Squash’s Joelle King has been named Sportswoman of the Year at 2018 Waipa Networks District Sports Awards held on Monday night at the Don Rowlands Centre, Karapiro. King has enjoyed huge success this year – becoming New Zealand’s first squash singles gold medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  
Cycling’s Sam Gaze took out the Sportsman of the Year for the second year in a row, claiming his first gold medal in the men’s mountain biking at the Commonwealth Games.
Cambridge Athletics Club Inc were named Club of the Year as one of the fastest growing clubs in New Zealand. With programmes from tiny tots to senior youth, the club puts special emphasis on retaining senior youth athletes with a scholarship programme that offers help with travel, coaching and injury prevention.
The Innovation in Sport and Recreation award was won by Avantidrome Community Trikes, providing accessible, enjoyable and inclusive opportunities to all those with mild to severe mobility issues.
Sport Waikato Waipa District Coordinator Rebecca Foy was very pleased with the high calibre of nominations, finalists and winners this year.
“We have some really amazing talent in the Waipa district, and it’s evident that the determination from all our sportspeople is really paying off. And of course those sportspeople could not do what they do without the fantastic support of the many talented coaches, administrators, officials and supporters,” Foy said.
Eligible winners and judges recommendations are now considered for the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards on Thursday 31st January 2019 at Claudelands Conference and Event Centre, Hamilton.

2018 winners:

Service to Sport:  Keith Bain, Gayle Blackwell, Shelley Blair, Evan de La Rue, Judy Hoffman, Joe Sprangers, Linda Sprangers, Ross Wardlaw
Administrator of the Year: Tim Bailey
Coach of the Year: Leanne Walker
Team of the Year: St Peter’s School, Cambridge Girls Under 18 Rowing Eight
Official of the Year: Ella Higgins
Secondary School Sportswoman: Charlisse Leger-Walker
Secondary School Sportsman: Finn Fisher-Black
Sportsman of the Year: Sam Gaze
Sportswoman of the Year: Joelle King
Club of the Year: Cambridge Athletics Club
Secondary School Contribution to Sport: Matthew McHugh
Emerging Talent: Ellesse Andrews
Innovation in Sport & Recreation: Avantidrome Community Trikes

Summary of winners:

