THE region's junior hockey players have been training again in preparation for this weekend's zone championships.
The Naracoorte and district association has strong representation across the board in both girls and boys teams.
The U18 boys team is coached this year by Derek James and his hopes are that they can do one better than the group did last year. They have been a particularly talented group and finished second as U/15s so perhaps they can do even better this year.
They will play at the Pines, sharing the two pitches with the U18 girls.
Lachie Busiko (Reds), Olly Chaston (WWB) and Oscar Rainsford (WWB) are representing the boys while Annie Charlton (Darts), Branca Clutterbuck (WWB), Sam Thomson (Darts) and Sarah Mutch (WWB) will play for the girls.
Greg Cooper from Mount Gambier will be filling the coaching role for the girls.
The U15 girls are a great bunch of girls who are mostly still a year young. They have all played together for a few years and are determined to prove that they can cut it with the best of the city teams this year.
They are coached by Stuart Shand with great support from Darren Turner. Their games will be held at Golden Grove. Hattie Shand, Phoebe Clutterbuck and Laura Munn (all from WWB) will carry the flag for the association.
The U/15 boys team is coached by Paul Clark of Mount Gambier. They are a determined bunch and the NHDA has representation in this team with Lachy Garrigan (Darts) and Tom Cobiac (K/LR).
After selection trials for the U13 teams the following players were chosen to play in the tournament to be held at Grange in Adelaide: Dylan Montgomery (Reds), Henry Hawkins (WWB), Jeffrey Stewart (Reds), Jacob Edwards (Reds), Jack Thomson (Darts) and Jordy Baxter (WWB). The boys will be coached by a very excited Cory Baxter.
The girls team will be coached by Linda Anderson and consists of Jess Thomson (Darts), Chelsea Meulders (Reds), Georgia Baxter (WWB), Sophia Shand (WWB), Lucy Sharman (Darts) and Maddy Mutch (WWB). Both U13 teams are similar to last year, however a year stronger and more talented so watch this space!
Two weeks after the zone, the SAPSASA teams will compete at Grange. The teams have been selected and both boys and girls are very keen to train together and prepare for their moment in the sun.
Linda Anderson is coaching the girls for the second year and Clarry Martin is filling the role for the boys. The 15s and 18s have been training hard in Edenhope and Mount Gambier. The U13s and SAPSASA teams often overlap and have been training hard at Willalooka and Mundulla.
With only one weekend left, final preparations are being made to ensure all the children have a great time testing themselves against the best the city and regions can muster.
- Other players in the Naracoorte association have joined with HockeyVic to further their talents. Xarn O'Bryan who is playing for K/L Rangers this year (formerly a Brolga player) and the Rams division one goalie in the Mount Gambier association has also been training and playing in Warrnambool this year - this is a huge commitment from his dedicated parents Adam and Carlee O'Bryan.
Xarn played excellent hockey in the Junior Country Championships in Melbourne last weekend. His team played in the grand final to only lose by one goal. He has now been picked by the Eagles team for the Junior State Championships which are being held the first week of the Victorian school holidays. What a great follow on from his Malaysian opportunity last year!
The Wimmera Hockey Association put together a team to participate in the HockeyVic Junior Country Championships.
Stef Bull joined the Nhill Hockey Club earlier this season and in doing so was eligible to play with the U/17 girls in the JCC. Although they had no wins on the weekend a great time was had by all.
Travelling to Melbourne by bus Friday night, staying at the same motel and playing as a new team was just fantastic and a great experience. Stef has made many more hockey friends. The only other locals in Melbourne for the JCC were the O'Bryan family watching Xarn play for the U/17 Warrnambool team.
Stef has now been invited to also play for the Eagles team in the JSC.
Only hockey players who participated in the JCC can play in the JSC if invited by HockeyVic.