Waiheke High School students competed at the recent 2017 AIMS Games in Tauranga. The week long event is the largest of its kind with over 10,000 Year 7 and 8 athletes representing 275 schools from throughout New Zealand, Tonga and the Cook Islands across a wide variety of sports.

Waiheke’s 28 pupils, the largest group ever to represent the school, were entered in cross-country, sailing, football and rugby sevens.

The first event of the games, the cross-country, was held during the worst weather of the week – bitterly cold, heavy rain and strong winds. Despite the testing conditions our runners performed admirably with several placing highly in fields of over one hundred. Kiwa and Noah Burke-Munn had particularly strong races, finishing 9th and 23rd respectively.

The sailors encountered three days of stormy conditions, with winds reaching 40 knots at times. One race had to be abandoned half way through due to the difficult conditions. The three Waiheke students involved fought their way through the races bravely and finished in commendable positions.

The talented Waiheke football team narrowly missed out on the top 16 play-offs but still finished in a respectable 23rd place. The side had some good early wins against Heaton Intermediate 3-1 and Levin Intermediate 3-0.

A narrow loss saw the side progress to the Plate division where they had a win and a loss before the final game of the week against Orewa College. The players showed great resilience after a long, hard week to grind out a 2-1 win.

Rugby sevens began on the Monday with general pool play. Our side was blown away by the sheer size of many of the players involved and the initial games were a reflection of this. Despite some big scores, they did manage to score some wonderful tries through team play and some individual brilliance.

The team improved each day and eventually came away with a draw and two outstanding wins. This was a credit to their determination on defence and their teamwork on attack. In between games the players enjoyed several trips to the local wave pools and a hike up Mt Maunganui.

The week could not have been made possible without the organisation of school sports co-ordinator Shelley Foster or the work of the parent volunteers for each sporting code. Many parents were involved in several fundraising sausage sizzles prior to the games, which made things run smoothly throughout the week.

I thank manager Jeff Coxhead and the parents who cooked dinners, washed clothes and offered support to all of the players involved.

The students themselves can be very proud of their efforts and the way that they represented the school. Overall, the week was a great success and was enjoyed by all. • Tony Wood

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