SHOALHAVEN Heads hockey sensation Kyah Gray has continued to build her impressive sporting resume after she was selected in the Australian open women’s indoor squad.
The selection came after Gray, 18, played for NSW in the Australian Open Women’s Championships held from January 5 to 8 in Canberra.
With Gray playing defender and the drag flicker on corners, NSW beat South Australia in the semi-final and came up against Western Australia in the final.
NSW drew with Western Australia in the round match, so all bets were on for a close game.
The game was closely fought and saw NSW 3-2 down in the second half with 15 seconds on the clock.
NSW had a penalty corner and Gray managed to score, evening the scores and sending the game into extra time.
Gray was on the field in the extra time, which eventually went into double extra time and then to strokes.
NSW was unlucky to have one of its strokes saved and lost 5-4.
“The highlight was definitely in the final when I hooked that goal in to equalise the game,” Gray admitted.
Because of her outstanding performance in the NSW team, Gray was then selected to be a part of the 18-strong women’s indoor squad, where she is one of the youngest members.
The women’s squad stayed on with the men’s squad to train with the country’s best coaches at the Australian Institute of Sport.
In about a month’s time, Gray will find out if she is one of the 12 squad members selected for the Australian team to play in Asia in October, 2013 and Dubai in January, 2014.
The Asia tournament is the lead up to the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in 2015, which Gray said was her main goal.
“I made the merit team last year, but it was nice to be there again. I never assume that I am going to get selected in any team, so it is always nice to be selected,” said Gray.
“It was a really good week of training, I really enjoyed it. It was a tough training week but I think I handled it well.
“And there were all the top coaches there so that was good.”
Just a day after the camp, Gray left for Tasmania to captain the NSW under 18s team in the Australian Under 18 Women’s Indoor Hockey Championships.
“I think we have a strong team, so basically the game plan was to not be complacent, not play the game lightly, go out there, play our best, and not take anything for granted,” said Gray.
NSW remained undefeated throughout the tournament and beat Victoria in the final 5-nil.
Gray said the tournament was anything but a breeze, with a few games where NSW came from behind to narrowly claim the win.
“We had a few close calls,” she admitted.
“I think a couple of times we weren’t playing our best, but it was just a matter of talking to everyone, telling them to play their best, and to stick to the game plan.”
Gray was named player of the tournament and her team was given a special award by umpires for displaying the best sportsmanship.
However there was no time for celebration, with Gray flying back as soon as the tournament was over for training in Sydney for the NSW Institute of Sport, which she has a scholarship.
Gray trains in Sydney three to four times a week as well as studying for the HSC, which she completes through Pathways.
Gray was one of the leading students at Bomaderry High School last year, with exceptional results in the first four of her subjects.
She said time management and hard work were the key to her success in sport and study.
Last weekend Gray had under 21 hockey field trials in Sydney. She is yet to find out whether or not she will make the team.