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Long, testing journey
ahead for Lyric Dixon
Odyssey: New Zealand under-16
basketball representative Lyric Dixon
will have her skills and stamina tested
over the next six weeks.
LYRIC DIXON is about to learn
about life on the road.
The Wellington East College
student will tackle three success-
ive basketball competitions in
three different countries.
Dixon, 15, will go to Adelaide
with the New Zealand under-16
basketball team and then have a
night at home before playing for
Wellington at the national under-
17 championships in Auckland.
There should be another night
at home and a chance to repack
the suitcase before Dixon heads to
Las Vegas, with the New Zealand
Basketball Academy girls under-15
Her odyssey starts next week,
with a training camp for the natio-
nal side, and continues till the end
of July.
Its going to be exciting and
Im looking forward to both [over-
seas] trips, for different reasons,
Dixon said.
Im looking forward to rep-
resenting my country and playing
in black and white in Adelaide,
while we should be exposed to new
experiences and another level of
competition in Las Vegas.
Dixon had a taste of what to
expect at an international level
when she went to Australia with
the Koru under-16 girls develop-
ment team in January.
I learnt a lot and it was a big
wake-up call. The level was a lot
higher than back in New Zealand.
The Australian teams were there
to win and maintained the inten-
sity level for the whole game.
Dixon, who is also a representa-
tive netball player, had to go
through a tough selection process
before claiming one of the 10
places in the New Zealand under-
16 team, which will take part in
the Australian state champion-
It was good for me and I had to
work so hard for it. You were
fighting for your position every
But I want to try to do some-
thing in basketball and making
the New Zealand side showed that
it is possible if I work hard.
My goal in Vegas will be to
play really well and try to step up
to their standard. We will be in
our third week of basketball but I
want to give it everything Ive got
Dixon can expect to come under
the eye of college scouts in Las
Vegas but, while the prospect of
playing college basketball in the
US appeals, she is not trying to
look too far ahead. I want to get
school over and done with and
then see where basketball might
take me. I will finish school and
then try everything.
Dixon, who is tackling NCEA
level 1 this year, also has an agree-
ment with her parents, Rik and
Donna, that she must maintain
her academic standards if she
wants to continue her sporting ad-
My parents are my No 1 sup-
porters and have put in a lot of
time and quite a lot of money.
Dixon has been playing netball
since the age of 7 but became
serious about basketball about
four years ago.
I really enjoy netball and it
has been a big part of my life but
Im more passionate about basket-
ball now. I enjoy the speed and the
explosiveness [of basketball] and
the fact that you can be both of-
fensive and defensive.
Dixon has usually played as a
power forward or centre but is
likely to be used as a small for-
ward with the under-16 side.
She will be joined in the New
Zealand side by Shalae Salmon
(Wellington Girls).
Salmon, whose older sister Ca-
mece was a Junior Tall Fern last
year, is 1.88m tall and has al-
ways been a forward. But I
wasnt that tall till I had a growth
spurt in year 9 and 10, she said.
with Tim Barton
(04) 474 0123
Scots look to stiffen their defence for crucial clash against Silverstream
SCOTS COLLEGE will put their
championship credentials on the
line this weekend.
Scots have scored a swag of
tries while going through four
rounds of the Wellington compe-
tition unbeaten but face their first
big test of the season on Saturday.
They have a televised home
match against defending cham-
pions and competition leaders
Silverstream have form and
history on their side and remain
unconquered territory for Scots.
Scots have yet to beat Silver-
stream since graduating to the
premier one grade in 2010, though
they twice went close last year,
with Silverstream winning the
round-robin match 16-12 before a
23-20 win in the competition semi-
There is evidence that both
sides are stronger this year and
they have been dominant in the
first half of the competition.
Silverstream, who recorded a
25-11 win over Wellington College
in their traditional match last
week, have scored 213 points in
four games and conceded just 23,
while Scots have scored 223 with
66 against.
