Among the elite

Brock Wells pitching. 154007

A NUMBER of students at Saint Ignatius College are currently competing at the elite level of their varied sports.
Kal Rawson (11 Sanchez) Canoe Polo: Kal represented Victoria for the fourth time in the National Canoe Polo Championships and came away with a fourth straight gold medal. Kal also played in the under-21 team as well as the Open Men’s B team.
The under-21 team went through the tournament undefeated. The Open Men’s B team had some great wins and some very close games to place 6th out of a field of 10. Kal competed against men who are the best canoe polo players in the country.
Kal explains how he started to compete in canoe polo.
“The coach lives in Barwon Heads and invited young people in Barwon Heads to start four years ago and the Geelong team, comprising mostly Barwon Heads boys, has won the Nationals ever since.“
This Geelong team is competing nationally. During the season Kal trains four times a week after school and develops his skills. He enjoys the sport because it keeps him fit, in the outdoors, among a good group of people and there are many new friends to meet locally in Australia and overseas.
In 2020 he is hoping to go to the World Games and play in the under-21 or Open Men’s team. By 2024 it is hoped the sport will be in the Olympics and he hopes to go to compete in them.
Kal’s mother adds: “The Vic team comprised of 13 children from the Geelong Canoe Polo Club, plus the coach. 11 of these live in Barwon Heads as well as the coach, which is incredible. A fantastic achievement for the coach as he definitely has Geelong leading the way in youth and juniors. Victoria also won the overall aggregate for the entire competition by quite a big margin. This is also made possible by the partnership with Barwon Sports Academy as six of the athletes, including Kal, have scholarships with them”.
Marcus Neild St Ignatius alumni, Class of 2015, began to play earlier this year as well, and represented Victoria at the Nationals at Kardinia pool in the B team, which were successful in winning a silver medal.
Tahlia Rawson (9 Isore) is following in her brother’s footsteps and now also competes in canoe polo and recently represented Victoria in the juniors and under-18 Women’s team coming third overall in the former.
She explains: “I started after I attended carnivals my brother competed in and decided I would like to have a go, too. There is a girls team now from Geelong. I like it as there is always a good environment and it is something different. During on-season I train two days a week. Also I enjoy playing netball and basketball. I like canoe polo as I can develop skills, learn to read other players and see where they are going, it is exciting and could be dangerous but we wear protective masks to protect us well.”
Billy Harrison (10 Morse) Surfing: Billy competed in the Australian Titles in Stradbroke Island in December last year as part of the Victorian team. Placing third for under-16 which also entitled him a place for the under-16 in the Australian Team for the ISA World Juniors in Portugal in September this year.
He also competed in the Australasian Subway Pro Junior series in 2016, placing second in Philip Island, 13th in Middleton, South Australia, third in Wollongong, NSW, and 13th in Cronulla, NSW.
He has finished the ranked 8th Pro Junior series for Australasia.
Billy says: “I like surfing as it is so much fun. I am able to meet new friends from those I meet at the events. It is an exciting sport. I am preparing for Portugal by surfing a lot, training involving fitness training in the gym to develop strength. I will also spend some time at the Surfing Australia high performance training in preparation. I am one of the school tag team comprising seven students who will be competing in Phillip Island at the Victorian schools titles.”
The team comprises Tom Harrison, Ben Farmer, Arkie Williams, Body Williams, Zeph Lampard and Lucy Naylor and himself.
Billy has experienced and developed his skills further surfing overseas in both Indonesia and Hawaii.
Olivia Symonds (8 Castillo) Tennis: In April, Olivia, 14, competed in the National Grass Court Championship in Adelaide ranking her in the top 32 players for her age group in Australia. Olivia made it to round two of the championship only to be beaten by the semi-finalist. Olivia played in the under-18 Victorian team in Albury against the other states. She trains two nights per week with the National Academy at Melbourne Park and she is in the Barwon Sports Academy in Geelong where she practices three nights per week.
She says: “I like tennis because it is fun, l like the competition, developing skills and making friends. I would like to become a professional tennis player and will need to continue to develop my skills well to get on the tour. My father was a pro-golfer so our family is into sport. My strength is forehand and a priority at the moment is working on the second serve.”
Olivia’s local coach Ry Davies has coached her since she began her tennis journey at the age of nine.
“Ry is an exceptional coach and is a great mentor to me, always supporting me on and off the court including gaining a sponsorship with Babolat Australia my racquet of choice,” she said.
Brock Wells (10 Kostka) Baseball: Brock was recently selected to play in the Australian Baseball Development squad. He will spend a good few weeks at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast training for possible drafting into the Major League Baseball in the USA. All the current manager and recruitment staff of MLB teams will be there. Brock developed an interest in baseball as his father’s friend played the game and he wanted to try something new. “Everyone is always involved in each game was makes it so enjoyable. I was selected for the Australian Baseball Development Squad after I played in the Nationals in Sydney this year. Last year I was picked for another academy in Melbourne – the Melbourne Aces Academy and from there the coach of Baseball Victoria selected me to join the Australian squad,“ he said.
Brock’s regular training program involves batting practice, individual fielding, defence and running. Brock is hoping to be selected for the under-18 Australian team to play in Japan later this year, and next year his dream is to be selected by an American College. His favourite position is pitching.
– Information provided by Director Of Sport Andrew Philp and interviews by Head of Development Claire Hewitt.

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