New Strategic Plan for Sport

At the end of 2021, Hillcrest High, initiated by the BOT carried out a review of sport and began to create a new strategic direction for sport here at Hillcrest. With the appointment of former New Zealand cricketer Grant Bradburn as Director of Sport at the beginning of 2022 we have began to put this into action.

Hillcrest High School has a proud sporting and academic history. The school is renowned for producing well balanced young people and offers a large variety of sports for students to choose from. We believe engaging in sport helps our students foster interpersonal skills, intelligence, emotional confidence and social skills, striving towards creativity and development of key attributes of grit, determination and perseverance.

Hillcrest High School is striving to raise our game in recognising and supporting key sports that we will be renowned for. While all sporting codes are important to us, Hillcrest will aim to lift performance and participation in 5 key tier one sports by initially prioritising Pathways and Specialist Coaching in those sports. The 5 Tier one sports are:

  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Futsal
  • Netball
  • Volleyball

A foundation for ‘Raising our Game’ in specific areas will be built upon a greater priority of Health & Wellbeing. Current progress has seen the appointment of an Strength & Conditioning coach at school, while our aim to provide programs of Healthy Minds + Healthy Bodies will promote more awareness of Physical Movement, being Fit, Energised, Resilient, Happy and Connected. Our outcome goals are to produce well rounded students who are equipped with the skills to success in the life they choose.

An initial focus is on increasing participation.

Participation numbers in organised sport at Hillcrest is a really important measure of success for us. While the school sporting census numbers show a ‘COVID decrease’ across all schools since 2000, Hillcrest currently sits slightly below the National (48%) and Regional (51%) average at 46% of students involved in sporting codes. Our aim over the next 3 years is to consistently sit at least 10% above National and at least 5% above Regional average, which for Hillcrest we will focus on a target of 60%.

To bridge that current gap, we expect Participation Numbers to grow via multiple strategies. 

Health + Wellbeing Program for all year 9’s and 10’s

We recognise that our typical student intake at Hillcrest is lacking in base physical capabilities of movement, spatial awareness and hand/eye coordination. The Health + Wellbeing future focus will involve all year 9 and 10 students and will offer beneficial categories of holistic development including Food as Fuel, Hydration, Sleep, Energy, Resilience, Grit, Connections on top of physical capacities. We are determined that Hillcrest programs will tackle directly the alarming New Zealand figures of obesity and youth suicide and ensure that Hillcrest High School is forward thinking in providing a foundation program of awareness and action.

In turn we firmly believe our Health + Wellbeing program will create a more positive outlook for students becoming involved in organised sports at school, which will grow participation numbers.

House Sports

To create greater House Pride at Hillcrest and to mitigate COVID related sports cancellations, our House leaders have already begun putting more emphasis on House Sports Competitions which is playing a pivotal role in showcasing sport in a positive light and in turn will grow organised sports participation.

Quality Sports Structures

Hillcrest will continue to offer a wide range of sports to our student population. A greater focus on enrolments and making that a far easier process is already underway. It is imperative we make organised sport attractive and accessible to students and parents and we are confident our new Sports Code and enrolment systems will help grow participation numbers.

5 Tier One Sports  

Our ‘Raising Our Game’ vision outlines the 5 sports that we believe can be flagships for Hillcrest High School and become sports that are a compelling reason for students to choose Hillcrest. Through an initial focus of Director of Coaching, Director of Code, and Head of Coaching roles, we aim to surround these 5 sports with quality people and coaching expertise to grow both Performance and Participation.

Athlete Development Program Launched

Thanks to the support of Grassroots Trust and New World Hillcrest we are delighted to appoint Devin Stephenson to lead our new Youth Athlete Development Program.

