How did NIAS play a part in your sporting journey?

I was very fortunate to be involved in the NIAS Lone Star Program. Becoming a NIAS athlete played a key role in becoming a professional athlete, though at the time I was just excited to have “made it” to a regional level.

What inspired you to be an elite athlete?

I always enjoyed playing sport, and while I dreamed of going to the Olympics, it was really a driving force in my life as a young child. I was more driven by the love of competing and the thrill of trying to improve. I was fortunate to be surrounded by a great coach and local club who provided me with an opportunity to play and practice. I think all these things somewhat unknowingly contributed to me becoming an elite athlete.

What advice would you give a young aspiring rural athlete?

Sometimes I am frustrated by the “rural athlete” card. I think it is too often used as an excuse as to why kids from the country can’t make it. I firmly believe that if you have the right work ethic and you surround yourself with people who can give you great feedback – there is no reason why you can’t chase down your sporting dreams.

What level of commitment and discipline does it take to be a professional athlete?

Obviously, the demands of professional sport are very high – but it doesn’t take anything particularly exceptional. It’s more daily decisions to improve- which often requires boring monotonous tasks like choosing to get out of bed, putting in a decent effort at training, paying attention to the small details, eating well, getting enough sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Can you share one special NIAS memory or moment?

The one that really stands out in my mind is when initially was accepted into the program. I was so nervous to be around other ‘athletes’ that I remember thinking it probably wasn’t worth it. As I look back now though, this was a really significant step that starting the ball rolling into state, national and international events.

Is there a particular NIAS coach, volunteer or program personnel who stands out/inspired you?

I have always been a big fan of Peter Annis-Brown, who was the then CEO. I have always admired the way he carries himself. As an adult I now understand that this is the outpouring of his lived values.