Hero photograph

World Junior Champs are the ultimate goal

Peter Besley —

Frisbees flew in front of the grandstand at Moore Park on Sunday, August 15. Katikati was the venue for a New Zealand National U20 Ultimate Training Squad session.

Combining the non-stop movement and athletic endurance of football with the aerial passing skills of netball, a game of Ultimate is played by two teams with a flying disc or Frisbee™ on a field with end zones, similar to touch rugby. The object of the game is to score by catching a pass in the opponent’s end zone.

Katikati College students Sean Nicholson, Daniel Nicholson, Aryrton Hodson and Luke Spurr are part of the current training squad. The event saw other members of the squad from Auckland and Waikato join players from the Mount Ultimate club under the watchful eye of NZ U20 coach, Warren Buckingham, for a day of drills, fitness and game strategy, capped off with a game. The event was superbly hosted by the boys’ parents and the group were grateful for the refreshments and the generous use of the Katikati Rugby and Sports Club facilities.

For the proud parents - Jackie Nicholson, Liza and Paul Hodson, Jane and Tony Spurr it was fantastic to see their sons performing on home turf.

Sean, Daniel, Ayrton and Luke have had a successful year to date having gained selection on the basis of their performances at the New Zealand Secondary School Ultimate Championships and the New Zealand Youth Ultimate Championships.

The goal of the National Training Squad is to develop players' skills, understanding of strategy, fitness and mental skills. The boys have already attended a full training camp with the full squad in Auckland. There will be another camp in Auckland next month and one in Christchurch in October.

They hope make selection for a trans-Tasman Competition to be held in December and ultimately the squad to play in the World Junior Ultimate Champs to be held in the Dominican Republic in August 2022 – these events are obviously subject to the conditions globally regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. The boys have committed to the cause and regularly practice at school and are also training with the Mount Ultimate club with a view to playing in some regional open tournaments and the NZ Mixed National’s to be held at Papamoa in December.

In order to pay for the various travel costs involved, the quartet have begun fundraising doing various jobs and will look to up this activity should they make the cut for the final squad later in the year. Their success has seen interest at the College grow and Property Manager Steve Gilroy has marked out a field specifically for the students to practice on. More often than not, these days, there are frisbees flying on the back field at breaktime.