Mum Lisa was a swimming star, now it's Kate's turn to put runs on the board
Kate played with a ball from a young age, so I knew early on I probably wouldn't get her into swimming
AS far as big sporting weekends go, it would be hard to top multi-talented Kate Douglass's three-day blitz.
One Saturday in September, Kate earned a netball premiership when her Girton Grammar team took out the Golden City association's 13-and-under division two grand final.
On the Sunday, she travelled to Melbourne for the final state primary girls' cricket trial and impressed the selectors so much with her batting, bowling and wicket keeping skills that she was chosen as an all-rounder in the Victorian team.
The following day, her school basketball team won a nail-biting Bendigo under-14 division two grand final by three points and Kate capped off her amazing run with the MVP award.
"It certainly was a big few days," says mum Lisa Douglass.
But you don't have to look far to see where 12-year-old Kate gets her sporting passion and prowess from. Her mother was one of Australia's best swimmers in the early 1980s, racing alongside the likes of Susie Woodhouse, Lisa Forrest and Lisa Curry.
As Lisa Dedman, she was a backstroke specialist who won countless Victorian titles and represented her country at world junior, Pan Pacific and world university games swim meets.
She even held the Australian 400m individual medley record "about 30 years ago".
"I don't remember what time it was - probably very slow compared to today's standards," she laughed.
At the top of her game, Melbourne-born Lisa was working towards swimming at the LA Olympics but fate intervened.
"Sadly, my timing was never right for the Commonwealth or Olympic games," she says. "I got sick with a blood condition before the 1984 games and had to stop swimming completely.
"When I returned, I went to the US on a swimming scholarship for a few years, studying at Illinois State University. But I never got fully back into it and it just wasn't the same."
Lisa, now 48, also spent time at the Australian Institute of Sport and her name appears on one of the honour boards at the elite facility - a feat that has impressed her off-spring first-hand.
"We went to Canberra for school camp in term one this year and I told my teacher about it and she wanted to see it, too," says Kate.
"We found it and I got photos pointing to my mum's name!"
This mother and daughter share many sporting similarities, but there's one telling difference: while Lisa succeeded in an extremely solitary pursuit, Kate has chosen to be a team player.
"Kate always played with a ball from a young age, so I knew early on I probably wouldn't get her into swimming," says Lisa, who works at Bendigo Health in organisational development.
"But I am happier she is doing team sports. Mixing with other kids is a fantastic opportunity to learn how to get on with others, to compromise and respect each others' differences.
"I loved swimming. I got to travel the world because of it, but it's a hard individual sport - I often spent six hours a day swimming up and down that black line.
"Now I think team sports teach you so much more."
Kate's biggest team challenge will come next year when she takes the field at the School Sport Australia national 12-and-under cricket championships in front of a home town crowd.
Bendigo is hosting the carnival from January 3-11 and the Team Vic girls will be coached by Gary Hughes, brother of former Aussie Test legend Merv.
Kate has several training sessions in Melbourne with Hughes before the big event.
"I'm hoping to get better with my social skills from this, because I am not a very confident person, and I'd like to improve my cricket skills as well," the quietly spoken Kate says.
"I am okay at bowling and batting, but since I have started to do wicket keeping, I have really got the gist of it and I think that is one of my strengths now."
Trying out for the squad may never have crossed Kate's mind if her cricket-loving school principal and a like-minded teacher hadn't suggested she give it a go.
She says she was inspired to take up the sport in the first place by another Girton role model - year one teacher Annette Holmes, who played senior women's pennant cricket in Melbourne aged nine, opened Victoria's batting for seven years and went on to play a Test against New Zealand.
Kate began in the under-9s, playing for Bendigo and Bendigo United before taking a break to pursue her basketball and netball.
She returned to the game briefly last year in inter-school Kanga Cricket and was then selected in the Northern Rivers squad for the 2013 under-14 state titles.
Despite her youth and inexperience, she was far from out of her depth. In one match, Kate top-scored with 13 retired, took 1/4 in her sole over, and snared two catches as well.
The carnival reminded her how much she had missed her cricket and, with state duties looming, she is back in action this season with the Bendigo club's under-13 side.
Sport is such a big part of Kate's life that her commitments make for a busy life in the Douglass household, which includes dad Dan and brother Wil.
"I don't know how we do it sometimes," laughs Lisa. "Luckily we have our training nights spread out nicely at present, though we have something on every night.
"But we'd rather be doing that than sitting at home watching TV."
Kate has played netball for three years and is a star at both ends, in goals and defence.
On the basketball court, she has been a Bendigo Braves junior squad member for four years and was recently selected in the under-14A squad for 2013-14.
She has represented Girton at netball, basketball, swimming, athletics and was the only girl in the senior primary footy team for inter-school competition this year.
She has won her school's swimming age group champion medal every year of primary school, and the athletics age champion award several times.
And as well as making the Victorian cricket team, Kate also tried out for state netball and basketball squads this year and got through the preliminary stages in both.
"I have always been an energetic person who can't sit still - I jiggle around," she says.
"And when I am watching TV, I just want to get up and kick a ball around the house, which I can't in case I break something. So I'll usually go and bounce one around outside instead."
Kate has a range of sporting idols who inspire her to aim high, including Bendigo Spirit stars Kristi Harrower and Gabe Richards, retired Test cricketer Mike Hussey and swim sensation Stephanie Rice.
She is even considering a career as a PE teacher so she can combine all her athletic endeavours without having to choose one over the other.
"Sport is all Kate ever talks about," says Lisa. "We are very proud of her, of course, but also proud that she is so humble."