Spotswood College head boy Faris Petty is expecting both hot temperatures and competition when representing New Zealand at a international age-group indoor volleyball tournament in the United States this month.
The 17-year-old heads away early next week with the 12-strong New Zealand Youth (under-18) indoor volleyball team for 10 days of intensive training and competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It is a trip back to the land where Petty spent some of his early years before moving to New Zealand with his parents.
It will also be the second time that Petty has represented New Zealand overseas. He was a member of the Volleyball New Zealand under-17 beach volleyball development team that competed in Vanuatu last summer, when he combined with New Plymouth Boys' High School pupil Sean Hone to finish a creditable third.
Petty's coach Anthony (AJ) Joe says his charge could go far in the sport if he sticks at it.
"He defends really well, communicates with his teammates, is really quick and has great hand-eye co-ordination. They are his strengths," said Joe. "And he never gives up, he goes hard all game long."
Petty was named in a New Zealand squad after playing at the national indoor champs last March. He was then named in a wider group of 48 to attend a four-day pre-selection training camp in Wellington, where he made the final cut as one of 12 volleyballers to Tulsa.
Petty was excited about playing volleyball for 10 days in the States against the best of his age group from many countries.
"It's going to be hot," he said, referring to the average temperatures in Tulsa at this time of year, which are well into the 30 degree Celsius mark.
A year-13 student, Petty hopes to make the starting six on the tour.
"We had an indoor training camp a couple of weeks back, and that gives the coach the idea as to who are the best players," he said. "But the first three days in Tulsa is training, and that's when they will decide."
Petty said last year the national youth team went to a similar tournament and didn't do so well.
"That's because international competition in volleyball is pretty tough," explained Petty. "This year we are playing in a division below, so we are hoping to win quite a few games."
Petty started playing volleyball when in year eight at Oakura Primary School, and enjoys beach or indoor equally.
"I like competition, but I also like to have fun and enjoy myself. I would like to play competitive volleyball when I leave high school. I might not be good enough and that's fine. But I will try my hardest."
Petty is a talented allrounder, and last year won his school's senior boys' cross-country race. He also plays striker in the school's first XI football team, and for Moturoa in the Taranaki premier grade.
Last year, Petty was named Spotswood College sportsman of the year, a title he will be in line for again this year.
There's the possibility of another overseas trip for Petty.
He was named first reserve for the New Zealand team to compete at the Youth Olympics in China.
- Taranaki Daily News
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