Twelve boys teams and twelve girls teams will gather in Palmerston North in October to contest for the 2019 Schick Championships ‘A’ Secondary Schools National title.
Beginning on September 4th, the North and South Island Schick Premierships will take place to determine which 24 teams will contest those championships.
Stratford High School has won back-to-back National titles and it would be a shock if they are not at the sharp end of the contest to determine which seven teams will qualify from the North Island tournament at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North.
Twenty-three boys teams are heading to Palmerston North to contest premiership. Te Aroha College finished runners-up to Stratford last year, so expect them to make a run again this year. Te Aroha find themselves with neighbours Paeroa College and Waihi College in Pool B but only two can progress to the quarter-finals.
Back in Pool A, a young Mana College outfit from the capital may be favoured to make the quarters with Stratford.
Pool C could well be a three-horse race between Opunake High, Hamilton’s Tai Wananga School and Te Wharekura o Mauao from Tauranga.
In Pool D, St Peter’s College, Palmerston North will be banking on home support to aid their cause as they attempt to stave off the challenge of crosstown rivals Manukura and Nga Taiatea Wharekura from Hamilton who finished fourth at Nationals last year.
Fourteen teams will contest the South Island Boys Tournament in Greymouth.
Most pundits appear to have St Kevin’s College, Oamaru to go one better than last year where they finished runners-up at the South Island Schick Premierships.
Hillmorton High beat St Kevin’s in last year’s final and it would be a major surprise if they didn’t feature strongly again this year. Catholic Cathedral School, also from Christchurch, will be another top-five contender, alongside Dunstan High School from Alexandra.
Greymouth High will carry the support of the locals with Buller High, travelling down the West Coast, attempting to make an impression also.
The competition will be less fierce in the South Island Girls Tournament as only one of the six participating teams will be eliminated. The favourites are Otago Secondary School’s Finalists Kavanagh College and after that, it appears to be an open contest.
The other five participants are Buller High, Greymouth High and the Canterbury triumvirate of Ellesmere College, Hornby High and Rangiora New Life School.
With reigning ‘A’ National champions Manukura having opted to enter the ‘AA’ competition this year and 2016-2017 champions Opunake High not entering, the North Island Girl’s Tournament is wide open.
Seven places are up for grabs in Palmerston North and it is almost a certainty that Te Aroha College and Te Kura Kōkiri, both previous National champions, will claim two of those spots. Also, from ‘The Bay’ Te Wharekura o Mauao, Reporoa College and Waihi College will be looking to shine.
Reporoa finished eighth at the Premierships last year, missing out by one place, and will be eager to make amends this time around.
Tai Wananga and Nga Taiatea Wharekura will head down to Palmy from Hamilton with high hopes.
The Basketball Secondary Schools Junior Premierships begin on Saturday August 31st, with a massive 147 teams taking part.
In Zone 1, Rangitoto college, blessed with exceptional depth, appear to be the team to beat in the Boys Premier tournament.
The biggest threats to Rangitoto retaining the title will come from the usual suspects of Auckland Grammar School, Mt Albert Grammar School, Rosmini College and Liston College.
Sacred Heart College and Orewa College may be the teams to beat in the ‘A’ Grade Tournament.
Westlake Girls’ High boasts the most depth in their region and the defending champions will likely prove too strong for the other contenders. These include Carmel College, Massey High, Mt Albert Grammar and Baradene College.
The Zone 2 Boys Premiership Final from last year featured Tauranga Boys’ College and Hamilton Boys’ High, with both expected to feature at the business end of the tournament again this year.
Also expected to be in the mix are St John’s College, Fraser High and Rotorua Boys’ High.
New champions will be crowned in the A Grade Tournament with 2018 champions Waihi College having moved up to the Premier Grade. Perhaps it’s the turn of Bethlehem College, Aquinas College or Te Kuiti High School.
Nine teams will contest the Girls Tournament with the main protagonists looking like Hamilton Girls’ High, Rotorua Girls’ High, Tauranga Girls’ College, St Peter’s School, Cambridge and Nga Taiatea Wharekura.
St Pat’s College Silverstream won the Wellington Junior Premiers competition and will no doubt feature strongly in the Zone 3 Tournament.
Hastings Boys’ High School and hosts Napier Boys’ High School are also set to shine. Napier, along with Scots College, Palmerston North Boys’ High and New Plymouth Boys’ High were top-four finishers in 2018 and will likely be in contention again this year.
Fielding High School and St John’s College, Hastings will look to perform strongly in the A Boys competition.
After winning the Wellington competition, Mana College will be full of confidence ahead of the Girls Zone 3 Tournament. They can expect strong competition from New Plymouth Girls’ High and Manukura.
In Zone 4, Otago Boys’ High and King’s High have had outstanding seasons to date and will have the added advantage of familiarity with the host venue – The Edgar Centre.
Also expected to perform well is John McGlashan College, Waitaki Boys’ High, Cashmere High and Waimea College.
St Thomas of Canterbury College, Nelson College and Kaiapoi High may well be in the mix in the A Grade.
Sixteen teams have entered the Zone 4 Girls Premier Tournament with Taieri College, who have dominated proceedings in Otago this season, looking dangerous. St Hilda’s Collegiate, Waimea College and Papanui High School will be disappointed if they don’t make the top four.