Three NZ Junior Champions!

The Bay has three new champions as the NZ Junior National Age Group Champs concluded in Auckland over the weekend.  Twenty Bay of Plenty juniors descended on the National Squash Centre to compete in the pinnacle event for junior squash in NZ.  Players compete in their age groups (U11, U13, U15, U17, U19) against the best from across the country for the right to be crowned a national champion.

Putaruru’s Maiya Hotham went into the draw as top seed in the Girls Under 11, and dominated all of her matches to take the title without dropping a set.  9 year-old Maiya is currently ranked no 1 in NZ for her age group and is a real prospect for the future.

In the Boys Under 11, Edgecumbe’s Zezima Waitai was also the top seed, and is NZ’s current no 1 player in his age group.  His run to the title was a bit tougher, overcoming tough opponents in the semi and final in tight 4-set matches.  Zezima is also 9 years old, so will have a chance to defend his title in next year’s event.

Glenn Templeton has a long list of accolades and titles over his stellar junior career so far.  He has won NZ age group titles at Under 11, Under 15 (twice), and Under 17, as well as representing NZ at the World Junior Champs in Malaysia earlier this year.  He is currently a member of the BOP Senior Mens Team, and is in the NZ Senior training squad as well as the NZ Doubles Squad preparing for 2021 World champs and 2022 Commonwealth Games.  

The third seed comfortably won through to the semi-final where he faced 2nd seeded Willz Donnelly from Eastern.  Glenn produced one of his best performances of the season in a clinical 3 set victory.  Glenn’s long-term rivalry with Elijah Thomas was the backdrop for an intense final that went all the way to 5 sets.  The BOP star held his nerve to finish stronger than his opponent and take the crown and NZ’s best junior male, 11-6 in the 5th set.  He was also rewarded with being named NZ’s Most Improved Junior Male for 2019 at the prize ceremony.  The 17 year-old will be back next year to defend his title in his last year as a junior, and hopes to make the NZ team to head off the World Juniors on the Gold Coast in 2020.

Overall, of the 20 BOP kids at the event, 18 managed to match their seed or better at the event, so a pretty solid showing from our charges.  The future is very bright for Squash in the Bay.

Age GroupName (seed)ClubPlacing
Boys Under 19Glenn Templeton (3)Katikati1st
Boys Under 19Taylor Bettelheim (8)Devoy Squash6th
Boys Under 19Manaia Murphy-Fell (7)Whakatane9th
Boys Under 19Jack Niles (14)Devoy Squash12th
Girls Under 19Anika Russell (15)Devoy Squash13th
Boys Under 17Joe Smythe (5)Devoy Squash3rd
Boys Under 17Luke Steyn (10)Taupo9th
Boys Under 17Robert Ward (18)Te Puke17th
Girls Under 17Manaia Peeti (6)Geyser City5th
Girls Under 17Jaime Mitchinson (25)Devoy Squash22nd
Girls Under 17Emily Chamberlain (26)Devoy Squash23rd
Boys Under 15Matthew Ward (10)Te Puke9th
Boys Under 15Jack Oliver (21)Mount17th
Boys Under 15Kyle Steyn (23)Taupo21st
Girls Under 15Emma Merson (9)Mount9th
Boys Under 13Finnley Oliver (10)Mount6th
Girls Under 13Ella Hill (2)Devoy Squash3rd
Girls Under 13Genevieve Kennerley (8)Devoy Squash8th
Boys Under 11Zezima Waitai (1)Edgecumbe1st
Girls Under 11Maiya Hotham (1)Putaruru1st


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