Thirteen Northland teenagers have been chosen as the lucky bunch to go through the Educare Northland Sports Talent Hub.
Boasting New Zealand representatives such as golfer Kadin Neho, swimmer Daniel Gaualofa and hockey's Harry Lamb, each of the 13 athletes has an impressive record.
Joining Neho, Gaualofa and Lamb are Amanda Still, Imogen Hull, Samantha Polovnikoff, Brooke Kingi, Luther Cronin, Kane Turketo, Steel Kake, Max Trimble, Jack Ding and Harry Pearson.
Talent Hub co-ordinator Ady McKenzie is excited by the calibre of athletes she will be guiding.
"It is surprising, for me it's amazing, a lot of them are already at that top level or knocking at the door," McKenzie said of the Talent Hub,
The hub is a partnership between High Performance Sport New Zealand, NorthTec, the Kauri Club and Sport Northland to provide support services to talented local athletes in the pre-high performance phase of their sporting pathway.
"This is set up to launch them into the next level so if it's this year or next year it's about getting these guys up to that next level. There are a couple of them that are just about there."
McKenzie, a two-time Auckland marathon winner and triathlete, was the bearer of the good news for the athletes, saying all were elated.
"Talking to all of the athletes, they really sound excited. 'Oh, thank you so much, it's exciting,' was pretty much everyone's reaction.
"It's exciting for me when you're dealing with people who are that excited."
McKenzie believes the Talent Hub, which will be run in a seminar format at different times throughout the year, will be good for the region.
She said when she was a teenager she would have gained a lot from being involved in such a set-up.
"I actually think it's an awareness thing and being able to balance life, you have to give up so much and be self-centred to almost be successful at the top and go to those New Zealand or world championships.
"You actually have to learn to give up a little, and maybe that's one area I can teach them how to balance [commitments] so they can still do sport but have a life as well," she said.
She noted the large drop-off from age-group athletes to open level, adding that she hoped to help equip a few of them with some life balance skills to progress as an athlete for longer.
No cricketers or rugby players were included in the group because each code had an academy.
For more on the individual athletes, see Saturday's edition of the Northern Advocate.