Jessica Manchester - Mountain Biking
Year 12 student Jessica Manchester has recently returned from both the NZ National Mountain Biking Champs held at Cardrona as well as the Oceania Champs held in Queenstown.
To let everyone know what it takes to win Gold and be successful at this level ( a sport in which NZ won Gold in the last Olympics) Jessica had to propel her 8.2kg carbon fibre mountain bike, around a course that takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. When you put this together with the risks associated with the sport (Jessica fractured her back and chipped a bone in her hip last year) it is easy to admire her dedication to this sport. Therefore we now have a National as well as Oceania Champion here at Howick College, as Jessica’s hard work came to fruition; winning both the U18 and U23 titles.
Jessica has been cycling down the pathway since she was 8 years old. I asked Jessica if she found it hard to live up to the standards in which her sister Jemma (who was a Senior last year at Howick College) had set while she was here, representing NZ overseas as well as with distinction nationally. Jessica humbly stating she wants to go to the Olympics in 2020 and represent NZ. To some it would seem a lofty dream, but there is something in her eyes that tells me her dreams are not the “pipe dream” variety.
Jessica’s sport comes at a price both physically as well has financially. Her bike is cutting edge carbon fibre built with weight in mind and this means an investment in the tens of thousands. Jessica has sponsors who assist her in her aspirations; Juliana Bikes, Camelback, Torpedo 7 and Pure Sports Nutrition, but the biggest supporters are Jessica’s parents Phillip and Kelly.
Jessica hopes to make the World Champs in Italy later in the year. Howick College commends Jessica’s outstanding achievements so far in her sport. She is a shining example of what you can do if you are willing to work hard and dedicate yourself to whatever you do.
Hannah Ferguson - Swimming
Hannah competed in the Auckland Swimming Champs and placed 4th in the girls 14 to 15 year old 50 metre Breaststroke. But this is only the start of a swimming journey that to date has been stellar.
She started swimming in Queenstown aged 9 and quickly became a young phenom, winning Gold in last year’s Secondary Schools Nationals in Hamilton for the 100 and 200 Breaststroke, as well as Silver in the 50 Breaststroke and a Bronze in the 400 individual medley. Hannah also swims in Open water competitions where she recently won a 1km raceearlier in the year in Mt Maunganui. An avid water polo player, Hannah has big goals and wants to develop in swimming to hopefully one day compete at the top level.
Hannah is an excellent student whose diminutive size belies a fierce competitive will; a will and determination that is an example to all athletes. We here at Howick College Sports salute Hannah Ferguson
Olivia Cook - Trampoline
From the 30th of May to the 5th of June, Year 11 student Olivia Cook represented New Zealand at the Australian National Trampoline Champs in Melbourne, Australia.
Olivia was invited to compete in Australia as part of the New Zealand team.
What makes Olivia's achievement remarkable is she was asked to perofrm in the Under 17 synchro (pairs) wiht Hannah Richards from Christchurch, a gymnast Olivia did not know, and the girls had only one training session together before competing. You would have forgiven the team for finishing last with the amount of time they spent together. Olivia and Hannah won GOLD.
As it was an Australian Championship, an Australian team had to recieve gold, so the team that finished second stood on the podium with Olivia and Hannah to recieve gold as well. This does not detract from the achievement of these two gymnasts, an awesome effort of concentration, precision and timing.
Olivia will now be competing for Howick College next week in the Gymsports Auckland Champs and then the Nationals at the end of July. The next big meet is the Indo-Pacific International competition being held in New Zealand later in the year.
Olivia is a gifted and talented athlete, whose quiet achievements we recognise and applaud here at Howick College. Congraulations Olivia and good luck for your upcoming competitions.