School's Special Pride in Black Sticks’ Olympic Performance
Diocesan School Feels Special Pride in Black Sticks’ Strong Olympic Performance
August 7, 2012
While Kiwis across the country marvel at the strongly performing Black Sticks who have reached the Olympic semi-finals for the first time, Auckland’s Diocesan School for Girls can feel a special sense of pride.
An impressive three members of the 2012 Olympic squad are old girls of the all-girls independent school which has long enjoyed strong links with the Black Sticks and with Hockey New Zealand.
Midfielder Samantha Harrison, striker Katie Glynn and Ella Gunson, who plays at inner, centre half and right half, have all benefited from Diocesan’s strong sporting culture and hockey pedigrees during their years at the school.
After the Blacks Sticks stopped key rivals Germany from progressing to the semi-finals in a nail-biting 0-0 draw on Monday night, Diocesan’s Deputy Principal Chris Arthur said the three old girls on the Kiwi side were a credit to the school.
Arthur is herself a former two-time Black Sticks Olympian who played as striker in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and as a mid fielder in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
“The Diocesan old girls are part of a great team who put in a massive defensive effort against Germany. They showed a huge amount of character and soaked up so much pressure.
“They will be absolutely exhausted, both physically and emotionally as it was a do or die game in what was dubbed the Pool of Death for good reason,” said Arthur.
Until Monday night, New Zealand had not so much as drawn with Germany in eight years, and only last month were hammered 5-1 in a friendly against the 2004 Olympic champions.
Arthur said old girl Katie Glynn impressed by creating opportunities on the field – finding space for team members and for herself inside the 25 line. Ella Gunson was a steady, defensive player and Sam Harrison was able to use her speed and stick skills to create space.
Hockey New Zealand’s links with Diocesan include its CEO Hilary Poole, an Old Girl and former chairman of the School’s Board of Trustees and Hockey New Zealand’s chairman, Dean Elwood, a Diocesan parent and board member.
Earlier this year the school opened its world-class London Blue all-weather, sports turf which has the same premium hockey surface as the turf at this year’s Olympics.