by ESME O’RAFFERTY

Catholic students swept up medals at the Anchor AIMS Games in Tauranga this year, especially in girls’ sports.

There were a record 368 schools involved in the AIMS Games this year, with around 35 of them being Catholic schools.

11,500 students came from throughout New Zealand and the wider Pacific region to take part in the annual intermediate schools sports event.

Jaydah-Lily Lees said the thing she enjoyed most about the AIMS Games was the opportunity to represent her school, St Joseph’s Catholic School.

The Whakatane student won the gold for the year 8 girls’ BMX time trial,
with a winning time of 38.93 seconds. She broke the previous record by two seconds.

The 13-year-old said she felt “really surprised” when she found out she’d
won.

“It was exciting. I was a little bit nervous though,” she said. “I was a little bit shocked because I didn’t think I’d beat the record this
year.”

Jaydah-Lily also beat the record at the 2017 AIMS Games, in the year 7 girls’ BMX time trial.

Jaydah-Lily’s father, Hayden Moore, said that the atmosphere at the games
had been “electric”.

“They ran it well. It was different,” he said.

He said that Jaydah-Lily was keen to continue in the sport, in which both Mr Moore and his sister had competed in their youth.

Aquinas College sports coordinator Caitlin Tarr said it was exciting to see so many students coming to Tauranga to take part in the tournament.

She said Aquinas had entered teams in 20 diferent sports this year, including the new event of mountain biking, where Eliana Hulsebosch won silver in the year 7 girls’ competition.

“Compared to a lot of schools, given our smaller numbers of students at the
school, we’re performing exceptionally well . . . the kids have been fantastic and, in everything they’ve done, they’ve been exemplifying our touchstones,” Ms Tarr said.

She said that most of their teams this year had been mixed gender or boys’ teams, which was something they hoped to build on next year by entering
Jaydah-Lily Lees more girls’ teams.

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