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Trent College’s history-making hockey talents are being urged to "take their chances" as all three of the girls' teams prepare to do battle at the U14, U16 and U18 Investec National Schools Hockey Championships next week.
This is the first time that all three of the school’s girls’ teams have qualified for their respective nationals in the same year and, in doing so, Trent College will be the only school in the country to be represented in each of the age-group finals at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at Olympic Park.
The U14s, who have qualified for the nationals as Midlands regional champions, get proceedings underway with their finals on Tuesday 28 February, before the U18s and U16s contest their tournaments over Wednesday and Thursday (1-2 March). The format for both events is three round robin pool games from which the top two teams in each pool progress to the final or third/fourth place play-off match.
Mark Wadsley, Trent College Head of Hockey, has just one message for the girls.
“They need to be positive, enjoy the occasion and take their chances,” he said. “I believe all three teams can be competitive and it would be great if we had at least one team playing for a medal.
“All the girls have fully committed to preparing for these tournaments this term, mixing their academic studies and netball with extra hockey. To even have all three teams at the nationals is a great achievement. Trent College is not a huge school compared to many others and so all our girls do everything. It shows how determined and resilient they are to have achieved what they have so far.”
As part of their preparations the girls recently enjoyed a visit from Rio 2016 gold medal winning hockey hero, Alex Danson, who passed on her expert advice and insight as she put them through their paces on the Astroturf. In addition, the teams have been training once a week, including during half-term, and have contested a few friendly matches against local clubs and universities.
With Trent College enjoying close links with Beeston, Belper and Leicester hockey clubs too, the girls have been getting plenty of competitive practice.
Mr Wadsley added: “Getting all three teams to the national finals in the same year has been our target as we’ve built girls’ hockey at Trent College over the past five years. The next step is for our teams to start challenging for the titles, and the experiences they get from playing under pressure as often as possible will stand them in excellent stead for making that step."