Ava Black continues to excel on her netball pathway after being selected in the 19/U Australian squad for 2022-23.
The Sunshine Coast Lightning training partner and Queensland Vice-Captain was one of 26 19/U squad members chosen following the 2022 National Netball Championships in Hobart.
Nine of those players already are involved with Suncorp Super Netball teams, a figure that highlights the opportunities to emerge from Australia’s pathway programs.
Speaking before the championships, Black said she was inspired by her Lightning teammates and motivated to make the most of her learning opportunities at the Club.
Lightning Assistant Coach Chris Voge has been impressed with the midcourter’s capacity to juggle Super Netball, state league and 19/U commitments, and with the tools she has added to an already accomplished skillset.
“It is very exciting for Ava to be selected in Netball Australia 19/U year squad and to have this pathway opportunity available for athletes again after two years of COVID-affected cancellations for our underage athletes,” Voge said.
“I have particularly been impressed with Ava’s improvement since joining the Lightning squad. She has built a new capacity to use her natural speed and explosiveness in smart attacking movements.
“Additionally, Ava has worked hard to develop a strong one-on-one defensive pressure to challenge her midcourt opponents.”
Black’s 19/U team finished fifth at the Nationals after recording five victories at the carnival, including success against highly rated Victoria.
Her elevation to the national squad was part of a process headed by a selection panel made up of Netball Australia’s Chair Pathway Selector Michelle Wilkins, Pathway Head Coach Anita Keelan and selector Jenny Borlase.
“The talent did not disappoint selectors and supporters in Hobart,” Wilkins said.
“This competition is critical for the selection of our pathway talent and the ensuring of the Origin Australian Diamonds’ future success, and there is certainly a future Diamond listed within this year’s underage national squads.
“The quality and standard of performance was exceptional and, as importantly, the competitiveness, passion and sense of fair play was testament to the strength of our sport.”
Netball Australia will deliver training camps later this year for selected athletes as an opportunity to develop their on and off court skills, and provide elite match day exposure.