Dakota Thomas isn’t new to the representative sporting scene but the 15-year-old from Kilaben Bay stepped up another level recently.
The talented all-round athlete was named in the Australian Schoolgirls netball squad to tour Fiji in May after impressing selectors wearing state colours in Adelaide earlier this month.
The goal keeper will now have the chance to wear the coveted green and gold uniform in 2017 and it’s an experience the year 10 student at St Paul’s High School, Booragul, said she was very much looking forward to.
“I’m proud,” Thomas said.
“It’s hard to explain but it’s a good feeling.
“I’ve been away for athletics before but it was really exciting to achieve this for netball.”
Thomas was one of three NSW players picked in the national under-15 merit team following the 2016 School Sport Australia Netball Championships.
She will be joined by Annie Miller and Ky-Mani Schwenke after they combined to finish runner’s up at the annual carnival.
NSW dropped just one match in the group stages, going down by two goals to hosts South Australia.
But the Blues returned fire the following day, reversing the result in a one-goal semi-final victory.
They eventually lost the August 5 decider 31-24 to Western Australia.
Thomas, who started in the sport aged four, has one final netball commitment for the year with an under-15 state tri-series challenge for NSW Combined Catholic Colleges in Sydney next month.
Responsibilities with Newcastle juniors and open championship side BNC have both ended for this season.
This means she will now turn her attention to the world of track and field.
Thomas resumed training at Glendale on Monday night with her sights set on a third shot at the Australian All Schools Athletics Championships, which will be held in Canberra for three days from December 2.
Last year, competing an age group above in Melbourne, she was second in the 200m and third in the long jump.
Earlier this year in Perth, also at national level but for the Australian Junior Athletics Championships, she scored medals in each event – silver in the 100m and long jump, bronze in the 200m and gold in both relays.
On debut in 2014 she won three gold at under-14 level.
Story originally published by The Newcastle Herald and can be read here.
Photograph courtesy of Josh Callinan