International Netball Federation President Molly Rhone says that preparations are going slowly for the World Youth Cup in Botswana next year, but she is confident that the tournament will go ahead smoothly.Rhone, who is currently back home in Jamaica, said that she visited the country and toured the venues at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, the capital. She found that the facilities at the institutions had undergone changes that her federation had not expected.”The university had a new complex built,” she said.”When I had gone there first and spoke with the university officials, they were going to have a building with two courts. But when we visited, we saw that one end of the gymnasium was now set up for boxing, so it can now hold only one court.”This means they have to now go and make do with a second championship court. You now have to go and retrofit a whole convention centre. So that has added a bit of expense for them but I think the teams are really looking forward to the competition next year.”Botswana will become the first African nation to host an international netball tournament when the competition runs from July 8 to 16 next year. Rhone said that as a result, everyone is looking forward to it.Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President Tebogo Lebotse Sebego said recently that the Cook Islands, who hosted the event in 2009, had given her inspiration that they too can put on a successful tournament.”When we put in the bid, we knew that we were punching above our weight. But as a small nation with great ambitions, punching above our weight is our inspiration,” she said.Jamaica’s Under-21 Sunshine Girls have been drawn in Pool C with the hosts, the Cook Islands, Malaysia and Uganda.
But Cal Poly Pomona freshman basketball player Randi Hicks is actively participating in that exact combination of sports, though she’s a relative newcomer to the sport of boxing. Hicks, recruited to Cal Poly as a forward, averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds as a senior last season at Oxnard Rio Mesa High School. When you talk about multi-sport athletes there are many different sport combinations that come to mind. Boxing, basketball and track and field are not usually one of those, especially among women. She was also a pretty fair shot-putter for the school’s track team, making it to CIF-Southern Section prelims last year. When the basketball season is done, she plans on competing for Cal Poly’s track team and hopes to get a chance in the javelin and hammer throw. Although she loved other sports, Hicks’ love for boxing was constantly in the background. Her father, Kevin Hicks, who played football at the University of Oregon and was in camp as a punter with the Dallas Cowboys in 1984, used boxing training with his daughter, including hitting the heavy bag. This training helped cultivate her love for the sport. “My grandparents (whom she grew up with) wouldn’t let me box until I was 18,” said Hicks. When she reached that age last summer she put her training to use. “I was just hoping she would learn to protect herself,” Kevin Hicks said. She’s done more than protect herself, winning all five of her bouts last summer in her 157-pound weight class while training out of the Oxnard Police Athletic League. “I trained for two weeks, and I (first) fought a woman who was 26 years old and had a lot more experience,” she said. Not only did Hicks win, but she found out she liked the hitting and didn’t mind being hit. “I have a lot of aggression, and this gives me a chance to deal with it,” Hicks said. She quickly gained the respect of Rocky Garza, the boxing coordinator for the city of Oxnard and a boxing trainer out of the Oxnard PAL. “When I first saw her, I thought, `this girl looks like a worker. She’s totally fit.’ … I thought she was going to ask about other activities,” Garza said. Garza found out she was interested in boxing and even had a knack for it. “She’s got a real passion for the sport,” he said. “I could tell she loves the contact.” Garza discovered he could push her in training like few others. She was already a student of the sweet science, and in two or three days, Garza was teaching Hicks things that most boxers wait a year to learn. “I’ve been around women’s boxing about the last 10 years or so,” Garza said. “She could be one of the best we’ve ever had in amateur boxing.” For now, boxing will have to take a backseat. Hicks did some two-a-day workouts with Garza when she was home around Christmas but her boxing will be largely limited to summers when she will continue to pursue amateur titles. That kind of work ethic is evident in her basketball, too. Hicks has played in only 14 of the Broncos’ first 25 basketball games this season, though she may miss the final two games of the season this week for a medical ailment that requires antibiotics. She’s averaging only 1.7 points and 1.4 rebounds but has made an impression on interim coach Michelle Fortier. “She’s the hardest worker,” Fortier said. “She’s improved a great deal and eventually there will be a payoff.” The boxing intrigues Hicks’ teammates and coaches. “I’d really like to see her box,” Fortier said. “She likes to lift weights a lot. Maybe with the two sports, her footwork will improve, since she has to jump rope (in boxing).” Fortier said she has more frequently seen soccer used to help basketball footwork, but doesn’t see why boxing can’t be helpful. But Hicks isn’t boxing just to help her basketball career; she loves it too. She is studying sociology and criminology at Cal Poly and wants to pursue a career in law enforcement. She’s already talking about going pro in boxing while working in law enforcement. “I like being strong,” she said. “I like things that require a lot of strength and I’m also interested in being a body builder.” Kevin Hicks isn’t overly worried about his daughter potentially going into an athletic career in a very physical sport. “I think I’d be scared more if she wasn’t in such good shape,” he said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!