Netball: Shooter aiming for double celebration

Otago Rebels goalshoot Katie Ritchie will be wearing both capping gown and netball strip in Christchurch today.

Ahead of the crucial National Bank Cup game against the Canterbury Flames tonight, Ritchie will be graduating from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Commerce in marketing management.

"It's going to be a busy day," the Silver Ferns trialist said. Ritchie, 22, said she would be able to attend the graduation ceremony and "then race over to join my team-mates".

The former Flames shooter is in her second season with the Rebels, but this will be her first game in front of the old home crowd since changing colours. Her shooting partner will be another old Flame, former Fern Angela Mitchell. With two rounds to go, the Flames and the Rebels are locked in equal-fourth place on the table.

After commuting from Christchurch last year, Ritchie is living in Dunedin during this cup competition.

The Rebels have won their last three games, but are in search of consistency over the 60 minutes. "That's something we've got to work on for this weekend," Ritchie said.

After opting for netball ahead of rowing, she is really enjoying the game "and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I have had to make a decision."

Ritchie turned down a chance to row at the world championships in Milan after being picked in the New Zealand women's development coxless four - a non-Olympic event.

"It was a huge call, but I went to the trials with the aim of making a crew that was going to try to qualify for the Olympics."

But she has not dropped ideas of rowing internationally. Ritchie went from national rowing trialist to national netball trialist within a few weeks.

"It's crazy when people I haven't seen in a while ask me what I've been up to. I mean the last month's just been so exciting and I've been taking steps towards my dreams."

- NZPA

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