Young carving her own path with Australia selection
HOCKEY: Grafton junior Grace Young is set to realise her hockey dreams next year after she was selected for the Australian Schoolgirls side to tour South Africa.
Young was selected off the back of her silver medal performance at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide just over a week ago.
She was one of four Grafton Hockey Association youngsters to return with silver medals, with Mackenna Ensbey, Breah Fischer and Jake Lambeth.
Fellow Grafton junior Keaton Stutt's NSW Under 12s side finished fourth.
Young said her selection was the realisation of a long-held dream and took the sting out of a thrilling loss in the gold medal match against Queensland.
"To be in the grand final against Queensland was pretty exciting, and it was good to get silver but it was a bit disappointing because we were looking for gold,” she said.
"We were 1-0 up all the way until halfway through the second half when we conceded a goal. it was just one lapse in concentration.
"The scores were still locked after extra time and they ended up taking it in a penalty shoot-out which was pretty devastating.
"The selection definitely took a bit of weight off after losing the gold medal match, I was absolutely stoked to make the side.”
Young led from the back for the NSW side, playing in her preferred defensive midfield position she was the go-to player to get the side out of trouble and onto the front foot in attack.
Young is not the first player in her family to represent Australia at school hockey level; brother Sam also toured to South Africa in 2016.
He likes to remind her she isn't the first, but Young said she has not listened to a word he has said.
"A few people have said I am living in his shadow but that's not how I see it,” she said. "I am not in his shadow, I am making my own shadow.”
A determined effort from Lambeth, who had his jaw dislocated in the gold medal match against Queensland, had the Grafton High young gun selected as a shadow for the Australian squad.