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Waikato's top performing secondary school sports stars

Two Waikato secondary school students have beaten the competition to become the 2019 winners of Wintec Champion of the Codes.

This year’s winners are Te Ahuru Balzer-Horo from Ngā Taiātea Wharekura and Hinewai Knowles from Cambridge High School. The pair took out the men’s and women’s titles respectively from 86 other keen contestants.

This is the second year of the competition launched by Wintec Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance to find the most powerful and the fastest Waikato athletes to win bragging rights for their sport and school.

It’s also the second year Hinewai Knowles has taken out the women’s title.

Last year, Cambridge High School’s Physical Education Teacher, Carl Hudson was right when he said Cambridge High School “is going to be one to beat”.

“Going back to back as female winner for Champion of the Codes is a fantastic achievement for Hinewai, which we at Cambridge High School are very proud of.

“Another impressive element this year was the increase in our athletes gaining top 10 finishes. Thanks again to Wintec for putting on this event. Let's hope that we have more of our athletes competing for the podium next year when Hinewai seeks her third title.”
Eleven secondary schools signed up to the competition with some, like Ngā Taiātea Wharekura entering for the first time. Physical Education and High Performance Sport Teacher, Eryca Rawiri says the competition complemented the school’s sports offer and their students really valued the experience.

“Ngā Taiātea Wharekura is a unique Māori secondary school here in Kirikiriroa. With a school role of 230 students, it was a great opportunity for 10 of our high performance sport athletes to compete with the other larger secondary schools in this competition.”

“Te Ahuru is very deserving of this award. His sport of choice is basketball, which he plays with passion and confidence while consistently pushing himself to reach greater heights, all the while, remaining grounded, humble and proud to be a male Māori basketball role model for all!”

During the 10-week competition, Wintec’s Sport Science and Human Performance team of post-graduate students led by academic Dr Peter Maulder, visited each school to test students’ performance and added results to an online scoreboard.

Wintec Director Sport Science and Human Performance, Greg Smith said it was a great opportunity for the Wintec students to use their performance testing skills and equipment to test some of the region’s best athletes.

“Champion of the Codes celebrates the power of sport and highlights our top young athletes. It also creates an opportunity for the schools that take part to connect with our students who get to share the sports experience we offer at Wintec.”

The winners receive a VO2 Max assessment, an experience that is usually only offered to advanced adult athletes at Wintec’s Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance.
Dr Maulder says all the 86 athletes did an outstanding job of representing their schools and their sports codes.

“There was a real buzz around Champion of the Codes this year and we had quite an audience at some of the schools we visited. We’re already getting ready for next year’s competition and we welcome more schools to take part in this experience.”

The participating Waikato secondary schools this year were: St. Paul’s Collegiate, Fraser High School, Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton Girls’ High School, Cambridge High School, Melville High School, Morrinsville College, St. John’s College, Fairfield College, Rototuna High School and Ngā Taiātea Wharekura.

Secondary school athletes now have plenty of warning to get ready for next year’s competition and win bragging rights for their sport and their school. Schools interested in taking part in 2020 can email

Find out more about Sport Science and Human Performance programmes at Wintec.

Check out the online scoreboard for Champion of the Codes.

© Scoop Media

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