Teen amazed at selection for Black Sticks
'I don't think the feeling has sunk in yet'JACOB PAGE
Cass Reid has become the first South Canterbury woman in 60 years to make the New Zealand hockey team.
The Craighead Diocesan School striker-turned-midfielder was yesterday unveiled as one of eight new caps in coach Mark Hager's 25-strong Black Sticks squad for 2013, which will prepare for a six-test home series against India next month.
Reid, 18, becomes the first woman since June Leslie in 1953 to make the national team from Timaru; current Black Sticks women's assistant coach Chris Leslie, June's nephew, as well as Ian Woodley, made the men's team after playing for Timaru Boys' High School in the late 1970s.
Reid, who will move to Christchurch next year, admitted she could not believe she had made the national team so soon.
"I don't think the feeling has sunk in yet. I didn't expect to be in this position until 2015 because that's when I thought I'd have to be in the frame to make the Olympic team."
Reid said her future in the sport was in the midfield due to her high fitness levels and willingness to run.
She paid tribute to Chris Leslie, who had acted as her mentor over the past year.
She has progressed from a late callup to the New Zealand under-18 team just over a year ago, to being a National Hockey League (NHL) winner with the Canterbury senior women's team and a vital member of the New Zealand under-21 team.
"Chris has been fantastic; he has prepared me for all of my major trainings and shown me what I need to work on," she said.
Leslie said Reid's fitness, improved core skills and willingness to be coached made her selection possible.
"She is so willing to learn and now it's a matter of her showing her skills under pressure and seeing how she goes."
Reid also thanked Craighead coach Bruce Rayner and former Hockey South Canterbury president Colleen Hardacre for their dedication to her improvement.
Reid will assemble with the Black Sticks on December 3 for a training camp in Hawke's Bay before the India series begins on December 8.
If she impresses there, she may skip the Junior Black Sticks' World Cup qualifying series in Australia in February for a series with the Black Sticks in Argentina.
Reid, no stranger to training by herself, said she knew the hard work had only just begun.
- The Timaru Herald