School days are nearly at an end for year 13 pupils in Oamaru. Hayden Meikle tracks down three talented sportspeople and asks them:
Q1. What has been the highlight of your school sports career?
Q2. What are your plans next year?
Q3. Will you carry on with sport?
Every First XV could use someone like Peter Armstrong.
The strapping son of North Otago potato farmers reached 50 caps in a black jersey this year, and was named player of the season at the Waitaki Boys’ First XV prizegiving.
Armstrong is a physical powerhouse, an industrious worker and a superb defender, but he also smashes any cliche about the questionable intellectual capabilities of front rowers.
Q1: “Probably being picked for the Highlanders schools camp two years in a row. And making the final of the Otago competition last year, and getting to play at Forsyth Barr Stadium. That would be the highlight of all my high school rugby.”
Q2: “I’m heading up to Christchurch to study engineering.”
Q3: “I might have a year off, just so I can sort out a few things. If I play rugby, I won’t be able to come back down here. It would make life a bit difficult. We’ll see what happens after that.”
Caitlin Judd is far from the biggest player on the netball court but she has never lacked in skill, heart or razzle-dazzle.
The effervescent Waitaki Girls’ midcourter has been a star performer in the school’s A team for three years, has played premier club netball in Dunedin – for Southern Tui – for the past two seasons, and earned a Beko League trial last year.
Judd, a country girl hailing from Papakaio, is also a dab hand on the tennis court, captaining the Waitaki team that qualified for the South Island tournament for a third straight time this year.
Q1: “I think getting to top eight at the South Island championships with Waitaki Girls’ this year. It’s the highest placing I’ve ever got with a Waitaki team. It was quite massive for us. We competed well with all the teams, and we just lost to the team that got second.”
Q2: “I want to go down to Dunedin and study nursing or occupational therapy. I haven’t quite decided yet. I always wanted to do nursing growing up. My nana was a nurse, and my mum wanted to do it. I think I’ve just gradually wanted to do it more and more.”
Q3: “I’ll definitely carry on with netball. I really enjoy playing for Southern in Dunedin. The level of netball is really high, and the people you play with are great, and it’s so much nicer on wooden courts. I think I’ll just keep giving it my best and see what happens.”
He has tasted success on the field, on the court and on the water, and now Kalas Taukamo hopes to foster a love of sport in the next generation.
The St Kevin’s deputy head boy is in his third year in the school’s A basketball team, and shortly heads to Palmerston North to help the team defends its national A title. He has also completed two years as a vital member of the First XV, and has been a competitive rower.
At a young age, he is passionate about using the lessons and skills he has picked up through sport to help future stars get a head start.
Q1: “Winning at nationals with the basketball team last year. We’d lost in the South Island final, but we really stepped up with a good attitude at nationals. We put some plans into practice and we won. A great bunch of boys with a good culture.”
Q2: “I’m planning on going to teachers’ college in Dunedin. Primary teaching. I want to focus on the sporting side of things, passing on my knowledge to younger ones.”
Q3: “I actually need to have knee surgery, so that’s a bit of a halt in the works. So I will need to rehab, but then I want to get back into footy and basketball. Hopefully I can play a bit of both for university teams.”