Josiah Pahulu, Thomas Luhrman and Kulikefu Finefeuiaki are among the talented Ipswich State High School students excelling in sport. Picture: Rob Williams
Josiah Pahulu, Thomas Luhrman and Kulikefu Finefeuiaki are among the talented Ipswich State High School students excelling in sport. Picture: Rob Williams

Ipswich State High's best school sport stars revealed

IT'S not only having one of the city's leading excellence programs that has Ipswich State High School sports coordinator Nikea Weier excited about the weeks ahead.

It's the school's diversity of activity and caring approach that Weier oversees as term 3 sport is about to start.

With more than 2000 students and 15 plus dedicated coaches at Ipswich State High, Weier said excitement was building after such a long school sport shutdown due to COVID-19.

"The main focus, especially this term, is to just get back into sport,'' she said.

"The kids missed it so much last term. Just trying to figure out what that new normal is and how we go about playing sport.''

That's why Weier appreciates the valuable support staff she has with all the new rules and venue requirements.

"One of the great things about the coaches that we have at our school is they care about the students on and off the field,'' she said.

"If the kids have any issues, they (the coaches) are willing to help and help them improve in their sport to the best of their ability.

"That's one of the main reasons we do so well at our sport.

"We have teachers that are passionate about the sport but they are also passionate about the kids and looking after them, making sure they are okay.''

Some fantastic examples of this are highlighted by the "shining sport stars'' featured in the following series.

That includes players in the school's highly regarded rugby league excellence program, which has already secured some teenagers NRL contracts and call-ups to Broncos and Titans development squads.

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LEADING HOPES: Ipswich State High's players ready to step up

Ipswich State High's talent-rich senior side is preparing for the Langer Cup competition starting later this month.

Other term 3 sports for Ipswich State High students include boys and girls soccer, open basketball, netball for all grades and junior and senior volleyball.

"It's great to see that we've got so many kids in different avenues,'' the sport coordinator said.

After the success of Ipswich State High's rugby league excellence program, she hopes other sports can follow a similar development model in the future.

"The program has definitely come a long way,'' said Weier, in her fifth year at the school.

"It's a pretty high standard for all our other sport programs to follow.

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"We're not just rugby league. There are other kids out there that do specialise in other sports so it's great that we can actually share their successes and their representation in what they do. It's awesome.''

Read on to see how these Ipswich State High School students appreciate their school support as they thrive in their respective sports.

Kaitlyn Jensen
Kaitlyn Jensen

Kaitlyn Jensen. Age: 13. Grade: 8.

Sports: Netball and AFL.

Major sporting achievements from past 12 months: 2019 Met West under 15 girls AFL; 2019 State Age Championship club netball; 2020 Met West under 15 girls AFL - selected.

Why enjoy your sport: I am very competitive and enjoy the energy boost I get when playing. Doing well at sports makes me feel proud, energised and free.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: The teachers encourage me to do better. They push me to the limit all the time. Miss Weier and Miss Ingram are always very supportive.

Future sporting goals: I would like to continue playing netball and AFL, representing my school and club to the best of my ability. One day in the future, I would love to be a Queensland Firebird or one of the Women's Brisbane Lions AFL teams members inspiring other younger girls.

 

 

Tahlia Marshall
Tahlia Marshall

Tahlia Marshall. Age: 16. Grade: 11.

Sports: Touch football, rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: 2019 Met West Under 15 girls touch football; 2019 Met West Under 15 years girls rugby league.

Why enjoy your sport: Meeting new friends and being able to go on trips away in Australia.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: The teaching staff really support me and encourage me to do my best.

Future sporting goals: Play in the NRL touch championship.

 

 

Amelia Griffin
Amelia Griffin

Amelia Griffin. Age: 14. Grade: 9.

Sport: Softball.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Under 18 Qld Japan tour team; Met West Under 19 girls softball; Under 15 New Zealand softball squad (in New Zealand); travelled to New Zealand for Under 15 Nationals; Under 16 Queensland squad; Under 16 and 18 Ipswich teams.

Why enjoy your sport: Softball is a great way to keep active, to meet new people all around the world and it is a good team sport.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: ISHS does not have a softball team but I have had the opportunity to represent - playing for Met West. This opportunity has given me the chance to improve my skills and learn more about the game.

Future sporting goals: To play for New Zealand in the 2022 Under 18 Softball World Cup.

 

 

Cooper Cracknell
Cooper Cracknell

Cooper Cracknell. Age: 13. Grade: 8.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Met West Under 12 rugby league; Queensland under 12 rugby league; 13 years Brothers Leagues Club premiers; Junior Sports Star of the Year - Brothers; Bronco Elite Development Program; Ipswich State High School - Team of the Year.

Why enjoy your sport: Friendships, challenges, keeping fit, the love of rugby league and achieving my goals.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: The coaches like Mr Poole are always pushing me to be the best I can be. They help me with keeping up with my fitness. They also keep me grounded. They are always there to support me achieving my goals.

Future sporting goals: To further my rugby league. To make Met West under 15 and I am also hoping to make Australian Schoolboys team. To continue with the Broncos Development Squad and hopefully be offered an NRL contract one day.

 

 

Thomas Luhrman
Thomas Luhrman

Thomas Luhrman. Age: 16. Grade: 11.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Selected for Met West under 15 team. At the State Championship, I twisted my rib and only got to play one game. A couple of months later, I received a call to join the Queensland White under 15s team. Received MVP for the Queensland White team. Then not long after I signed a contract with the Sydney Roosters.