Administrator of the Year: Tim Bailey, Football
Tim leads the volunteers that enable 460 children to participate in football. He is also on the club’s committee and is the junior club captain. Tim coordinates the junior operations team comprising of volunteers and is responsible for coaching, staffing the club shop, ensuring teams have kit, equipment and field space. Tim has also led the club executive committee in a revamp of the way it manages operations.
Club of the Year: Cambridge Athletics Club
The Cambridge Athletics Club is the fastest growing athletics club in New Zealand. There are programmes for all ages from Tiny tots through to senior youth. The club puts special emphasis on retaining senior youth athlete’s and has a scholarship programme offering up to $2000 to help with travel, coaching and injury prevention. The club has embraced the ‘Tuakana Teina’ initiative where older athletes mentor and coach the six year olds. The club has turned 100 this season and is stronger than ever - they pride themselves on being an engaged club, where whanau and athlete involvement are central to their culture and success.
Coach of the Year: Leanne Walker, Basketball
Leanne has achieved international success as a basketball coach winning with New Zealand women a gold at the 2018 Asia Cup in China. At New Zealand Schick Secondary School National’s, she has taken St Peter’s School, Cambridge to win gold for the third time in four years. Leanne is Head Coach of Waikato Women. They made the national final at the women’s basketball championship and she is assistant coach for the Waikato under 19 and 23 women, both National champions.
Official of the Year: Ella Higgins, Netball
Ella’s contribution to the Waikato-BOP Zone and dedication to umpiring saw her presented with the Netball New Zealand’s Volunteer Youth award. Her volunteer time is split between Cambridge High School and the Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Hamilton Netball Centres. The Cambridge Netball Centre member was appointed to umpire at this year’s National Under-17 Championships at just 16 years old and already holds her New Zealand C award. When bringing umpires through their grades, they are often paired with Ella. Although not yet an umpire coach, this is on her radar for the future.
Innovation in Sport & Recreation: Avantidrome Community Trikes
The Avantidrome Community Trikes programme provides accessible, enjoyable and inclusive opportunities that empower riders to engage in physical and social activities. The trikes give people the opportunity to realise that they do not have to be defined by mobility issues or disability. There is no other programme like this in New Zealand, where people with mild to severe mobility issues can ride freely, discovering the thrill and freedom of self-powered movement. The programme currently reaches over 500 riders per month.
Team of the Year: St Peter’s School, Cambridge Girls Under 18 Rowing Eight
St Peter’s School’s Senior Girls’ 8 rowers topped the tables at the 2018 Maadi Cup event in Twizel with the best-possible result – The Levin Jubilee Cup, one of the two highly coveted trophies at the event the other being the Maadi Cup. For the first time ever, the school smashed their name onto the trophy. The team consisted of Brie Perry, Brooke Kilmister, Morgan Blind, Anna Cairns, Beckie Leigh, Katie Bell, Amy Butler, Kaylen Wren and Coxswain Lauren Gibb. 
Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year: Charlisse Leger-Walker, St Peter’s School, Cambridge
Charlisse is the youngest player to ever be selected to represent the Tall Ferns, only 16 years old when the team was announced and went on to win bronze at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Charlisse had an outstanding tournament with the NZ Under 17 girls at the FIBA World Cup and also captained her Waikato Under 19 girls to win back-to-back National titles. Captaining the 3x3 St Peters School, Cambridge team to win at New Zealand Secondary Schools tournament and then more recently they won the 5x5 AA Schick National Secondary School tournament.
Secondary School Sportsman of the Year: Finn Fisher-Black, St Peter’s School, Cambridge
Over the last year Finn has broken the Under 17 National Pursuit record, the Under 19 National championships pursuit record as well as the time trial records in the Te Awamutu Tour, Tour of Manawatu and Tour of Southland. At the 2018 Junior Track Championships he won gold in the team pursuit and came 4th in the individual pursuit. A long-term goal for Finn is to make cycling a profession and to race all over the world. He is also determined to make the Junior World Champs in 2019.
Secondary School Contribution to Sport: Matthew McHugh, Cambridge High School
Within Rugby Matthew is the captain of the Cambridge High School 1st XV and alongside this he supports the junior teams within the school. He is a junior referee with Cambridge Referees and throughout the season he assisted the development of the junior girl’s and boy’s seven’s team.
In addition, Matthew is a KiwiSport Leader volunteer and has been part of the Cambridge rowing squad assisting with the Learn to Row programme and helps with the school’s requirements for the boat maintenance programme.
Emerging Talent: Ellesse Andrews, Cycling
