New Zealand U18 Men’s team for 2013.


Sheldon Noyce, (Tauranga South) – Rowing

Sheldon was a member of the Youth Olympics U20 New Zealand team who placed 1st in the men’s single and was a member of the New Zealand U18 team who placed 2nd in U18 fours and pairs. Sheldon also competes for Tauranga Boys’ College who won the Aon Maadi Cup in March and placed 1st in U17 fours at the Aon NISSC. Sheldon has a goal of competing at the Youth Olympics in January next year, placing 1st in all events.


Simone Couvee (Mount Maunganui) – Waterpolo

Simone’s team, New Zealand Junior Women, won 4 out of 6 games this year at the Australian State champs, and lost one game and drew one game at the Australia NZ test series in April. Simone is the captain of both the NZ Youth team and BOP U18 team. Simone’s goal for next year is to make the Worlds team and go to Greece. In the future Simone would like to qualify for the New Zealand Women’s team and compete at the Olympic Games in Brazil.


BayTrust Coach Scholarships: 

Basketball Bay of Plenty, (BOP) – Basketball

Basketball Bay of Plenty plan to have more and better educated coaches coaching basketball in the Bay of Plenty and to help Bay of Plenty coaches reach the level required to coach in the New Zealand development and age group performance programmes. Their scholarship will allow High Performance NZ coaches to hold a performance coaching workshop in the Bay of Plenty.


Duncan By De Ley, (Katikati) – Rowing

Duncan has coached competitive crews since 2002 and is continually striving to improve his coaching skills. In 2012 he plans to rebuild Tauranga Rowing Club to be competitive at NZ Nationals and 2013 Duncan would like to seek selection to again coach a NZ Junior crew/s. His long term goal for 2014-16 is to seek selection to coach a NZ U23 crew. Duncan says that by being disciplined, committed and dedicated, goals at the highest level are very achievable.


Jay Carter, (Pyes Pa) – Golf

Jay plans to go to Melbourne to spend time with Ryan Lumsden, a world leader in the golf biomechanics field, to allow him to bring world class practices back to not only New Zealand golf but also Bay of Plenty Golf and the local environment. Jay has goals of producing a world number one player through the Golf Fusion Academy, winning the Interprovincial title with BOP in Otago and developing a more holistic approach to the coaching model that is used by both BOP and NZ golf for player development.


Melanie Bennett, (Tauranga South) – Basketball

Melanie has recently been appointed head coach for the final Koru Tour, travelling to Australia in January. She is a current Basketball NZ coach with the goal of developing players in the region so they are confident enough to believe that they can perform at this level and attend clusters camps. Melanie is also the apprentice coach to the NZ Tall Ferns, assistant coach to Oceania Gold Rush, director of basketball at Tauranga Girls’ College and head coach of Tauranga City Basketball U17 girls’ programme.


Michael Rodriguez, (Tauranga South) – Basketball

Michael is currently the Aquinas College Men’s programme head coach and the BOP U13 Boys assistant coach for the navigator development programme. Michael has also been appointed as one of the coaches for the New Zealand development tour in January which will be very valuable for Tauranga athletes on his return. Through the New Zealand Women’s programme, Michael will also be helping to develop some of our future Tall Fern players.


Bay of Plenty Bowls (BOP) - Lawn Bowls

BOP bowls are looking to take the game to the youth of the region. They are training youth elite players to become coaches so that the young men can show youngsters of their own age how to play the sport by relating to each other. The funding will pay for the training courses and equipment required to run the programme.


Sam Thompson, (Rotorua) - Mountain Biking

Since 2009 Sam has been the coach and trainer of Waiariki Bike squad. This year he has helped set up the new International XC Mountain Bike Racing team, NZXC Racing and been part of the advisory group with Mountain Biking New Zealand on high performance and coaching issues. Sam was the main organiser behind the inaugural Waiariki Secondary Schools Mountain Bike challenge. Sam’s goal is to increase his knowledge of Mountain Bike racing by learning from some of the best coaches overseas.


Todd  Blythe, (Maungatapu) - Track and Field

Although an ex high performance athlete he is relatively new to coaching, Todd is keen to improve his overall knowledge as a coach. Currently he provides assistance to various rugby coaches with their sprint training and is coach to two of the top sprinters in New Zealand. . Todd believes there is a lack of quality sprint coaches and wishes to increase the knowledge and capability of local coaches to ensure our regional athletes have the best chance to succeed in their given sport. Todd has goals of two athletes going to the World Champs next year and two athletes competing in the World Junior championships in 2014.


Wayne Johnston, (Rotorua) – Squash

Wayne is the current BOP Development Squad head coach and coaches the BOP Regional Development coach. Wayne is also involved with Northern Region Talent Development squad training. Wayne’s goal is to work with the regional players at a higher level with the view of the players representing the district at a national level. Wayne’s scholarship will help with his opportunity to shadow the Squash New Zealand national coach with a national team and attend squad training camps.

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