Rotorua netballer Samantha Sinclair was named by the selectors as one of the best players in the Transtasman Secondary Schools Netball Tournament.
The John Paul College Year 11 student was one of just three New Zealanders and five Australians named in the team of eight at the end of the tournament, held between May 30 and June 2.
Samantha had a great start to her 2011 season, having been a late selection into the group to go to the Western Region Academy in Bathurst, training with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, being part of the third-placed Bay of Plenty Lois Muir Challenge Team, and then going on to make the New Zealand Secondary Schools Team all before May.
Although the team were beaten by School Sport Australia 44-32 in the final, Samantha said it was an experience she would cherish.
"You know it's always disappointing losing to Aussie but [our team] played with so much heart."
She said to be named one of the best players in the tournament just topped off her week.
"It's absolutely incredible to be named in that team and to be along side those other girls is also incredible."
Her feats on the court have also drawn praise from Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic coach Noeline Taurua.
"Samantha impressed me with her gutsy, grit and determination at one of our trainings, she never took a step back she always just went for it. It is always good to see young ones testing themselves so that they see what they need to do," Taurua said.
Samantha told The Daily Post yesterday she was humbled by Taurua's comments.
"I never expected it and it makes you want to keep on striving to reach that ultimate goal of playing for the Magics and of course the Silver Ferns."
The 15-year-old will return to play in the Bay of Plenty under-19 Team at the Netball New Zealand Age Group Championships in Nelson in July as well as in the Netball Rotorua competition with her school A side.
Her school coach of many years is Coral Palmer, a former Silver Fern. Palmer played in the 1967 World Champion-winning side coached by Taini Jamison.
Netball Bay of Plenty coaching development officer Jodi Tod said: "Sam is a very good example of a player who has taken every opportunity that she has available within her school, centre and the region.
"It is always exciting to see young players work their way along the competitive development pathway," Netball Bay of Plenty coaching development officer Jodi Tod said.
"We are all very proud of Samantha's achievement ... "