Playing sport at an international level is something that most teenagers can only dream about, but for local teen Hattie Shand, that dream is about to become a reality.
In around a month’s time, Hattie is set to fly out to Europe to spend two weeks representing Australia on hockey fields all around Germany at the School Sport Australia International Hockey Championships.
Hailing from a farm near Naracoorte and boarding at Scotch College in Adelaide, Hattie will be joined by one other South Australian student on the adventure of a lifetime from May 19 until June 5.
The two girls will join the under 16 national team that will compete against other countries such as South Africa and Argentina across Deutschland.
With around one month until her departure date, Hattie said she was looking forward to donning the green and gold uniform in centre midfield on an international stage for the first time.
“Surprisingly I’m not really nervous, I’m just excited for the challenge and can’t wait to play at such a high level,” she said. “We’re also going to visit different places in Europe like France, Belgium and Amsterdam which is exciting.”
Hattie said her passion for the game was ignited when she first picked up a hockey stick for Dartmoor when she was around 10 years old.
”My older brother and my dad encouraged me to give hockey a go and funnily enough, I didn’t really enjoy it to start off with,” she laughed.
“I just stuck at it over the years and now I love it – hockey has been such a huge part of my life since I was a kid.”
Hattie has played for a number of different teams over the years including the Naracoorte side in the Mount Gambier association as well as Scotch College and the Adelaide Hockey Club.
The Year 12 student has been a regular member of junior state teams in recent years, having represented SA at under 12, 13, 15 and 16 levels.
As a result, Hattie has competed all over SA and interstate and just this week travelled to Hobart for the under 18 nationals during her school holiday break.
Hattie said she would love to play for Australia at a senior level in the Hockeyroos team and one day represent her country at the Olympics.
Equipped with an enthusiastic and dedicated attitude towards hockey, the local teen is well on her way to achieving that goal.
“Currently, I train every night of the week for at least two hours, which is pretty busy. There’s also gym sessions in there as well – it’s pretty full on, but I like it,” she said.
“I’ve got a good balance at the moment and hockey provides a perfect opportunity to get away from Year 12 for a bit.”
Hattie said she would like to acknowledge her family for their ongoing support over the years. “I just want to thank my parents for all the time and the effort they have put in, getting me to trainings and giving me the opportunity to go to school in Adelaide, because it’s really helped my hockey,” she said.