MORE than 1000 athletes descended on the Lake Macquarie and Hunter region recently to compete across six sporting competitions in the Australian Invitational Youth Games (AIYG).
Teams and individuals compete in the sports of softball, athletics, netball, golf, swimming (the Australian team’s trials for the Special Olympics) and, for the first time, speedway.
Three Lake Macquarie athletes represented not only the Hunter Academy of Sport but also Westlakes District Netball Association when they competed against teams from 11 other academies, at Maitland Federation Centre, for three days this week.
Fallan Porter played in the Hunter 1 team, Ella Geach played in the Hunter 3 team, and Lydia Philpott umpired during the 2½ days of high-energy, action-packed competition sponsored by the Greater Bank.
Division 1 and 2 were both taken out by Western Sydney Academy of Sport.
The Hunter 3 team remained undefeated for two days to place second in Division 2.
Academy netball and umpiring athletes are chosen from selection trials held in August each year.
Those selected are given opportunities to develop as an athlete physically and mentally, and also as a whole person.
There is training and skill development specific to netball, access to specialised coaches, and athlete education in topics such as nutrition, sports psychology, motivation, leadership and load management.
Players compete or umpire against other academies in both the Academy Games and the AIYG, where state selectors, professional netballers and Super League coaches and managers attend to familiarise themselves with the talent coming up through the netball development pathway.
Fallan, Ella and Lydia were given opportunities throughout the season to train with Sam Poolman from Giants Netball, and also the Central Coast Heart metro league team.
Across NSW, academies give talented netballers from rural, regional and metro clubs opportunities to take their netball to the next level, to train with the best, and grow as athletes.
Hunter Academy of Sport is currently taking nominations for the 2017/2018 program and applications can be made at www.hunteracademy.org.au
Phone 4926 4892 for more information.