Four talented young tennis players are preparing for what will be their most exciting sporting outing to date.
Tomorrow, Friday, November 24, Great Lakes College, Tuncurry campus Year 10-11 students, Ruby Sparks, Kirra Clemin, Stevie McDonagh and Evie O'Neil travel to Brisbane for the National High School Championships.
The five-day event, being played at The University of Queensland tennis centre, will include the top Catholic, independent and state secondary schools from across Australia.
The girls earned their place in the prestigious event after winning the Floris Conway Cup (NSW combined high schools) tennis competition in Ulladulla in mid-August.
Playing both singles and doubles, the team faced strong opposition from some of the state's top sporting schools, taking the title from Westfield Sports, McKellar Girls, Gunnedah and Bombaderry high schools.
Their victory was the first of many debuts - the cup was the first time Great Lakes College had qualified for the event and it was the first time it had won the event.
We went in as underdogs; nobody knew who we were.- Ruby Sparks
"We thought we would get flogged (playing against the fancied Westfield Sports High School)," Ruby said.
"And, then when we beat them we thought we might have a chance," she said.
Victory was sweet, when the Great Lakes team beat McKellar, which had won the tournament two years in succession.
"We went in as underdogs; nobody knew who we were."
Competition proper began earlier in the year when the team played in Newcastle against 10 Hunter regional secondary schools, beating Swansea, Taree and previous champs, Hunter Sports High School.
Manager, Kim Morris described the team's progress as amazing; fantastic.
"They have worked and trained so hard and are great friends, which is a bonus," she said.
"And, they have had great support from their parents."
Just like many 'champions' these girls have been playing since they could walk and hold a tennis racquet.
While the girls are understandably thrilled with their progress so far, they also have continued to play for fun.
"There is a lot of banter on the court," Ruby said.
"We play because we like it; it is just so much fun."
But, at the same time they want to perform to the best of their abilities.
"We know it will be tough.
"There are girls who have played in junior Wimbledon."
The team expressed their thanks to the P&C which donated the $600 entry free, Woolies, for the sausages and Baker's Delight for the discounted bread for the Bunnings barbecue fundraiser.
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