SHOALHAVEN Heads’ Kyah Gray is one step closer to her dream of playing for the Hockeyroos with selection in the Australia A squad.
Gray was recently named as one of just three reserves for the team, and if she is called up, will tour China and Japan next month.
The selection follows Gray’s thrilling Australian Championships campaign as part of the winning NSW u21 field hockey team.
NSW had a score to settle going into the Perth-based championships, with Gray a member of the 2013 team that won silver after losing to Queensland in the finals, going down in an extra-time penalty shootout.
This year’s NSW team came out firing and claimed round game victories over ACT, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria.
But a 5-nil loss to Queensland suggested gold was not yet in the bag.
NSW accounted for ACT in the semi-finals to face Queensland in the final in what would be a replay of the 2013 thriller.
Both sides played outstanding hockey, but NSW had the drive and skill to claim a 3-1 victory.
Gray played all but three minutes of a 70 minute final and said that even though she was exhausted at the end of the game, there was no better feeling to finally get the gold.
“It’s what we have worked towards for such a long time, to have a fantastic win with such a great group of girls and an amazing coaching staff. I will never forget it,” she said.
Despite the win there is no rest for the former Bomaderry High School student, who is back to full training this week, which involves nine sessions a week of skill, gym and conditioning training at the NSW Institute of Sport with her coach, Katrina Powell.
Gray is also in the NSW AHL Arrows squad with the championship to be played in Brisbane in October.
Gray is now a veterinary science student at Sydney University and manages to juggle full-time study and an intense hockey training schedule for indoor with the Australian indoor squad and field with the Australian junior u23 and Australia A squads.
Gray lives on campus at Sydney University and plays first grade club hockey with Sydney University.
Yet she admits to being a country girl at heart.
“I am so busy with uni and training but I really miss home and come back every chance I get. I am definitely not a city person; it’s just where I have to be at the moment for my hockey and studies,” she said.
Gray is also a nominee for the Shoalhaven Sportstar of the Year awards, with the winners to be announced on Friday night.