It's hard to find a sport Dylan Simpson doesn't excel in and the 13-year-old will be facing some hard choices in the future as time pressures force him to choose just a few sports to focus on.
The Ashhurst School pupil started playing rugby when he was 3 after he got bored with standing on the sideline watching his older brother Cody, now 15, play.
The brothers ended up playing for the same team and their father, Mike, says they still spend a lot of time playing sports together.
Dylan also plays cricket and credits his teacher, former Manawatu cricket representative Nicole Thessman, with getting him excited about the game.
In addition to rugby and cricket, Dylan swims and is a keen cyclist. He says Cody plays a lot of sports and was a big influence in his choice to take up cycling, as well as being a great training partner.
Mr Simpson says he was very much like Dylan when he was younger; he loved all sports.
''I was into anything. I played table tennis for Manawatu and competitive tennis for Boys' High, and I also played softball. We're a very sporty family. I think it's great, the sports he is involved in. The biggest thing for us is he's active outside, doing things. You see far too many kids who are not active.''
Mr Simpson says Dylan is an extremely talented and gifted athlete who achieves to the highest level no matter what sport he tries.
He had never played squash before taking it as a curriculum rotation at school, going on to win the tournament at the end of the rotation, much to the chagrin of students who had played squash before.
''He has also proven himself to be a true leader, showing patience and compassion to those he has led or played alongside. On many occasions there have been parents of younger children who have commented on how Dylan has taken the time to help and encourage their child when they have been struggling,'' says Mr Simpson.
Dylan's school achievements include coming first in the Ashhurst School triathlon, cross-country and squash tournament, and second in every event he entered in the swimming sports.
He represented the school in the Manawatu interschool triathlon and cross-country where he came third, was second in the 4 x 25m freestyle relay team, and was in the winning Northern Cluster Interschool Ripper Rugby and Tri School Rugby tournament teams.
He was the captain of the school's first XI cricket team and a Manawatu rep for the 2011-2012 season but other sporting commitments prevented him from participating this season. He was captain of the cycling team and also in the ntsZ20/nteTwenty20 cricket and touch teams.
Outside of school Dylan won the Manawatu mountainbiking summer series, came second in the Wellington under-15 championships and the Taupo Day Night Thriller under-17 six-hour team.
He had three wins and one DNF in the Manawatu mountainbiking winter series.
In track cycling he was a silver medallist in the under-15 5000m points race and a bronze medallist in the under-15 2000m individual pursuit. He was also the under-15 overall track champion for the 2012-2013 Manawatu season.
He came second in the under-15 road race of the West Coast North Island road cycling championships and third in the under-15 individual time trial. He was third overall in the Manawatu road championships.
He played in the Ashhurst Pohangina Rugby Football Club under-12 combined teamntsG, and was a finalist for the APRFC Player of the Yearnte. He was also captain of the APRFC's sevens team which won the Waikanae sevens tournament.
Although he professes to love all the sports he plays, Dylan admits rugby is his favourite and he dreams of being an All Black. Mr Simpson says through sports Dylan has formed a good network of friends all around the country and he is looking forward to making new friends when he goes to Palmerston North Boys' High School next year
- © Fairfax NZ News
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