Duo ready for national champs

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Waitaki Girls’ High School student Jennifer O’Connell and St Kevin’s College’s Merekite Wahitapu are North Harbour bound to compete in the NZ Under-17 National Championships from Monday to Thursday.

The local duo were selected for the second time to the Dunedin Under-17 team after impressing at trials at the Edgar Centre in May.

O’Connell, who now plies her trade at goal shoot after switching from goal keeper, said she was looking forward to the competition and had confidence on her side.

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

“We’ve got a lot of players from last year so hopefully we’ve got enough ability and skill to better last year’s performance.

“It’ll be a great experience with a great bunch of girls.”

Wahitapu, a versatile player who plays goal attack for her school team and centre for Dunedin, said she was surprised to be selected for second year following a poor trial, but feels she is in tip-top condition following an impressive campaign.

“I was sort of anxious because I didn’t think I’d trialled that well,” she said.

“I’m fitter than I thought I was so I think I’m physically ready for nationals.”

“I’m definitely excited. Nationals are always exciting. I think our team is confident because we’ve only had one loss this year and that was to a men’s team so I definitely think we’ve got a good chance.”

The Dunedin team will play Auckland three on Monday.

By JAMES FORD

PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Jennifer O’ConnellĀ  is looking forward to theĀ  NZ Under 17 National Championships.