By Nathan Morton
Pakuranga College student
It may be a chilly sport, but the Elim Christian College girls snowboarding team has been given the warm buzz of success after being awarded Team of the Year at the Howick Local Board Sports Awards.
Held on March 26 at the Howick Club, the awards (supported by the Howick Local Board and Counties Manukau Sport Foundation) celebrated the achievements of athletes and recognised sporting talent in the east Auckland area.
Courtney Burchell (18), Charlotte Mimilo (17), Baylin Klein Ovink (15), Aleisha Bain (17) and Adele Benns (15) walked away with the accolade after a successful competition season that included placing first overall in the girls secondary school division of the 2016 North Island Championships.
The five have been training together for only a year; however some have been conquering the sport for up to four years.
“It’s so fun. It’s my favourite thing to do,” said Aleisha.
“You do it once and then when you get better it’s really cool to see your improvement.”
However, despite their success, the girls are adamant that competing isn’t the motivation behind their passion for the sport.
“I don’t snowboard to compete. I do it because it’s fun,” Courtney said.
“For us, the competition is just the thing on the side,” Charlotte agreed.
The five girls are also quick to recognise the privilege of working under snowboard coach and full-time secondary school teacher Tody Granat.
“It’s like free tuition getting to learn from someone like Tody,” said Courtney. “He’s got so much experience.”
Mr Granat, who has been working at Elim Christian College for six years, was formerly a snowboarding instructor at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
“To see the girls achieve so well over the years has made me extremely proud,” he said.
“Words cannot express the joy I feel when I see them achieving what they have set out to achieve.”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Athlete of the Year Award went to Olympic shot-putting legend Valerie Adams who was also Sportswoman of the Year. Sportsman of the Year was BlackCap all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme (see our story on his IPL deal).
Congratulations to all the winners of the Howick Local Board Sports Awards:
Official of the Year: John Wright (Rugby referee)
Disabled Athlete of the Year: James Wilson (Powerlifting)
Masters Athlete of the Year: Raechel Cummins (Rowing)
Rising Star of the Year (Female): Ana Tamanika (Tennis)
Rising Star of the Year (Male): Alex Mirkov (Tennis)
Junior Team of the Year: Howick Rhythmic Gymnastics Competitive Gymnasts (Sponsor NZ Home Loans)
Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Jessica Manchester (Sponsor Les Mills Howick) (Mountain Biking)
Junior Sportsman of the Year: Joshua Oxenham (Sponsor Les Mills Howick) (Mountain Biking)
Club of the Year: Special Olympics Howick-Pakuranga (Sponsor Ray White)
Coach of the Year: Julia Sim (Bucklands Beach Tennis Club)
Team of the Year: Elim Christian College Girls Snowboard Team (Sponsor Ray White)
Sportswoman of the Year: Valerie Adams (Sponsor Les Mills Howick) (Athletics)
Sportsman of the Year: Colin de Grandhomme (Sponsor Les Mills Howick) (Cricket)
Supreme Athlete of the Year Award: Valerie Adams