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Pallas Potter of Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt, is one year 13 sportsperson who is sure to make a smooth transition from secondary school sport to the senior ranks at the end of the year.
Potter’s main sport is softball. In late July she captained the Junior White Sox (Women’s U19s) at the Junior World Series in Florida. She recently won Softball New Zealand’s Emerging Player of the Year award, has been selected in the senior White Sox Training squad and is already footing it in the senior ranks at the highest level.
With the softball season just starting - Pallas was in Auckland over Labour Weekend playing as a pick-up for the Auckland Marist team in a club tournament – her most recent and last act playing sport for her school was at the NZSS Netball Nationals earlier this month.
“That’s the highest standard many of us have played netball, it was pretty intense,” said Pallas of the week in Rotorua with the Senior A netball team. “There were some tough games, our first game against St Margaret’s was a highlight [won 38-27].”
Describing herself as a utility defensive player, Pallas helped Sacred Heart to 10th place overall of 16 netball teams, which achieved their goal of a top 10 finish at one of the more competitive tournaments on the NZSS calendar.
From now on, Pallas is just focusing on one sport – softball.
And for good reason after a busy year so far, which has included a change of position.
This was after she was the Tournament MVP for the Lower Hutt U19s Women’s team that won the national title in Christchurch. Pallas was the team’s pitcher and helped them beat Wellington in the final.
In Summer Tournament Week she led Sacred Heart to the Division 2 NZSS national title at nearby Fraser Park. They had qualified to play Division 1 in Auckland but logistics and finances meant they stayed in Lower Hutt instead.
In the middle of the year she captained the Junior White Sox at the expanded 26-country Junior World Series in Florida. Pallas, now on first base, admitted the team didn’t perform as high as they could have. But that’s understandable given that 11 of the 17 players, including Pallas, will still be eligible for the next Junior World Series in two years.
Host country the USA won the tournament, and although New Zealand didn’t get to play them, they watched them play. “They were outstanding, different to how we play – they are more powerful and clinical in what they do.”
This was Pallas’ second Junior World Series tournament. “I was in the team as well two years ago when it was in Oklahoma, USA. As a year 11, I was the youngest in that team, and we finished sixth.”
Pallas enjoyed the captaincy experience at the elite level, a team comprised of mostly New Zealand secondary school players and a couple of university and US based college players. The squad included her Sacred Heart teammate Bailey Robertson.
Pallas has played softball all her life, and plays for the Te Aroha club in Lower Hutt.
On the horizon is the Softball World Championships are in Florida next July, while softball has been reinstated as an Olympic Sport. Representing New Zealand at Tokyo 2020 is a major goal for Pallas and her teammates.
In the short term, she is preparing for the end of the school year and exam season and another busy summer of domestic softball and is keen for a softball scholarship to university in the USA.