What is it?
The Youth Athlete Development Program is a program designed and led by a specialist Strength & Conditioning coach to enhance the athletic capabilities of developing athletes in a safe, structured, and well-monitored environment. Elements this program includes are:

● Recovery sessions – Promoting best-known practices for recovering from sports.
● Group conditioning sessions (Preseason only)
● Aerobic & Anaerobic conditioning
● Injury prevention & Rehabilitation
● Resistance & Plyometric training
● Mobility & Flexibility
● Balance & Stability
● Physical testing

Why is it Important?
By engaging in the Youth Athlete Development Program our athletes will increase their ability to be highly competitive within their sport. This program takes into consideration training load management as well as injuries that are common within the chosen sport of the athlete and strategies that are used to reduce the likelihood of these injuries occurring. Furthermore, the differences between male and female athletes are taken into consideration when designing training programs, anatomically, psychologically & physiologically these athletes are not identical and thus have different needs & requirements. Research shows us that when athletes engage in a well-designed training program the likelihood of injuries is decreased by up to 50%.

Who can Benefit?
Hillcrest High School Athletes who play for either a Senior Premier team or a Junior Premier team within the Tier 1 sports system (Football, Futsal, Netball, Volleyball, Cricket – 2022 only). Hillcrest High School Athletes who are making representative teams or are doing exceptionally well within their chosen sport, these athletes can apply to be a part of the program and will be allowed in on a case-by-case basis.

To enquire contact:
Mr. Devin Stephenson
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach

Archery Success – Alex Collett

Congratulations to Yr 12 student Alex Collett who achieved two silver medals in the New Zealand Archery Championships over the weekend. Alex achieved these in the U18 Championship and U18 Match Play.

Well done also to Assistant Principal Mrs. Collett who placed second in her category. A very successful weekend for the Collett family at the National Champs.

Hillcrest High Wins WSS Squash Champs

It’s been an epic week for our squash players!
A massive congratulations to Liam Smith who became Squash Waikato Secondary Schools Champion!
This was followed later in the week when Liam was joined by brother Nathan and teammate Stirling Uivel to claim bronze in the team’s event!
Well done to all of our squash players!

Cross Country – NZSS U18 Cross Country Champs

Louie Endres continues to impress in National + North Island cross-country events. We are all proud of Louie who has also been selected into the NZ Secondary Schools Team to compete at the Australian Cross Country champs at the end of August! Go, Louie!

Rosehill Exchange

Our students have waited two years to finally experience a Sports Exchange and what a brilliant day it was to host Rosehill on the 2nd of August. We value highly the opportunity for our students to be fully involved in the day by playing host and showcasing our awesome school and talents within. For our players, this was a valuable chance to match their skills with new opposition, to play to win the trophy (which Rosehill held since 2020), and to create new friendships through sport.

We are super proud to win back the Trophy this year and to have experienced an incredible day of fun, sporting battles, and packed crowds in our gym cheering on the action. The Boy’s Basketball team must take credit for winning the final match of the day to clinch the trophy, though there were many excellent performances from our teams to set up that opportunity for the Basketball victory. Our Girls Netball team held their nerve in front of a packed house to come back from a 4-goal deficit to win by two. The Girl’s Badminton team was in dominant form against Rosehill, while the Boy’s Football and Boy’s Hockey played superbly v Rosehill to clinch their victories. A brilliant day and we look forward to visiting Rosehill next year.

Winter Sports Update


Our Football programs throughout Girls and Boys programs, continue to grow in strength and quality this year. Our partnership with Unicol Football Club has been hugely beneficial for Hillcrest High Football and in turn, provides a logical pathway for our players into Club Football. We are fortunate to have quality coaching throughout our Hillcrest Teams this season and the results are showing.

On the pitch, our Junior Girls and Boys teams are having outstanding seasons, with both in contention for Cup and League. Our Senior Girls team is in the bottom four though this is a team of experience and youth who are developing nicely towards Tournament Week in Taupo at the end of this month. The Boys 1st XI are flying high this season having earned a Top four place in the league and the chance to continue developing against the best schools in the Waikato. The Boys head away to their tournament in Auckland at the end of the month, in great form.


Our Cozy Sponsored Senior Netball team are benefiting from the weekly challenge of playing against Senior Club Teams on Saturday, while the Secondary School Monday league is now underway giving our girls the opportunity to match themselves against their peers before UNISS Tournament in Auckland at the end of the month.

