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Trent College U16 girls made history as they joined the school’s U14s and U18s in qualifying for 2016-17 Investec National Schools Hockey Championships - the first time that all three Trent College girls' teams have qualified for the Finals in the same year.
In defeating Ripon Grammar School 3-1 in a play-off showdown match on Friday (3 February), the U16s also guaranteed Trent College would be the only school in the country to have all three teams at the respective age group girls’ hockey Nationals.
A hat-trick from captain Nina Apoola did the damage against Ripon and all three Trent College teams will now travel to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at Olympic Park for the Finals at the end of February and start of March.
The U16s’ hockey success came just days after the U14 girls also booked their place at the National netball finals courtesy of finishing runners up to Loughborough High at the East Midlands regional finals. The Nationals are at Stanborough School in Welwyn Garden City on Saturday 18 March.
Adam Benstead, Trent College Director of Sport said: “To have all three girls’ hockey teams qualify for the National finals is huge achievement and enormous credit must go to the players for their commitment and dedication to training and coaches, Mark Wadsley and Steve Wood, in helping girls’ hockey reach new heights at Trent College.
“Girls’ sport at the school is going from strength-to-strength, underlined by the U14s also making it through to the National netball finals and the U13s’ having already contested the National Schools Aegon Cup Team Tennis finals this term, after winning their Midlands regional title. We’re extremely proud of them all.”
Mr Wadsley, Trent College Head of Hockey, added: “The U16s’ play-off was a high octane end-to-end game played in great spirit between two similarly matched teams. The result was tough on Ripon, who played an exciting style of hockey and would have held their own at Nationals.
“As well as Nina’s hat-trick, we also relied on the goalkeeping skills of Sofie ter Kuile, who made a number of crucial saves when the game was delicately poised. We hope all three teams now enjoy the amazing experience playing at the 2012 Olympic stadium.”
Last month Trent College was revealed as the top ranked independent school for sport in the East Midlands, and 25th nationally, in the nation’s leading school sport publication, the School Sport Magazine.
The list reflected on a school’s competitive achievement in a range of sports throughout 2016 and honoured those that take sport especially seriously. Trent College was the only East Midlands school to feature in the top 30 and one of only two schools in the Midlands to be included, the other being Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire.
Over the past 12 months no fewer than 12 of Trent College’s sports teams have qualified for National finals. Meanwhile, in terms of individual highlights, Sixth Form hockey talent Josh Pavis was named the national 2016 Higgins Group Hockey Writers' Club Junior Boys (16 and Under) Player of the Year, having represented Great Britain U21s, captained England U16s and also played for England U18s.
Sarah Glenn was selected for the England U18 Hockey squad and England Women’s Cricket Pathway (Senior Ladies), Jamie Spencer-Pickup was chosen for the England Judo Academy and Poppy Field was part of Derbyshire’s 2016 British Dressage U25 Team Quest National Championships-winning team, despite being just 11.