KATE Ryan’s strong performances at the Australian Country Hockey Championships have landed her a spot in the Australian under-21 women’s country team.
The Ballarat player, who was also in the national team last year, will head to Fiji in December to take on several of the host country’s best squads in a series of test matches.
“It will be more of a development squad this year, whereas it was more about winning last time,” Ryan said.
“It’s definitely an advantage heading into this year’s tour knowing what to expect and at what speed the games will be played.
“I’m looking to improve my skills and develop my game while I’m over there.”
Ryan, alongside other Ballarat players Claire McKenzie and Jess Richardson, was an integral part of the country Victoria squad that had two wins, two losses and a draw on its way to the semi-finals in Geraldton.
The 20-year-old plays for Hockey Geelong in the Victorian league one division and for Eureka Golden City in the local Ballarat competition.
The midfielder and forward started playing hockey at 13 years of age and has also excelled at athletics, competing in the 400m hurdles at the 2011 World Youth Athletics Championships.
Ryan still competes in athletics in summer and believes the two sports complement each other well.
“I play hockey during the winter and run during the summer, which means I haven’t had to make any decisions between the two yet, which has been nice,” she said.