Grace's golden touch

GERRINGONG hockey player Grace Stewart has continued to star on the field, confirming her standing as one of the country's up-and-coming stars after another stand-out performance at the recent national under-18 titles in Melbourne.

Despite NSW being soundly beaten by Queensland in the final, Stewart was still named player of the tournament. The accolade was even more deserved give the quality of the opposition and her teammates, as well as the fact that she is still only 16.

She said it was bitter-sweet being named as top player just after being beaten 5-2 in the final, but like a true champion, she paid tribute to her opposition.

"We didn't play them in the tournament as they were in the other pool of teams, but on the day they were way too good," Stewart said.

"I am very happy to have won player of the tournament, but would have loved to have won the championship."

A scholarship holder in the NSW Institute of Sport hockey program, she will now concentrate on the NSW Combined High Schools tour of South Africa during the next school holidays.

"I was lucky enough to go to Argentina with the same team last year and South Africa will be an exciting place to visit, so I am really looking forward to that,"said.

As an indication of the high esteem in which selectors hold her, she was also a member of the NSW under-21 squad, but their commitments will clash with the South Africa tour so she had to withdraw from that squad.

Another sport that has taken a back seat is touch, where she is also very highly rated.

"There were a lot of clashes in the timing of hockey and rep touch, so I had to make a decision.

"I will still play touch at school, but will be concentrating on hockey at the representative level."

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