HOCKEY: Sailors hockey junior Mackenna Ensbey is determined to forge a path to the top of her sport, and it is a path that is taking her straight to the Pacific School Games in December.
Ensbey will represent New South Wales at the Games against school sides from every Australian state and at least 15 different countries. The 11-year-old was selected in the side after a dominant showing at the NSW PSSA Championships for North Coast last week.
Ensbey, along with fellow Grafton juniors Gemma Whelan, Grace Crapp and Martina Williams, played out of their skin for North Coast as the side topped their pool before going into the tournament finals.
Despite a willing effort in the final against South Coast, the side bowed out with a thrilling 3-1 loss to claim the silver medal.
It was a top notch effort for a team that could only have one training session under coach Sue Buckley.
"We only got the one training session because some of the other kids live so far away,” Ensbey said. "But we all worked as a team in all our games and we made sure to use all our strengths to win.
"I was not too upset we lost the final, I was quite proud that we got that far.
"I was pretty confident we would go close when we were winning most of our early games but I never expected to make it.”
After the tournament, Ensbey was selected in the NSW side, a selection her older sister Ashleigh earned two years ago. While she might be following in her sister's footsteps, the young gun is quickly carving a unique path of her own.
"I did feel a bit of pressure that Ash had done it before, but I think that pushed me to be better,” she said. "I was hoping so much to make the side but I didn't expect it. I was so happy.”
Ensbey will be joined in the NSW side by fellow North Coast junior and long-time friend Breah Fischer, which she said will make the adjustment to the state side just that much easier.
"I am a little bit nervous but mostly excited about playing at Nationals”, she said. "I don't know what to expect from a lot of the girls but at least Breah will be there beside me.”
Ensbey thanked her parents Kelly and Mark for putting in the time and effort to further her hockey.
"They have pushed me to do my best,” she said.