Third-placed Wellington Col-
lege, who play Scots on Saturday
week, have scored 130 points and
no other team has topped 100.
Scots have the backline skills to
play an expansive game and cen-
tre Malo Tuitama has scored 14
tries already, including four
against Porirua College last week-
end and five against Rongotai two
weeks earlier.
Our attack has been pretty
good and our results show that,
but we need to get our defence in
order, Scots manager Geoff Hall
said. At times we have leaked
some points because we knew that
we could come back and score
tries but it doesnt work like that
against the better teams.
Scots are led by second five-
eighth Eli Vole, while first five-
eighth T J Vaa and fullback
Varani Komaisavai are also key
members of the backline. Prop
Alex Fidow, who is only 15, has
been a standout in the Scots pack.
Silverstream impressed in all
areas against Wellington College,
with a vigorous, skilful pack
taking control of the game in the
second half, while the backline
produced a big defensive game and
never allowed their Wellington
counterparts to get into a rhythm.
The boys played very well,
particularly in the second half,
Silverstream coach Rob Ackerman
said. They are maturing and
growing in confidence. Most of
them have played together for
some time and are working hard
for each other.
Diminutive Silverstream half-
back Luke Coulston was named
player of the match last week and
prop Joe Apikotoa was another
Silverstream were scheduled to
have a tough week, with the Scots
game preceded by a much antici-
pated traditional against St Bedes
this afternoon.
However, the weather con-
ditions in Christchurch meant
that the St Bedes exchange was
cancelled. That would have disap-
pointed the players but has also
meant that it will be easier for Sil-
verstream to produce a peak per-
formance on Saturday.
There were two tight premier
one games last weekend, with
Rongotai beating Hutt Inter-
national 18-17, while St Pats Town
boosted their top four hopes with a
26-24 win over Naenae. Town and
Rongotai share fourth place and
meet on Saturday.
Paddler set to begin buildup
for world championships
KURTIS IMRIE is about to take on
the world with his paddle.
The Newlands College year 13
student heads overseas next week
to begin his buildup to the world
junior kayaking championships in
Canada in early August.
Imrie, the only Wellington pad-
dler in the New Zealand under-18
team, will be away for five weeks
and will compete at the national
championships in Slovakia and
the Czech Republic before heading
to Canada.
The world championships will
be something of a family event, as
Imries older sister, Kayla, is a
member of the New Zealand
under-23 team. Its really excit-
ing, Imrie said. Ive never been
to Europe and it will be a great
experience. I was pretty stoked
when I made the team.
Imrie, who will compete in the
K1 200m and K4 1000m in Canada,
hopes to make the 200m final but
has little knowledge of his likely
I havent had many inter-
national races and I still dont
know what to expect, but the Euro-
pean canoeists are very strong.
Imrie, 17, has had a long in-
volvement in surf lifesaving and
first took up kayaking about three
years ago, mainly to help with his
ski paddling.
He still competes at a high level
in surf livesaving but kayaking
has taken over as his No 1 sport.
The techniques [for kayaking
and ski paddling] are similar but
you twist more in the kayak and
use your core more. With ski pad-
dling, because of the waves, its
more about the arms and upper
Imrie earned a bronze medal in
kayaking at the Australian Youth
Olympic Festival in Sydney in
January and clinched a place in
the world championships team
when winning two titles at the
New Zealand championships in
February. He won the K1 200mand
500m under-18 titles and was the
runner-up to New Zealand team-
mate Jarrod Fitzgerald in the
Imrie, who usually trains six
days a week on Porirua Harbour,
is also an accomplished rugby
player and has been a member of
the Newlands College first XV for
three years, though he has put rug-
by on hold till after the world
Promising young runner leads
home a top Wellington effort
In front: Kapiti Colleges Kayla Walker capped a big winter when taking the year
9 title at the national secondary schools cross-country championships.
