HOT SHOTS: St Catherine's Catholic College took part in the Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Netball Carnival in Bundaberg.
HOT SHOTS: St Catherine's Catholic College took part in the Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Netball Carnival in Bundaberg. Contributed

College graces state stage

NINE St Catherine's Catholic College students represented our region at the Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Netball (QISSN) Carnival in Bundaberg last week.

The students took on the best in the state under the watchful eyes of College secondary teachers Ashleigh Kaye (team coach) and Jessica Hehir (team manager).

It is the second time SCCC have completed at the largest netball carnival for independent schools in Queensland after making the cut above many other schools on the wait list.

National under-age selectors roam the carnival looking for upcoming talent, with a number of rural and regional players being named in the QISSN All Stars and QISSN Rising Stars teams at the end of the week-long event.

Kaye said this showed that when at their best, players from all over the state can match it with each other.

"As we are the only team from the Whitsunday area, it gives the girls the opportunity to put all their hard work and training into practice," she said.

The team have been training all year, with a special training session held in the last week of Term 2 with Sunshine Coast Lighting goal shooter Cara Koenen.

Koenen spoke to the girls about healthy lifestyles, success and motivation, before running the team through a skills training session.

SCCC sports co-ordinator Bruce Laguna said the event was about creating pathways for students, in particular encouraging young women in sport.

"Hopefully, it inspires them to follow their sporting dreams," he said.

Koenen emphasised how blessed and lucky she was to have parents who made sacrifices in order for her to fly in and out of metro areas for training when she was growing up.

"As an athlete who grew up in a relatively regional area of Queensland, I believe that many extremely talented young athletes give up their passion because of the difficulties associated with a commitment to elite training," she said.

"If, by coming out and doing clinics in regional areas, I can encourage just even one player to continue to pursue his/her sporting aspirations, that's a win."

While SCCC didn't bring home the top prize, the team achieved their goal of beating last year's place and came home with fifth in Division 8.

Kaye said this was the highlight of the trip.

"We also had a number of comments from other coaches and umpires about the fighting spirit displayed by our girls, particularly in matches we didn't win," she said.

"It was great for the girls to see that we do the same drills as the Division 1 teams, but those players execute the drills with more speed, precision and accuracy.

"It inspired the girls to put that into practice when we next performed the drill and next took to the court."