Cambridge Middle School’s 90-strong team achieved a record medal haul at this year’s Aims Games, coming home with eight gold medals and one team bronze.
Swimmer Alanna Rawson won every event she entered, powering her way to gold in the year 8 girls’ 50m and 100m butterfly, 50m and 200m freestyle and 50m backstroke races.
“I do well under pressure – I just love chasing feet,” said the 13-year-old, who is aiming to represent New Zealand at the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.
The games, held annually in Tauranga, is one of Australasia’s largest sporting events. Offering 25 sporting codes, this year it attracted 11,733 competitors from 374 schools.
BMX competitor Beth Walker, New Zealand’s number one ranked 13-year-old female rider, won gold in the year 8 girls’ time trial and individual races, and bronze with Cody Orr in the School Cup teams race.
She is aiming to compete at the 2024 BMX Racing World Championships in America next May.
Although she shares a surname with Olympic BMX silver medallist Sarah Walker, the pair are not related.
Her teammate Emily Cameron, however, does have a genetic link to sporting greatness.
Cameron’s mother Sarah Ulmer won an Olympic cycling gold medal in Athens in 2004 and her father Brendon Cameron won bronze at the 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games.
“My mum gave me tips; she said if you’re trying really hard, try even harder…that was kind of it,” the year 7 student said.
“My dad was like, just try and get as far up as you can at the start and go your own pace and go hard out.”
Cameron won gold in year 7 girls’ mountain biking and was fourth out of 113 runners in the year 7 girls’ 3km cross country race.
Her current long-term goal is to represent Aotearoa at the Olympics in “either hockey or running”.
Cambridge Middle School’s netball team finished 44th out of 144, hockey 17th out of 54, basketball 27th out of 100, water polo 7th out of 26, football 10th out of 54 and its futsal team was 10th out of 38.
St Peter’s Catholic School’s sole competitor was 13-year-old Henry Eisenbarth, who finished 25th out of 110 runners in the year 8 boys’ cross country event.
Hautapu School sent a girls’ hockey team, which finished 24th out of 30 and a boys’ hockey team, which finished 15th out of 22.
St Peter’s Cambridge students brought home three gold medals. Nick Lugton won the year 8 canoe slalom and teamed up with Finn Rolley and Stu Lugton to win the year 8 team canoe slalom event. Sofia Moran won gold in aerobics and Max Gurney took home bronze in year 7 cross country mountain biking.