Havelock North High students representing NZ in chosen sports
Havelock North High School students Georgia Hulls and Jenna Tidswell are no strangers to representing their country in their respective sports, and both are soon to do it again.
Year 13 student Georgia has qualified for her second Oceania Junior (Under 20) Athletics Championships in Fiji next month. The 17-year-old broke the events 100m and 200m records when she competed in 2014. The only person from Hawke's Bay competing at this year's games, she will also race in multiple other relay events.
She is no stranger to the track or competitions. She started running when she was six years old, began training when she was ten, and started serious training at 15.
"I used to go to Nelson park every club day with my friends. I loved it from a young age and just kept going," Georgia said.
It was hard to chose a highlight but she rates her tenth place at the World Youth Games in 2015 as her highest achievement to date. She has run faster times since then, but in terms of experience that was hard to beat.
"I'd encourage every kid to give running a go. It helps with every sport, being as fast as you can. I play hockey and I know it's helped a lot with that," she said.
"And the friendships you make are incredible. All my closest friends would be from running and we still talk most days, even when their overseas or somewhere else in New Zealand".
Georgia trains every day. She has two gym sessions and six running sessions a week as well as four hockey trainings.
Her next big decision will be which university to attend.
"We're working that out at the moment. I think it will most likely be Auckland. That's where the best facilities and coach is for me. I'm looking at the States in maybe two years," she said.
Year 12 student Jenna Tidswell has been orienteering for seven years, starting in year five at Haumoana School.
"I pretty much loved it, and cross-country, right away. I love running over the different terrain. You're out in the farms and the forests, and you get to travel quite a bit to some amazing places," she said.
Asked what she thinks makes her so good at the sport, the 16-year-old Jenna replied "training".
She runs most days, usually for about 8km, and often with her younger brother Will who is also achieving top results for his age group.
"I do a lot of running, but I also do a lot of work on the technical side of it, the navigation with compasses and maps, that sort of stuff. Experience makes you better," she said.
Her next big event will, hopefully, be the Junior World Orienteering champs in Finland in July. She is raising funds for the trip now.
She has previously competed in Australia and Turkey.
Like Georgia, Jenna would encourage other kids to try her sport at a young age.
"It's an amazing sport, but mostly it's the people you meet. You mix with these people who all have the same interest and you just naturally bond to one another," she said.