Driving elite performance

SPRINGBOARD: Emerging cricket star and ex-HSHS student Jason Sangha  with Deputy Principal Mark Curry and Director of Sport James Pascoe.

SPRINGBOARD: Emerging cricket star and ex-HSHS student Jason Sangha with Deputy Principal Mark Curry and Director of Sport James Pascoe.

The Hunter Sports High School Talented Sports Program is designed to provide students who excel in particular sports with elite coaching and an academic framework that enables them to reach both their academic and sporting potential.

The program aggregates talented young sportsmen and women from all parts of NSW and interstate and has a holistic long-term athlete development focus.

The 13 Talented Sports Programs offered are delivered several mornings per week during the school day for the 40 weeks of the school year.

Student athletes gaining positions in the programs are led through the technical, tactical, physical and mental requirements needed to reach the elite levels of their chosen sport and supported on-site every day with physiotherapy services.

The role call of ex-students is impressive by any standard, and includes:

  • Greg Inglis (Rugby League - Australia)
  • Josh Jackson (Rugby League - Australia)
  • Sione Mata'Utia (Rugby League - Australia)
  • Erin Cleaver (Athletics - Australia)
  • Mariah Williams (Hockey - Australia)
  • Alexander & Lachlan Wells (Baseball - Australia)
  • Jason Sangha (Cricket - Australia)
  • Nigel Boogaard (Football - Australia)
  • Jacob Pepper (Football - Australia)
  • Gema Simon (Football - Australia)
  • Hannah Brewer (Football - Australia)
  • Matthew Kenyon (Basketball - Australia)
  • Hannah Southwell - (Rugby League - Australia) * has also played Rugby 7's and Football for Australia.
  • Kade Snowden - (Rugby League - Australia)
  • Michael Ennis - (Rugby League - NSW State of Origin)
  • Taylor Regan - (Football - Newcastle Jets & Adelaide)

The program is overseen by Director of Sport James Pascoe who at various stages of his 12 years at HSHS has also run the TSP Football Program and juggled roles as Head Coach of the Jets Youth Team, Assistant Coach of the Jets A-League Team and Football Operations Manager at the Jets.

“These experiences have given me understanding and experience in the domain of professional sport that I draw on to lead the staff and students at HSHS,” Mr Pascoe said. 

Looking to the future, Mr Pascoe said the goal is to establish Hunter Sports High as a Centre of Excellence for the development of high performance athletes, coaches, sports scientists and officials for the Australian sporting industry.

“To achieve this we will continue to strengthen our formalised partnerships with Hockey NSW, Surfing NSW, Softball NSW, Swimming NSW, Touch NSW, Cricket NSW, Basketball NSW, NSW Rugby Union and NSW/ACT AFL,” he said.

“We will also seek to formalise the current informal partnerships we have with the region’s two professional sporting clubs in the Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets. All of these partnerships allow our students and staff to be exposed to current best practice as well as the opportunity to participate in the athlete development days run by the these organisations that allow students to be identified.”

Hunter Sports High  is also committed to developing its partnerships with the University of Newcastle and University of Sydney Sports Science faculties in a world first research project begun in 2018 to develop a database of information on adolescent-aged elite athletes.

“This information will allow Hunter Sports High to individualise student athlete talent development at levels not previously possible,” Mr Pascoe said.

“This information will also drive our expanding Strength and Conditioning and Sports Science programs. The school now boasts a  200m2  state-of-the-art athlete development gymnasium incorporating world’s best practice systems and equipment.”

Hunter Sports High remains committed to sharing knowledge into the future.

“We will regularly host information nights for parents, local athletes and coaches as well as local clubs and associations on the topics of sports nutrition, strength and conditioning, training loads, recovery and injury prevention as well as sport specific coaching clinics all aimed at those working with adolescent athletes,” Mr Pascoe said.