GERRINGONG duo Josh Mayo and Grace Stewart will head to South Africa next year after they were selected in the Australian under-16s All Schools hockey team.
The announcement came after the recent national championships in Hobart, where NSW took out the tournament in the under-16s in the boys' and girls' division.
In a closely contested tournament, the boys defeated Queensland 3-1 in their final, while the girls beat Queensland 3-2 in their decider.
Josh was named as NSW players' player for the tournament and was thrilled to earn his first Australian call-up at the end of it.
"Making the Australian team was one of my goals at the start of the year, so that was a great bonus after winning the tournament," he said.
"Not many people get to play for Australia, but hopefully getting to [do so] at such a young age can help me progress through the ranks."
The boys' and girls' Australian teams will travel to South Africa in June/July next year, to play a four-Test series.
While he doesn't know a lot about South African hockey, Josh said he was looking forward to the experience.
"It will be interesting to see how other countries play hockey and how we stack up against them," he said.
While it is always welcome to get one over the Queenslanders in sport, it was particularly sweet for Grace and the girls' team, after they had a draw in their round game.
Grace said while it was exciting to win the tournament, the atmosphere in the final could have been better.
"It was alright, but there wasn't that many supporters, because they were all watching the boys' game," she said.
Grace has already represented Australia, after travelling to Argentina last year.
She said the opportunity to play in Argentina was a great experience, and she was excited about going to South Africa.
"We're going on a safari thing, so that should be pretty cool, then there's the hockey too," she said.
"It's a lot different playing against other teams from around the world. It's a higher level, but after last year, I think I'll handle it pretty well."
Josh and Grace are both in year 10 at Kiama High School. They are members of the Emerging NSW team and the Illawarra Academy of Sport.
As well as playing juniors for Gerringong, Josh also competed in the Illawarra senior competition for Albion Park.
In the future, he is hoping to make the step up to the NSW and Australian open teams, and to attend the Australian Institute of Sport.
Grace has similar future goals.
She is aiming to make the NSW and Australian under-21 teams in the future.