Shepparton’s Sophie Winmar and Kyabram’s Nikki Genio have been selected in the national Indigenous schoolgirls’ team, the Budgies.By Hannah Driscoll
Shepparton’s Sophie Winmar and Kyabram’s Nikki Genio have been selected in the national Indigenous schoolgirls’ team, the Budgies.
Winmar and Genio played for Victoria in the National Indigenous School Girls’ Carnival from last Monday to Thursday at Tallebudgera, near Burleigh Heads in Queensland.
Genio, 16, was selected in the open side and 14-year-old Winmar was selected in the Budgies’ 16-and-under side.
Genio is a Kyabram P-12 College student who played in Stanhope’s 17-and-under premiership last year, while Winmar attends Shepparton High School and played for Rumbalara’s 15-and-under side.
The journey to selection for the Budgies began in November when both girls took part in trials for the Victorian sides in Geelong.
Winmar’s 16-and-under side went through undefeated at the carnival, while Genio’s open side finished third behind winner NSW and runner-up South Queensland, but she said it was the only team to defeat NSW throughout the week.
Both girls are midcourt specialists and Winmar played six games plus finals, while Genio said she played three games each day.
They were also completing training sessions for the Budgies on top of their other playing commitments and Genio said the rigorous schedule took its toll.
‘‘About Wednesday it started taking its toll and I had to get a few massages,’’ Genio said.
The Budgies teams were announced at the end of the carnival and neither Winmar or Genio had been confident they would earn a place.
‘‘I wasn’t too confident, I thought I might have had a chance, but I didn’t think it was that great,’’ Genio said.
‘‘I was very pleased and shocked with it too.’’
Winmar was selected in the 14-and-under Budgies team last year, but said she did not think she could repeat the feat.
‘‘There was other girls who were good up there,’’ Winmar said.
Genio said this was a great experience and she was proud to represent her school.
‘‘It was amazing. I met so many different girls and they were all so welcoming and it was just a great experience to play against better players,’’ Genio said.
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