Sporting achievements of Southland secondary school students took centre stage at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill on Friday night featuring four cyclists in the awards recognitions.
It was the annual Southland Secondary School Sports Awards and the top award winners were cyclist Emma Cumming (Southland Girls' High School) and Jack Beaumont (Central Southland College).
Cumming, winner of the Senior Sports Person of the Year (female), gained a silver medal in the teams sprint at the Juniors' World Track Championships in Kazakhstan in August. She also finished fourth in a 500m time trial at the same event.
Cumming was "a bit shocked" to win the award because she thought other nominees had equally strong claims.
Her next major event is the Track National Championships in Cambridge in February. The 17-year-old, who completed her education at Girls' High recently, is making arrangements to move to Cambridge in March.
"Academy Southland have been a big support to me. I've learned a lot from the people there," she said.
Cumming had a good work ethic, trained hard and raced hard, her Invercargill coach, Karl Watson, said.
"She's always on time and likes things structured."
Competing for New Zealand at the World Mountain Running Championships in Wales in September was a career highlight for Jack Beaumont, recipient of the Senior Sports Person of the Year (male) Award on Friday.
Beaumont finished 12th in a field of 63 in an 8.9km race at the championships. He ran in the juniors' section and completed the distance in 37min.
"It was a big step up and the atmosphere was a lot different."
Beaumont's win at the New Zealand Mountain Running Championships at Nelson in April helped him gain selection for the trip to Wales.
Breaking a Southland secondary schools' cross country record at Te Anau in May was another satisfying achievement for Beaumont. He lowered the record by 40sec with his 19min 36sec-run for 6km.
"I was feeling really good that day and ran well."
The teenager will compete in the under-20s 3000m steeplechase at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships in Wellington in March. In the short term, Beaumont is entered for the 2km steeplechase at the national secondary schools' meeting in Timaru on December 5-6.
Winning Friday's award reflected the hard work and commitment Beaumont had made to athletics, his coach, Lance Smith, said.
"A distance runner is not built quickly. Jack's now benefiting from the work he's put in in the last five years."
Southland Secondary School Sports Award Winners
Contribution to Sport
Sa'Hayla Harden (Aurora College): Netball, touch, turbo touch, volleyball.
Jack Dymond (James Hargest College): Water polo.
Kendall Buckingham (Southland Girls' High School): Rugby, rugby sevens, touch, basketball, volleyball, athletics, netball, indoor bowls.
Alex Thurlow (Verdon College): Netball, softball, basketball, football, badminton, squash.
Rachael Beer (Northern Southland College): Athletics, hockey, badminton, football, kayaking, equestrian, shooting.
Person with a Disability Sports Person of the Year
Victoria Baldwin (Southland Girls' High School): Cycling.
Junior Sports Person of the Year (male)
Corbin Strong (Southland Boys' High School): Cycling.
Tom Cowie (James Hargest College): Basketball, athletics.
Sam Robbie: (Wakatipu High School): Mountain biking.
Junior Sports Person of the Year (female)
Alice Robinson (Wakatipu High School): Skiing.
Ella Smith (Southland Girls' High School): Badminton.
Ryshae Forbes (Southland Girls' High School): Tae Kwon Do.
Senior Sports Person of the Year (female)
Emma Cumming (Southland Girls' High School): Cycling.
Atipa Mabonga : Athletics
Anastasia Wilkes (James Hargest): Synchronised swimming.
Sammy Murrell (Southland Girls' High School): Football.
Michaela Townshend (Southland Girls' High School): Rowing.
Senior Sports Person of the Year (male)
Jack Beaumont (Central Southland College): Athletics, cross country.
Bradly Knipe (Southland Boys' High School): Cycling.
Flynn Thomas (Southland Boys' High School): Rugby.
Team of the Year
Southland Girls' High School's first XV.
Article courtesy Stuff