The 2018 year began with Ellesse being recognised for her cycling efforts, winning the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Secondary School Sportswoman of the Year, and then only one week later she went on to win the Halberg Emerging Talent award. The accolades were soon followed by the exciting news of being selected into the 2018 Commonwealth Games team. A milestone that was not on the cards until about 8 weeks out from race day.The key event was the 3000 metre Individual Pursuit, the ride was executed almost perfectly, and Ellesse came across the line in a time that was 5 seconds faster than her original goal.
Sportsman of the Year: Sam Gaze, Cycling
Sam Gaze claimed a New Zealand gold in the men's mountain biking at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The race went down to the wire, with Gaze producing an incredible last lap performance after suffering a mechanical problem early into the final lap and dropping back to third. However, he fought back to second before closing in on Anton Cooper. The pair were neck and neck with Gaze passing near the end of the final lap the final sprint saw him claim his first Commonwealth Games gold.
Sportswoman of the Year: Joelle King – Squash
Joelle King has become New Zealand's first squash singles gold medallist at Commonwealth Games, winning against England's Sarah-Jane Perry in a brilliant final. The singles gold medal adds to the bronze she claimed in Glasgow, as well as the doubles gold and mixed doubles silver she brought home from Delhi. This will undoubtedly be the best medal of them all for Joelle, who was untroubled until the final, but dug deep to overcome a stunning comeback from Perry, resulting in historic GOLD.
Service to Sport: Keith Bain, Te Awamutu College
Keith started coaching and officiating in 1977. Within his role as Director of Sport at Te Awamutu College he is renowned for organising and running a vast number of sports and events. He is the organiser of the King Country Secondary Schools Athletics and Swimming Championships and hosted the Waikato Bay of Plenty Secondary Schools Cross Country events. He has been instrumental in moving sport forward locally by coaching many sports and creating opportunities for youth.
Service to Sport: Gayle Blackwell, Te Awamutu Motorcycle Club
For over 25 years Gayle has undertaken many roles with in the club; Secretary, Treasurer, Lap Scorer and Points Co-ordinator. Gayle demonstrates integrity, honesty and reliability in her roles which is the driving force for the success of the club. Her financial savvy and ability to co-ordinate the points are impeccable.
Service to Sport: Shelley Blair, Te Awamutu Special Olympics Swimming Club
Shelley started teaching children with special needs how to swim over 15 years ago. She identified a need to support these young athletes in a more formal way and in 2009 she established the Te Awamutu Special Olympics Swimming Club. Due to the dedication & volunteer work of Shelley the club is a widely respected both locally and nationally. A highly qualified special needs swimming coach Shelley has taken the club to many regional events and 3 national level events.
Service to Sport: Evan de La Rue, Ohaupo Rugby and Sports Club
A life member of Ohaupo Rugby and Sports Club, Te Awamutu Rugby Referees Association, Waikato Rugby Referee’s Association and Kaipaki Tennis Club. Evan has always got the best out of people he has coached and refereed as he is always positive and understands the passion and competitive nature of sport. Evan has a great competitive nature, and this is evident with wins of three national titles in the 80 years plus categories for single and doubles tennis. He recently gained a silver medal in the mixed category in Orlando, USA worldwide competition.
Service to Sport: Judy Hoffman, Cambridge Mini Hockey
Judy Hoffman is Cambridge Mini Hockey! From the early days of establishing hockey for primary school aged children there were 12 teams. From its inception in 2006 to date there are now 58 teams participating in Mini Hockey across Waipa and over 500 children participating. All the work Judy has done is voluntary and this year she set up a committee to future proof Cambridge Mini hockey.
Service to Sport: Joe Sprangers, Te Awamutu Rugby Sports and Recreation Club
For over 28 years Joe has demonstrated his expertise and been influential with many roles at the Te Awamutu Rugby Sports & Rec club. From coach, mentor and board member to valued president. He is a true professional and is happy to advise on best practice for ‘not for profit’ organisations. Joe was the founding trustee of the Grandstand Community Trust and is currently a board member of Te Awamutu Rugby Sport & Rec Club.
Service to Sport: Linda Sprangers, Te Awamutu Rugby Sports and Recreation Club
Since as early as 1994 Linda has played netball and over the years has held various committee positions and is current president of Te Awamutu Sports Netball Club. Linda has been awarded both Service to Sport and life membership for Paper Plus Te Awamutu Netball Centre. Linda is a NZ umpire and was instrumental in setting up and mentoring the local umpire coaching team.
Service to Sport: Ross Wardlaw, Te Awamutu Rugby Referees Association
Ross is a grassroots rugby referee with over 30 years’ service. He is a life member of Te Awamutu Rugby Referees Association and was awarded his 30 years’ service from NZ Rugby this year. At Waikato level Ross has been on coaching and grading for over ten years and steps down this year to focus on the Te Awamutu Rugby Referees Association. Ross coach’s referee’s and is still actively refereeing junior rugby and assistant referee for senior rugby.

Winners Photos
All Photos

2018 Waipa Networks District Sports Awards winners announced!

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