SouthlandSport editor Nathan Burdon

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Hartley ends school netball career on high note

Hartley ends school netball career on high note

A final quarter rally by the Southland Girls’ High School netball A team ensured exciting midcourter Kate Hartley would have a successful end to her time in the red and blue. 

One of Southland netball’s most promising talents, Hartley has spent three years in the school’s A team, including an exciting finale against Waitaki Girls’ High School at the South Island Secondary Schools tournament in Nelson. 

The Southland school was ranked second going into the tournament after finishing runners-up last year, but found the going tough on the opening day. 

A loss to Marlborough Girls’ on the second day consigned them to the bottom half of the competition, but from there Girls’ High rebounded and finished the remainder of the tournament unbeaten. 

That was despite trailing Waitaki by nine goals going into the final quarter of Hartley’s final game for Girls’ High. 

“We were losing by nine going into the last quarter and our coach pulled us aside and we talked about how it was our last year, we wanted to finish on a high. We ended up winning that last quarter 10-nil and we won the game by one goal, so it was a pretty cool last game.” 

Hartley is in the second year of the Academy Southland programme and has enjoyed the services available. 

Along with the nutrition and strength and conditioning support, Hartley has been able to lean on co-ordinator Carly Anderson for advice, as well as talking with manager Jason McKenzie as she weighs up what to do post-high school. 

“Having to make a decision when you are 17 about what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life is pretty scary,” Hartley said. 

“Lots of my friends know what they want to do next year, so that makes it a bit scary, but it’s just a matter of making a decision.” 

Hartley is leaning towards studying oral health at Otago University and being based in Dunedin will have advantages, particularly if she can break her way into the Beko South team following trials later this year. 

Despite Girls’ High finishing 17th in Nelson, Hartley was still named in the tournament team for the second year in a row. 

“I was worried that I wouldn’t get the chance to be seen because there were so many talented players in the teams above us, so hearing my name was pretty cool. Even though it’s a paper team it shows people are watching.” 

Hartley recently received encouragement from Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham. 

“I’ve just been talking to Reinga about where she sees my netball. She’s encouraged me to keep doing the gym work and working hard and that she’s watching me, which is pretty cool to hear.” 

Hartley will continue to work on her strength and agility, improving her ability to hunt the ball on defence. 

She’s had a taste of what the future could hold after being selected for a Netball New Zealand training camp in Cambridge at the start of the year for the country’s 50 most promising players. 

The group was split into five teams, with Hartley’s team coached by former Silver Ferns star Irene van Dyk. 

“It was so cool. We were all put into teams and we were in dormitories with a coach and a manager. We roomed with girls from all over the country and it was so cool to experience that and play some good netball,” Hartley said. 

“(Irene) was pretty awesome. She is very hands on, she knew what to say. She wouldn’t put any pressure on us, but she’d just say that we deserved to be there and it was a chance to show the selectors what we could do. 

“When I got the email saying who the coach was going to be I had to ring my nana, because she’s a big fan of Irene. Every day during the camp I’d ring my nana and tell her what Irene had been like. It was a great experience having her look over us for those two or three days.” 

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