In September/October last year the Christian Schools Events Network of Victoria held tryouts for their teams for Nationals. After two long and tiring days of drills, games and skill testing, six St Andrews students were given the amazing news that they’d been selected for Team Victoria out of the hundreds of people that tried out for the five different sports (Netball, Basketball, Tennis, Volleyball and Soccer).
I was lucky enough to be chosen for the Open Girls Basketball team. Soon after the teams were announced, our training began! In the lead up to Sydney everyone worked hard, bonding as teams, learning plays and fine tuning our skills. By the time May rolled around everyone was very hyped, the final training sessions had finished, uniforms had arrived and we did our final bits of packing for the Sydney National Championships.
We left for Sydney by bus on Saturday 13th May, excitement levels off the chart for the week of competition to come. After a long drive overnight, we arrived in Bondi on Sunday and spent the morning having breakfast at the beach and exploring the foreshore. With lots of pictures taken (including some with the stars of Bondi Rescue) we all boarded the buses again and headed to Sydney's Northern beaches to check out the venues we would be playing at, then headed to our accommodation for a brief team meeting and devotion.
On Monday morning we headed off to various venues with Basketball, Netball and Volleyball all being played at the same venue. The first day of competition proved to be a very successful one. The Open Girls Basketball came away with two convincing wins against NSW and QLD (49-23 and 55-11) and the other three Victorian Basketball teams came away with two wins also. That night we headed down to C3 church and had an opening ceremony with all the other states, including the National Anthem, Pledges and some worship songs.
Day two saw the Open Girls Basketball Team start the day with a tough match against South Australia (who would prove to be our rivals) losing by 15, however continued on to pick up another win against New South Wales. Bright and early at 8am on Wednesday we took on Queensland again, coming away with a hard fought win. We went on to lose to S.A. again but this time by only 8 points, even with our captain unfortunately tearing a ligament in her ankle half way through.
Wednesday afternoon marked the start of finals. After a couple of close semi-finals the day concluded with all four of the basketball teams making it through to the grand-final! The excitement and nerves on grand-final morning were at peak level, everyone anxious to get out there and play.
We (Open Girls) were going head to head against our rivals South Australia and by half time there was only one point the difference. In the end South Australia proved too strong for our Victorian side and we ended up picking up the silver, going down by 7 points. The other three basketball teams all did incredibly well and managed to come away with gold!
One of my favourite things about the week was the incredible amount of support and cheering there was all the time, if someone’s team wasn't playing they would come and cheer you on. It was great to see how people were cheering others on, even those from other sports.
After a closing ceremony Team Victoria prepared themselves for the 14 hour bus trip home, exhausted and ready for a good sleep! After a stop off at Beechworth Bakery for breakfast on Friday morning, we powered on through, arriving back in Melbourne at 2pm. It was an incredible experience and I encourage anyone who loves sport to try out next year - you won't regret it!
Year 12 Student
This was the first year that netball was included in National Christian School Sports for U15 and U21. From St Andrews, four students made it into the Victorian National teams which included Talar Hagopian and myself (U15), Lucy Potter and Sarah Alexander (U21).
Both teams played 10 matches and experienced a great week despite some struggles along the way. The U21 team finished up with a bronze medal and even though the U15 didn't place, they connected well as a team.
My first year at Nationals, I can definitely say was the best experience of my life. I was able to grow closer to friends and meet new people from different sports all while I grew in my understanding of life and how I should live. It was a good opportunity to meet other people from not only Victoria but also different states.
Though injuries may have occurred throughout the week, teams all pulled together and managed to get 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze medals. One memory that I will never forget would be during dinner time, when one of the U21 Basketballers decided to pull out a whole chicken and ate it instead of the food we were given. All in all, Nationals was the best week of my life, even the 15 hour bus trip to Sydney was fun. It was a week to grow closer to not only friends but also to God, and to increase sports knowledge while playing your favourite sport.
Year 10 Student