KAYLA WALKER is an athlete on
the rise.
The Kapiti College student
claimed gold on the national stage
by winning the year 9 title at the
national secondary schools cross-
country championships in Christ-
church, last weekend.
Walker was the chief flagbearer
at a successful meeting for Wel-
lington athletes.
Jean Kozyniak (St Catherines)
finished third in the senior girls
and there were strong results in
the junior girls and senior boys.
Kelsey Forman (Wellington
East) won bronze in the junior
girls, with Madeline Wilson (Mars-
den) 10th and three other Welling-
ton runners Anna Gibbs (Wel-
lington Girls), Alisha Gilchrist
(Onslow) and Amelia Harris (Wel-
lington East) in the top 20.
Marcus Karamanolis (St Pats
Town) finished fifth in a huge field
for the senior boys, with Jake Ten-
nent (Rongotai) one place behind.
Nathan Tse (Scots) was 11th,
Warkina Tujuba (Town) 13th, Ja-
mes Fletcher (Scots) 15th and Pat-
rick Roche (Town) 20th, with Tim
Robertson (Hutt International)
and Riva Williams (Wellington
College) the next two.
A top 25 finish was no mean
feat, in a field of 245, while 142
contested the senior girls title.
The combined efforts of Kara-
manolis, Tujuba and Roche also
meant St Pats Town won the
three-person teams competition,
with Scots College fourth. Town
also finished fourth in the six-
person team, with Wellington Col-
lege fifth.
Wellington Girls were fourth
in the six-person teams compe-
tition in the senior girls.
Walker, 13, won the junior
3000m title at the North Island
track championships in April and
has dominated her age group in
the cross-country season.
She won the junior title at the
Wellington secondary schools
championships and the under-15
titles at the Vosseler Shield and
Dorne Cup competitions.
Its been a breakthrough
year, Walker said. Ive really
only been coached for the last cou-
ple of years and its making a big
Walker has also upped her
training schedule. I started run-
ning seven days a week and have
been doing that for most of this
Walker was in second place at
the top of the final straight in
Christchurch but was able to run
down Nelson runner Bridie Ed-
wards to win by two seconds.
She will now target the North
Island cross-country champion-
ships in Taupo, on July 6, where
she will compete in the under-15
Her coach, Alastair Leslie, has
no doubt that Walker will con-
tinue to progress. She has huge
potential and this is only the start
of it, Leslie said.
Shes strong and has a lot of
endurance and is also very deter-
mined and thats one of the traits
you look for in an endurance run-
Kozyniak, who was making her
final appearance at the schools
championships, was delighted
with her podium placing.
As expected, the outstanding
Christchurch runner Rosa
Flanagan won the senior title but
Kozyniak was only half a metre
behind runner-up Audrey Gregan,
and there was a seven-second gap
to fourth.
Kozyniak was making her
fourth appearance at the national
championships and has not been
further back than fourth. She was
the runner-up in year 9, won the
junior title in 2010, missed the 2011
meeting through injury and ran
fourth in the senior girls last year.
She will now prepare for the
national club cross-country cham-
pionships, in Hamilton on August
3, and the Australian champion-
ships, in Tasmania on August 31.
Karamanolis, who will be back
for another crack in 2014, was also
happy with his placing after a re-
stricted buildup.
He had been sidelined for a
month by an ankle injury at the
end of the track season and had
taken time to return to peak fit-
I hadnt been running that
well prior to it, though I was aim-
ing for top 10 again, after I came
eighth last year, he said. I was
also pretty stoked about winning
the teams competition.
Tom Caughley (Scots) and
Stefan Przychodzko (Parapara-
umu College) were the top Wel-
lington runners in the junior boys,
finishing 13th and 15th respect-
ively, while Joshua Nairne (Town)
was 10th in the year 9 boys and
Seamus Kane (Onslow) 12th.
Izzy Hegan (Wellington Girls)
finished eighth in the girls year 9.