Netball continues to be a strong Teir One Sports at Hillcrest with some outstanding staff heading up the Head of Coaching and Skills coaching roles. Hillcrest High values and acknowledges the many student coaches who offer their services coaching Netball teams. This provides a wonderful opportunity for our young students to take leadership roles and navigate the challenges and rewards of being a coach.


We are very proud of our Lacrosse Girls who are having a season of rebuilding with lots of keen younger players, benefiting from the experienced senior girls. Despite results not going their way during the season, the Senior Girls clinched an exciting Win v Morrinsville to give them a well-earned boost of confidence. Credit to our coaches for creating a fun environment, while focusing on developing skills and continual team improvement.

Lacrosse has traditionally provided some amazing career opportunities for our Senior leavers with Anja Kuys a great example of the incredible opportunities within the sport. Anja recently represented NZ at the World Champs in Towson, Maryland, while she also attends the University of Montevallo in Alabama all through Lacrosse opportunities. Our very own Bridget Hill recently represented NZ u18 in the Australian Championships in Adelaide, another example of the many real and cool opportunities within Lacrosse. We look forward to continued growth and support for our Lacrosse programs at Hillcrest High.


The Rugby season has now concluded for our two Boys rugby teams. Our Seniors and U15 teams have had a challenging season and have faced some tough learning curves. A huge thanks to our Coaches, Managers and TIC Tai Te Rito who contribute so much time and passion in our Rugby program at Hillcrest. Well done to all our players for their commitment throughout the season and all the best to our year 13 senior players who will now be looking to progress their rugby within club team’s next season. Our traditional NZ game has it’s challenges at Secondary School level and at Hillcrest we continue to be guided by Waikato and NZRU principles to maintain and grow Rugby as a sport of opportunity for Girls and Boys at Secondary School.


TIC of Basketball Gordon Sim has overseen great progress with Basketball at Hillcrest over the winter. With Head of Coaching Hemi Marshall leading the skill development across all of our teams at Hillcrest, Basketball is growing so fast and as a sport is demanding the respect of a Teir One code in the near future at Hillcrest High. While Head Coaching the senior Boys + Senior Girls, Hemi has gone over and above his role in this his first year of coaching at Hillcrest High School. Like many of our Sport we rely heavily on our Student, Parent and Community support for coaches and managers. We have some exceptional people doing some great work in Basketball and we acknowledge + appreciate you all.

Our senior Boys are entered into the Regional Tournament week in Rotorua at the end of this month, which will be no doubt a wonderful opportunity for them to continue their exceptional progress this season.


Our Boys 1st XI were the unsung heroes of our Exchange in helping us regain the Trophy from Rosehill. In the penultimate fixture of the day, news arrived at the JL Gym that the boys had won their hockey match 5/0, which provided the platform and opportunity for our Basketball Boys to win their game and the Trophy.

Our Girls Hockey team has a great mix of youth and experience and are improving with each game this season. Though they lost in the Rosehill exchange, they took a lot away from the game and it was a valuable experience in building confidence and teamwork.

NZ Secondary School Swimming Champs

Hillcrest High School had 6 students competing at the NZSS Swimming Championships held at Waterworld from July 28-31. The students represented Hillcrest well, with a few top 10 finishes. We are very proud of all their hard work! Competitors were Trinaka Kenny (Year 13), Kaz Lohrer (Year 12), Isla McNulty (Year 11), Ashley Calcott, Carys Lawton, and Amy Pinkerton (all Year 9)
The top 10 finishes were:
– Isla competing in the 15 yo girls age group: 9th in 400 free, and 10th in 200 free.
– Ashley competing in the 13 yo girls age group: 8th in 100 back, 9th in 50 back, and 10th in 200 free and 200 IM.
Kaz and Isla competing in the open age group: 7th in the mixed 2 x 50m freestyle

Bridget Hill selected for NZU18 Lacrosse Team

Wishing our very own Bridget Hill and the NZ Lacrosse u18 Girls Development Team, all the best for their upcoming tournament in Adelaide in early July. It was awesome to have the squad training at Hillcrest as part of their final preparations.

All the best Bridget!