Bendigo teenager Campbell Evans has taken the next step in his hockey development by earning selection in the School Sport Victoria under-16 squad to play at the national championships.
The Year 10 student at Catherine McAuley College will be goalkeeper for his state against the best 16-year-olds in Australia in the tournament which will be held in New Town, Tasmania, from July 30-August 6.
"It's amazing, it's really enjoyable to be part of this squad with people I really enjoy playing sport with,'' Evans said.
The 16-year-old is the only player schooled outside of Melbourne and Geelong to make the squad.
The Sandhurst Hockey Club member was selected in the squad on the back of some impressive performances at a three-stage trial process earlier this winter.
"You had to work your heart out to be seen,'' Evans said.
"It was tough. I was happy with the way I played and didn't let many goals through."
Evans said Queensland and Western Australia would be the teams to beat at the national carnival.
"It would be great if we could jump up and get a medal,'' he said.
As a goalkeeper, Evans would be more than happy if he doesn't see much of the ball in Tasmania.
Being a goalkeeper can be a thankless task, but it's one that Evans savours.
"I've always been a goalie from the day I started,'' Evans, who has played hockey for 10 years, said.
"The challenge of having to almost look after the team is the best part of it."
Aside from playing locally with Sandhurst, Evans travels to Melbourne up to three times a week to train and play with MCC at under-16 and senior level.
"My long-term goal is to play in the Premier League with MCC and, hopefully, play for Australia, but that's a long journey,'' he said.
"Playing with MCC has been huge. Five of my team-mates in the state team play with me at MCC."
Evans said he was "very lucky" to have the support of his family so that he can chase his hockey dream in Melbourne.
"My family works very hard, so that I can play hockey and enjoy it."
St Arnaud's Duncan Jackson, who now attends Melbourne Grammar, is also in the under-16 boys state squad, while Wedderburn's Shelby Giorlando will play for the under-16 girls team.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.