Why enjoy your sport: I love playing rugby league because it is my passion and I love the game as it helps me get through life and tough times.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: The Ipswich SHS staff have supported me not just on the field and off the field - they are always pushing me to be a better person. They want me to be a great person not just a great footy player.

Future sporting goals: To win the 2020 Broncos Schools Cup for Ipswich SHS. To re-sign my contract with Sydney Roosters and to play in the NRL. I also would like to finish my carpentry apprenticeship.

 

 

Shannon Subritzky
Shannon Subritzky

Shannon Subritzky. Age: 15. Grade: 10.

Sports: Rugby league, touch football.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Met West Under 15 rugby league; QAS Under 15s rugby league; Gold Coast Titans Under 16 Academy squad; Queensland Maori touch team.

Why enjoy your sport:I just love what I am doing with rugby.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: It is great. They have given me opportunities and taught me a lot with ball skills.

Future sporting goals: To better myself throughout the years through selections. To also excel when I finish school and hopefully make something out of rugby league for my career.

 

 

Mason Pintegne
Mason Pintegne

Mason Pintegne. Age: 17. Grade: 12.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: SEQ Under 16 rugby league; Mal Meninga - Ipswich Jets; Langer Reserve winners and MVP; Met West Under 18s rugby league selection 2020.

Why enjoy your sport: Playing with mates and competing.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: Ipswich SHS has taught me the importance of working hard.

Future sporting goals: To make rugby league a career/play NRL.

 

Shalom Sauaso
Shalom Sauaso

Shalom Sauaso. Age: 13. Grade: 8.

Sports: Rugby league, AFL.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Met West Under 12 girls rugby league; 2019 ISHS Junior MVP Girls rugby league.

Why enjoy your sport: The friends I make when I play.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: Ms White, Ali Brigginshaw and Mr Carr help me with different techniques and skills in football.

Future sporting goals: Make it to Women's NRL.

 

Oliva Smith
Oliva Smith

Oliva Smith. Age: 14. Grade: 9.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Met West Under 15 rugby league selection 2020; Titans development squad; Broncos Development Squad.

Why enjoy your sport: I enjoy playing sport because I like running around and getting active. I love rugby league because I like the contact and the feeling when you do bit hits or bump people off.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: They have challenged me and given me opportunities to excel in my career. Every field and gym session is a challenge because I am always trying to make improvements.

Future sporting goals: Playing NRL for the Manly Sea Eagles and be on live TV.

 

 

Lishainah Ulugia
Lishainah Ulugia

Lishainah Ulugia. Age: 13. Grade: 8.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Rugby league, participated and had the privilege of captaining the Met West Under 12 girls team.

Why enjoy your sport: I enjoy playing rugby league because it is the talent that God gave me and I was born to do this. I also enjoy showing people what I am capable of doing and love playing with new people and making memories.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: My grade 7 coach Ms Ono helped with my ups and downs and has encouraged me to chase my dreams and do things to the best of my ability. To be honest, without her I would not have come this far without her and Ipswich State High School.

Future sporting goals: To make it to the Women's NRL, to make a change in the world of sport for women all over. To create equality and fairness in the NRL - not just for boys to play but for girls to be more supported in the Women's NRL.

 

Josiah Pahulu
Josiah Pahulu

Josiah Pahulu. Age: 16. Grade: 11.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Met West Under 15 boys rugby league; Queensland 15 years rugby league; Ipswich Diggers; Gold Coast Titans Under 16 Academy.

Why enjoy your sport: Rugby league is a challenging and exciting sport. Playing sport helps to keep me grounded.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: ISHS has played a major part in my development in league from training me and helping me progress in my position. Mr Dore, Mr Bretherton, Mr Harris and Mr Poole always encourage me to do my best on and off the field. I am grateful for them.

Future sporting goals: To one day make it to the NRL and also represent Queensland in the State of Origin.

 

 

Ogden George
Ogden George

Ogden George. Age: 14. Grade: 9.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: MVP ISHS Sports Awards - second year in a row; represented Samoa in the 2019 QPICC tournament; Met West Under 15 boys rugby league selection 2020.

Why enjoy your sport: It is a good way to have fun with my mates. It also helps not only my skills but my overall wellbeing and nutrition. It is also a good way to stay away from mischief and poor decisions.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: They have expanded my knowledge, skills of the game and encouraged me to be the best version of myself. I could not have achieved the things I have if it was not for their guidance and hard work that goes into the football program.

Future sporting goals: To sign a junior contract with a NRL team, make more representative teams and grow as a person and player.

 

Kulikefu Finefeuiaka
Kulikefu Finefeuiaka

Kulikefu Finefeuiaki. Age: 16. Grade: 11.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: SEQ rugby league; Broncos Academy squad.

Why you enjoy playing sport: To make new friends, to work hard, work on my mistakes and to enjoy every moment.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: Lift heavy, made me fitter and make me feel like family.

Future sporting goals: Make first grade at Ipswich SHS, to be offered a rugby league contract and to keep working hard.

 

 

Evander Tere-Rongotaua. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Evander Tere-Rongotaua. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Evander Tere-Rongotaua. Age: 17. Grade: 12.

Sport: Rugby league.

Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Sydney Roosters contract; Met East Under 18 rugby league; Mal Meninga - Wynnum Manly Seagulls; Met West Under 18 rugby league selection 2020.

Why enjoy your sport: Just grew up playing it and I love the atmosphere and the competition.

How Ipswich SHS has assisted in your development: They have helped me realise I need to work even harder and that off field things like school should be worked on as much as I work on rugby league.

Future sporting goals: NRL superstar, play for NZ, Future Dally M recipient.