Christmas came early this year for local teen Kurtis Shuker.
Earlier last month, Kurtis received notice that he’d been named a finalist in the 27th Annual Young Sportsperson of the Year Awards, run by College Sport Auckland. Judith Coe, Sports Coordinator at Waiuku College, had nominated Kurtis for his achievements in orienteering, which included thrashing the Australian field at the 2017 Australian Schools’ Orienteering Championships.
Along with other finalists, Kurtis was invited to attend a spiffy awards ceremony held at Eden Park. It was the first time he’d been involved in the awards and he knew he was up against other elite athletes for the top honour. However, when the announcement was made for winner of the boys’ orienteering category, it was Kurtis’s name that was read out. He was understandably blown away. “It was a really special night!” noted Kurtis.
Through November, Kurtis took a break from his extensive training schedule in order to place full focus on his college exams. He’s hoping he’s done well. This month he’ll begin ramping up his training once more. “I’m off to Palmerston North soon for a week long training camp,” explains Kurtis.
There’s a big hairy goal awaiting Kurtis in 2018. He’s got his eye on selection for the Junior World Orienteering Champs to be held in Hungary. “It’s a big goal and I may not make it, but I want to try and then see what happens.”
There’ll be time for a bit of Christmas cheer though first for this young man, and on his wish list is a nice piece of ham. Dig in Kurtis, you’ll need all the energy you can get for an exciting year ahead!