It’s been a big year for Ashburton College year 13 student and recently selected New Zealand U21 Development Squad netball defender Kate Lloyd - and it doesn’t stop with the school year winding down.
Fresh from trialling for the new Netball Mainland National League team this past weekend, Kate heads up to Auckland in early December for a training camp with the national U21 Development Squad.
There’s much for her to aspire to. “We do a three day training camp and then from there 12 players get selected for a tour of the Cook Islands later in December and then the World Youth Championships are in Botswana in 2017,” she told College Sport Media.
She is one of seven schoolgirls in the 20-strong development squad, and one of two from the Netball Mainland region along with 2016 Tactix rookie Charlotte Elley who left school at St Andrew’s College last year.
Earlier in the year, Kate trialled in Auckland for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball team, so she knows what to expect. “It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to, especially the differences in style between the South Island and the North Island, where it is more athletic and physical than down here.”
Regular trips up to Christchurch this year with her Ashburton College school team paid off for Kate with her latest selection. She was co-captain of her school team that finished second in the Canterbury secondary schools SuperNet competition.
In the first part of the season Ashburton College won all seven matches and took out the first round. In the second round, the teams were split into two sections. Ashburton College qualified top from their side of their draw before missing out to winners St Margaret’s College 13-28 in the final. In 2014 the team finished fifth after qualifying from Division 1 in 2013.
Ashburton had comfortably the best defensive record of all the teams in this year’s SuperNet competition, which Kate also attributed to her fellow defender and co-captain Sophie Worsfold, aptly describing the pair together as “tall timber.” Sophie was also trialling for the Netball Mainland National League team with Kate over this past weekend.
Kate also cites the influence of Ashburton’s coach and former pupil of the school, Angela Mitchell, as a key factor in the team’s success. Mitchell played five Tests for Silver Ferns in the early 2000s and played for the Tactix at the tail-end of her career in 2009. “She is such a good role model and she has always got the inspiration and motivation for us to succeed. Being a former shooter at the elite level, one way she helps me out as a defender is she knows what’s annoying for them.”
Kate, at 1.92 m, says key attributes to train for as a defender include developing fast speed around the defensive circle and the ability to have a vertical jump.
The New Zealand Secondary School Netball Championships were recently held just up the road in Ashburton, and whilst her school wasn’t involved, Kate was never too far from the action. “I turned up to watch every day and kept a close eye on all the finals and I saw some of the players that I was trialling with for the New Zealand team earlier in the year.”
The title was won by Mount Albert Grammar School, who beat fellow Aucklanders St Kentigern College in the final.
Kate also has a strong basketball background, but that sport recently had to take a back seat as her netball stocks have risen. “I played both basketball and netball up until this year but I decided to concentrate on netball this year and both sports clashed and I would have had to miss some of both.”
Next year she’s heading to Lincoln University on the Lincoln Netball Scholarship to study and play.
In the meantime she’s got NCEA exams to study for, followed by training and preparing for the U21 Development Squad camp
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