LIKE most young sports fans across the district, Warrnambool’s Madi Ratcliffe is spending her evenings glued to the London Olympic Games, dreaming of one day representing her country.
And the dream may not be too far fetched for the promising 14-year-old, who was last week selected to represent Victoria at the under 15 national championships, to be held in Canberra during October.
The Warrnambool College student’s selection comes after a strong performance as a member of the South West Eagles squad at the state championships in Melbourne last month.
The South West Eagles finished the state championships ninth out of 10, but Madi said they were unlucky.
“We didn’t get flogged every game. We played some really close games and drew a couple,” Madi told The Standard.
“As a country team, we were inexperienced and couldn’t compete with the metro teams,” she said.
Madi said after the state championships, all players were invited to trial for the Victorian squad.
“Eighty people put their names down,” Madi said.
“Then over three weeks we had trials and as we went along they cut the team down.
“I was so happy when I found out I had made the final cut.”
Madi will be joined in Canberra by Portland junior Caitlin Stafford.
“I have been playing with and against Caitlin for the past four years, so it will be good to have her there as well,” Madi said.
It will be Madi’s second year in the Victorian under 15 national championships squad after playing last year as a bottom-age player.
She said at last year’s championships the Victorian team finished in fifth position.
“Hopefully we can go out there again this year and improve our position,” Madi said.
“I played a fairly consistent tournament last year, but I hope that my experience from last year and any improvement I have gained over the past year can help me play even better.
“But now the focus is on training.
“We will head to Melbourne each Wednesday and Sunday,” she said.
Madi has big dreams for her future in the sport.
“I would love to go to the Olympics with the Australian team.
“But for now, I’m just trying to play the best I can,” Madi said.