With the Zone 1 Premierships (National Championships Qualifying Tournament) completed I’ve taken a look at the past performances of the six Zone 1 Schools that have qualified for the 2022 National Champs in Palmerston North next month.
There have been no champions from north of the Bombay Hills since Northcote College were the victors in 2006.
Prior to that Avondale College won two consecutive National titles in 2004 and 2005 but since then Auckland school have had to be content with the minor medals.
Westlake Girls High have not finished lower than 9th in their last 8 appearances – 5 semi-final appearances and 2 bronze medal finishes in 2013 and 2018 the highlights. Emme Shearer, now at the University of Portland was named to the ‘18 Tournament Team and Bronwyn Kjestrup in ’13.
Mt Albert Grammar School also have a good recent record with their 2022 qualification making it 10 appearances in 12 years. They have twice finished runners-up in recent years, beaten by St Peter’s, Cambridge in 2016 and Hamilton Girls High in 2012. Sharne Robati and Rhyannon Poto were named to the Tournament Team in ’16 and Kezeiah Lewis in ’12.
None of the other four Zone 1 qualifiers have much recent history to draw on.
Whangārei Girls High School, with their second place finish at Premierships, have become the first Northland girls team to clip a ticket to Nationals since Kamo College in 2005. It will be the first trip to Nationals for Girls High since the mid 1990’s!
The mums of two current players played on those 90’s teams that were coached by the legendary Matagini ‘Mata’ Cameron. 2022 player Mahinaarangi Kukutai-Wairau is the daughter of 90’s player Kay Wairau while Te Rina Cameron-Tama is the daughter of Jeannie Cameron.
It hasn’t been quite that long since Takapuna Grammar School made an appearance but if I tell you Micaela Cocks was on the team you will know it’s been a while. It was 2004 and Cocks was in her last year of school and since then of course has gone on to become the most capped Tall Fern. Two years earlier Takapuna had finished runners-up to Church College.
Epsom Girls Grammar assistant coach Chanel Pompallier was on that 2002 Takapuna Grammar team. EGGS have been limited to just two appearances at Nationals (2007 and 2016), but buoyed by their 3rd place finish at Premierships will be hoping 2022 is the start of regular visits to Palmerston North.
Saint Kentigern College will be making their first appearance at Nationals since three consecutive trips from 2013 to 2015 – current Head Coach Darci Finnigan was a leading player on all three teams.
Saint Kent’s are yet to make a Top-10 finish in five previous visits – could this be the year?
Notable absentees in 2022 are Rangitoto College and Auckland Girls Grammar School.
Rangitoto’s run of 15 straight appearances dating back to 2005 has comes to an end – they were runners up on 3 occasions and bronze medalists twice in that time.
The AGGS run is just one less at 14 years with three bronze medal performances during that time.
Below is a list of the highest placed Zone 1 teams at Nationals in recent years including all medalists – records pre 2004 are not extensive.
2019 St Mary’s, Ponsonby – 3rd
2018 Westlake 3rd
2017 AGGS 3rd
2016 MAGS 2nd and AGGS 3rd
2015 Rangitoto 7th
2014 Westlake 4th
2013 Rangitoto 2nd and Westlake 3rd
2012 MAGS 2nd and Rangitoto 3rd
2011 Rangitoto 3rd
2010 AGGS 3rd
2009 MAGS 5th
2008 Rangitoto 2nd
2007 Rangitoto 2nd
2006 Northcote Winners
2005 Avondale Winners
2004 Avondale Winners
2003 Takapuna 3rd
2002 Takapuna 2nd
1999 Kaitaia College 2nd
1988 MAGS 2nd
1981 Selwyn College 2nd