GOALS HIT FOR GRACE

A Northam student has returned from a whirlwind sporting experience - representing the state in the under 13s girl's state hockey team in Tasmania.

St Joseph's School student Grace Whiteaker played on the WA team that travelled to Hobart earlier this month.

Grace, a goalie, said selection for the state team put her skills to the test.

"The selection for state was hard - there were a lot of girls who had different ways of playing," she said.

"With every shot you didn't know what was coming so you had to prepare for everything."

The 13-year-old said her involvement in the sport was almost a right of passage.

"I got into hockey because my dad has always played it," she said.

"He never brought it up with us kids when we were little but it just kind of just happened.

"I started playing on the field and none of the kids heads fit in the goalie helmet so I was thrown in there for having a smaller head - I haven't turned back.

"I really like the pressure and doing crazy stuff, throwing your body all over the place to save a little ball.

"Everybody relies on you, so it can be hard sometimes, but you have to have a sense of belief for the team."

Alongside her West Australian teammates, Grace managed to help secure a fifth-place position and only let through three goals over seven games.

Despite coming down the tonsillitis halfway through the tournament, Grace said she was impressed with her own performance.

"I did pretty good besides the fact I came down with tonsilitis and had to miss five games," she said.

"Preparing for the championships was really hard because we hadn't played together before.

"The hardest team we went up against was Queensland because they had been training together for six months - we had only been together for two."

She said the highlight of the week-long event was going up against the fellow WA team, which resulted in a one-all draw.

Grace said she hoped the new turf facilities in Northam would help the longevity of the sport locally.

"I hope the new pitch will help people with their," she said.

"When we go to Perth there was a big difference in our skills because we were used to playing on grass instead of turf."