Waikato teams and individuals produced a string of top performances in one of the biggest weeks of the sporting calendar for secondary school students.
More than 18,000 students are believed to have competed in 66 events during the Winter Tournament week in the culmination of the winter sport season.
Waikato Diocesan Open A team were one of 16 teams who booked their spot at the national secondary schools netball championships to be held in Timaru next month.
With the top six sides guaranteed a place at the national event, Waikato Dio qualified by defeating Auckland Girls' Grammar School 29-22 in the upper North Island secondary school championships.
Cambridge High School narrowly missed out on a top six placing, falling 28-21 to Westlake Girls' High School. The result meant Cambridge finished eighth overall in the A grade.
It will be a return to the national stage for Waikato Dio since their last appearance in 1998 when they were the national champions. Dio captain and defender Micaela Ashford was one of three Waikato students to be named in the top 20 players in the tournament.
Also in the tournament side were Cambridge mid-courter Dawn De Bruin Wakelin and shooter Grace Namana from St Paul's Collegiate.
Hauraki Plains College earned promotion into the A grade next year with a third place finish in the B grade.
Hamilton Girls' High School's hockey team had to endure a pen alty stroke countback to win the Mary Clinton secondary schools tournament. HGHS were level at 2-2 with Aquinas College at fulltime and both sides could still not be separated after extra time. However, penalty strokes by Megan Brewer, Theresa Downing and Georgia Williams and composed play by goalie Hollie Reid ensured HGHS won.
The top boys' hockey teams from around the country competed for the Rankin Cup in Napier last week, where Hamilton Boys' High School claimed third place. HBHS were able to fight out a 3-3 draw against Wairarapa College on the final day of competition.
St Peter's School's girls hockey team also tasted success with a 2-0 victory as they won the Chica Gilmer trophy over Mt Albert Grammar School with goals to Alex Crawshaw and Frances Davis, while St John's College defeated Taradale High School 5-4 on strokes to claim the Founders Cup.
Hamilton's Fraser High School's boys and girls premier teams finished second in the AA secondary school zone 2 premiership tournament in Taupo.
Fraser boys fell to Tauranga Boys' College 94-74, while the girls were beaten by another top Waikato side, Hamilton Girls' High School. The consolation for both Fraser sides was that they qualified for the national tournament in Nelson in early October.
Tokoroa High School's First XIII was able to shake off the disappointment of narrow defeats in the pool stages to claim the plate title against Taita College 26-14.
The team finished third in their pool but ended their tournament strongly, winning their final two matches against Whangarei High School and Taita.
Tokoroa captain Sisa Manu was rewarded for his impressive performances by being selected into the tournament team.
In the developing schools' pool, St John's College and Hamilton's Fraser High finished fourth and eighth respectively. Meanwhile, in a rematch of last year's final, Auckland's St Paul's College claimed their 15th national title by beating Otahuhu College 24-4.
HBHS cyclists Sam Dobbs and Danyon Inwood were standouts at the secondary schools individual championships in Auckland.
Dobbs and Inwood won the boys' under-16 and under-20 grades respectively, while Waikato Dio's Maddie Farrant won the girls' under-17 grade.
- Waikato Times