UniSA student Sophie Collings has been going through the hockey ranks for years and in December she will reach the pinnacle – representing Australia.
Hailing from Tanunda, Collings has been playing hockey since she was seven years old, playing not only club but also school hockey, often winning best and fairest awards and being selected in association teams of the year.
The first-year physiotherapy student has represented numerous State teams since 2015, including the State Indoor team and the Under 16 School Girls team.
This year, she was selected in the SA Under 21 Women’s Team, competing in the Under 21 Championships in Sydney, as well as the State Country Women’s Team who played at the Australian Country Championships in Berri.
In both of those tournaments, Collings team made the bronze medal match but ultimately finished fourth.
Despite missing out on medals, Collings did earn selection in the Australian Country Under 21 team due to her strong performances throughout the Country Champs competition.
Now, she will travel to Suva, Fiji in December to compete in the inaugural Pacific Cup for Australia, which means a lot to Collings.
“I think there’s a stage in every athletes life where they think about what it would be like to represent their country,” Collings said.
“For me, I never thought it would happen so I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to represent Australian and Country Hockey.”
Collings knows that the experience in Fiji is going to be very different to what she is used to in Adelaide, but is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m just hoping to enjoy the experience, get to know some other people and further develop my hockey skills,” she said.
“I’m always looking at how I can improve and develop my hockey skills, and I think that playing in Fiji will be another opportunity for that.
“It will definitely be a completely different playing environment because of the hot and humid weather compared to Adelaide’s winters, and playing against different countries will help me to further develop my skills.”
Collings is travelling to Fiji with the help of an Amateur Athlete Grant from UniSA Sport, who wishes her all the best in the upcoming tournament.