Auckland Secondary Schools Outdoor League Summer 2013

Another Schools Outdoor League has come and gone and there is much to note and much to be excited about.  For the first time Ultimate was recognized as an official sport by College Sport Auckland which is a huge step in the growth and development of Ultimate.  Already we have seen a noticeable difference when approaching schools and Sports Directors for assistance and support.  It also adds legitimacy to our sport and to the kids who play it.  For the 4th year in a row we have seen new schools join the league and participant numbers grow.  In fact this is the first summer season where we have seen more school kids playing this sport in Auckland than all other players combined.  All up there were eight schools who participated in the 2013 Auckland Secondary School Outdoor League and a total of eighteen teams.  Final numbers are not in yet but we believe about 150 students played in the league this year.  Many more schools are “in the works” and we are sure we will see continued growth in the future. Girls Division
Schools Ultimate
Lisa Fairbrother from Baradene passes over the top of Eunice from Avondale
The reigning champs in the Girls Division were Northcote College and had high hopes of keeping the trophy for another year.  Several other schools have been working hard to make sure that wasn’t going to happen.  Six girls' teams participated, from Avondale College, Northcote College, Green Bay High School, Takapuna Grammar School, and Baradene College who entered two teams.  It was a close contest throughout with Takapuna Grammar, Avondale, and Northcote all showing potential to win the league.  Both Baradene teams and Greenbay showed improvement during the tournament but at the end they were relegated to the placing games.  Northcote gained the top seed going into the quarterfinals.  This made for a close semi-final between Avondale and Takapuna Grammar which went to Avondale 6-4.  For the third year in a row, the final was contested between Northcote College and Avondale College with both schools having won the title once.  Coach Iain Stewart had the Avondale girls firing and they came out quickly to establish a 4-0 lead.  Northcote fought back with deep shots being read well and caught and the game was suddenly tied up at 4-4.  An Avondale huck was chased down in the back corner of the zone to give them a 5-4 lead and that was enough as they held on to possession as time expired to become champions for the second time.  Northcote found comfort in taking home the Spirit Prize, and their very own Julia Forde was recognised as the league’s Most Valuable Player.  Great season girls…now let’s get more teams for next year. Placings 1st     Avondale 2nd   Northcote 3rd   Takapuna Grammar 4th   Baradene 2 5th   Baradene 1 6th   Greenbay MVP winner Julia Forde (Northcote College) Spirit Winners Northcote College Boys Division Westlake Boys started the year as the defending champions and league powerhouse.  The legendary George Monk, with the help of some Westlake old boys, rounded up the kids again and entered an impressive 4 teams.  Westlake 1 entered the tournament with nothing but players from the northern regional squad and NZ U19 worlds veteran, Ryan Greaves, as their captain.  From day one they had nothing but the trophy in their sights.  Hato Petera and Greenbay entered the tournament for their first time along with 2 Northcote teams, 2 Takapuna Grammar teams, Birkenhead, and Avondale.  This year’s competition saw huge improvements in skills and game quality.  Although Westlake 1 was the stand out, the other teams grew in strength throughout and made sure that no other Westlake team finished in the top 7.  Quarter finals saw Avondale upset Takapuna Grammar to gain a spot in the semi-finals and Birkenhead won a hard fought game against Northcote 2 by only one point.  Northcote 1 and Westlake 1 cruised to the semis as expected.  Westlake 1 showed no mercy to Avondale in their semi-final but full credit to Avondale for playing well enough to make it there.  A much improved Birkenhead team surprised everyone by battling hard against Northcote 1.  When the hooter blew the score was 6-6 and universe point was played to decide the winner.  After a long back and forth point where both teams squandered chances to win, Eugene from Northcote found his favourite receiver (Clark) in the endzone for the winning catch.  Much celebration ensued and set the stage for the expected final of Westlake 1 vs Northcote 1.  Once again Westlake showed no mercy and won the final 13-2.  They must have showed much class in their winning ways because not only did they win the league they also won Spirit.  They must be doing something special in the development of the sport at their school.  Who won MVP?  Well, Westlake took that home too as Jack McBride ran away with the votes and beat all other challengers by 4 votes.  It was Westlake 1 all the way in every category and all other schools will really need to step up their game to take it away from them next year.
Schools Ultimate
Elliot Thorp from Avondale tries unsuccessfully to catch a pass in a game against Westlake Boys
Placings 1st    Westlake 1 2nd   Northcote 1 3rd   Birkenhead 4th   Avondale 5th   Northcote 2 6th   Greenbay 7th   Takapuna Grammar 1 8th   Westlake 2 9th   Westlake 4 10th   Westlake 3 11th   Takapuna Grammar 2 12th   Hato Petera MVP winner Jack McBride Spirit Winner Westlake 1 As said before… it was a wonderful league again.  We are always looking for volunteers and coaches as well.  If you ever wanted to get involved now is an exciting time.  Schools are lined up and waiting for coaches to come and help them out.  The league could double in size next year if we can find more volunteers.  Give it some thought and join the fun.