Georgia Stroud is continuing her family’s sporting legacy by performing at a high level on three different fronts.
Stroud, 17, is the only Christchurch netballer to be named in the 23-strong New Zealand secondary school squad for 2018. She was selected following a national development camp in Cambridge with 60 of the top secondary school netballers.
“I didn’t really know if I was strong enough to make it, but I’m just so stoked,” said Stroud.
Sporting talent runs deep in her family. Stroud’s mother Helen Mahon-Stroud played rugby for the Black Ferns, as well as provincial level netball, athletics, and surf lifesaving.
She was also coach of the Mainland Tactix from 2008-2011, and held a high-performance role with New Zealand Cricket. Helen also coaches Stroud’s netball team at Villa Maria College.
Her father Alan Stroud is a former All White goalkeeper. He played three games for New Zealand during the 80s and 90s and won numerous Chatham Cup titles with Christchurch United.
The year 13 student also has a strong background in middle distance running, regularly competing in the 400, 800 and 1500m during the summer.
Stroud was part of Villa Maria’s 4 x 400m team which won the national secondary school title in 2016 and silver last year. In April, the 4 x 400m team also broke a South Island record when they ran 4min 0.14sec.
Her sporting abilities don’t end there. Stroud is a national surf lifesaving champion.
She won both gold and silver for Taylors Mistake in the 2km beach run at the New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships last year.
She took out the under-19 race before going on to finish second in the open women’s event.
“I’ve always been told growing up, you’ve got to do as much as you can,” said Stroud.
“When I leave school, it will be time to make a decision on which direction I go. But at the moment, I’m still trying to keep them all open. I like having a summer and winter season. It’s good to keep things varied, it makes it more exciting.”
Her athletic abilities on the track and beach appear to be paying a dividend on the netball court. Stroud believes her middle distance running has helped shape her key attribute.
“Fitness is my point of difference. I’ve been working on my strength over the summer. I went to the development camp last year but I was so much smaller and less confident.”
This year Stroud will also experience netball at a high-performance club level.
She has been named in an extended squad for the Mainland Beko League netball team.
Outside of school, training, and patrolling the beach, Stroud also manages to find time to work part-time at her dad’s pub – O’Sheas Public House – with her younger sister Lucy.
“You’ve got to get fuel money somehow, but it’s lots of fun. Dad loves it when we’re there, hanging out with his mates, it’s so cool, it’s almost not work.”
A final New Zealand secondary school team will be named after the NZ age group championships in July. They will build-up to matches against the Australian under-17 squad in Canberra in September.