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Lily Marshall barely had time to say her goodbyes to her fellow New Zealand Secondary Schools netball triallists in Auckland recently, before she was winging her way back home to Christchurch and then on to Twizel for the start of the Maadi Cup rowing regatta.
“An hour after the last whistle had blown from the netball trials I was on a plane back to the South Island and straight to the Maadi Cup and I was racing the next day,” Lily explained to College Sport Media.
At the NZSS rowing championships on Lake Ruataniwha Lily was competing in one of the two St Margaret’s College U18s Fours boats and in the defending champion Levin Jubilee Cup U18 Girls Eights boat.
She then received the news she had been hoping for. “I found out on Monday night that I had been selected in the NZSS netball team. I was racing, then got back to our accommodation and received the call to say I was in the team.”
Year 13 student and St Margaret’s Sports Captain Lily had been an unsuccessful NZSS triallist last year, so the 1.80m specialist defender, was naturally rapt to make the side this year.
Elsewhere, New Zealand Schools coach Julie Seymour – who also co-coaches her school team - has described her mobility and busy approach as key attributes to her game. “I’ve always had my height, but now there’s some really good shooters out there so I guess I’ve had to learn to have speed and agility to match,” said Lily.
Like fellow NSS defender Courtney Elliott, whom College Sport Media featured last week, Lily started life at the other end of the court. “When I first came to St Margaret’s I was a shooter, before switching to defence where I’ve mostly played since.”
Last year St Margaret’s finished ninth at the 16-team NZSS Netball Championships in Ashburton, after finishing second the year before. “It was still really good, a little bit disappointing, but at the same time it was a new and slightly younger team, so it was still really cool to make it to nationals. We still won the South Island Championships and that was really awesome.”
Lily is also in the new Mainland side in the new Beko Netball League series. She missed their first game this past weekend (lost 43-53 to Waikato-Bay of Plenty) as she was in camp with the NZSS side, but hopes to make her debut soon. “I’m the youngest in this Mainland team, so even just being there is so awesome for my development.”
Last week she was also selected in the Netball New Zealand Pathway to Podium squad for 2016-17.
She started playing when she was young. “I have played quite a lot of summer sports, but have always stuck with netball as my main winter sport.” Other sports she has played include athletics, volleyball, water polo, touch and rowing.
On the water, Lily’s St Margaret’s Eights rowing crew was pipped in a thrilling Girls U18 Levin Jubilee Cup final by first time winners Diocesan School for Girls. “It was really close – us, Sacred Heart [Hamilton] and Auckland Dio were neck and neck. It was such a tough race.”
Diocesan held off St Margaret’s to win by 0.95 seconds to win in a time of 6:46.63, with Sacred Heart six seconds back in third.
“I think it was a little bit disappointing for us to come second, when we won last year, but looking back on it now it was definitely a very tight race and we’re still really proud to have medalled in it.”
Lily also competed in her school’s U18 Four’s second boat that finished inside the top 10, with the first boat winning bronze.
The school’s U17s Eights won gold, whilst the U18 Pair of Star Davidon and Izzy Goddard won silver, the U15 Eights won silver and both the U15 Fours and U15 Octuples also won bronzes.
St Margaret’s rowers Star Davidson, Izzy Goddar, Jorjsa MacRae and Millie Borren also received invitations for New Zealand trials.
Outside of sport, Lily hopes to go to university next year but for now she is leaving her options open.