De­fense on form for Kate

North Waikato News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Ill­ness and an injury couldn’t stop 14-year Kate Thomson from de­fend­ing goals in the AAU Ju­nior Olympics and help­ing her team win gold.

The Ngaru­awahia teen has come back a win­ner from her first in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion where she played goalie for the Un­der 14 New Zealand in­line hockey squad.

The team won two golds, one for a tour­na­ment round and an­other for the of­fi­cial ju­nior olympics games held in Hawaii.

About 200 teams from around the world com­peted in the com­pe­ti­tion.

It wasn’t all smooth sail­ing though for the Hill­crest High School stu­dent as she be­came sick with a high tem­per­a­ture and had to bench her­self.

And dur­ing the fi­nal against Aus­tralia, she clashed with an­other player in­jur­ing her arm.

‘‘My coach came to get the other goalie... [but] there was five min­utes left and I wanted to play the full game... I wanted to fin­ish what I started. ‘‘I was in pain... but yeah...’’ It was a solid ef­fort as she walked away with a clean sheet in that last game win­ning 5-nil.

Kate said she never ex­pected to get so far into the com­pe­ti­tion as it was only ever about the ex­pe­ri­ence.

And it was a ‘‘scary’’ com­pet­ing against the likes of Chi­nese Taipei, Columbia, Los An­ge­les and Hawaii. ’’[I was] ner­vous be­cause I didn’t want to stuff up.’’

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