The organisers of the 2012 ASB Northland Secondary School Sports Awards won't be accused of failing to keep up with the times after recognising sports such as unicycling and motocross quad racing for the first time this year.
The names of many of the area's future sports stars adorn the list of 154 individuals and four team finalists from a pool of 287 nominations received for the annual awards. As many as 23 Northland secondary schools will be represented at the awards ceremony that will take place in the ASB Stadium on Thursday, November 8.
Some names are well known, such as rugby league's Kadince Christensen and Jaydenn Bentley-Hape, golf's Chase McKeown, Sean Masters and Luke Brown, swimming's Freyah Ruri and Melita Raravula, squash's Abbey Palmer and running's Imogen Hull. But there are also many lesser-known athletes from smaller sports, such as rodeo siblings Klay and Bradley Lanigan and badminton player Jack Ding, who could figure when some of the major prizes are decided.
The awards recognise the outstanding sporting achievements of students in secondary school sports as well as those who have excelled in sport not offered at a secondary school level. Traditional sporting codes like basketball and football combine with codes being represented for the first time like unicycling and motocross quad to make up the 43 codes acknowledged.
Top performing officials will also be recognised and the Team of the Year announced. Team prize finalists include Kerikeri High School's sailing team, who will be given a good run by other national prize winners from Whangarei Boys High School - the match play golf team and the trap-shooting team - with Whangarei Girls High School cheerleading team a real dark horse.
Code winners on the night will also be in the running for an ASB Excellence award. These will be presented to one male and one female student deemed to have the highest sporting achievement in a sport not offered at secondary school level. The ASB Sportswomanw and Sportsman of the Year will be named from all code winners in recognised secondary school sport.
Northland Regional Sports Director Robyn Richards says judging will be hard this year due to the high calibre of achievements.
"This year has seen a number of our Northland secondary school students excel, so to pick the winners will not be an easy task," she said.
Tickets are available for the ceremony on the Sport Northland website, along with a full list of nominated athletes.