Talent runs in Keely's family

STAR PLAYER: Keely McConnell.
STAR PLAYER: Keely McConnell. Rebekah Yelland

NETBALL: As a third generation netballer,a passion for the sport runs in Keely McConnell's blood.

Her talent was recognised at the Capricorn Region Presentation Dinner recently where the 15-year-old was awarded the Capricorn Academy Shield by former Silver Ferns captain Ana Noovao.

"It was unexpected but pretty cool to win it out of all the girls,” McConnell said.

McConnell is part of the Capricorn Regional Academy Squad for 14 to 16-year-olds, gaining selection earlier this year.

With just a skills development camp left to attend next month, the presentation dinner celebrated the past season and hard work of the Capricorn Claws open side, the under-19 team and the academy squad.

The 2017 season has been a busy one for the Marist College Year 10 student who was juggling squad duties as well as her studies.

"It hasn't been too bad, some weekends are hard juggling weekend competitions and assignments but as long as I am managing my time, it's ok,” she said.

"It's the first year I've been in the Capricorn Academy Squad but last year I was on the regional development squad.”

Other representative duties McConnell fulfilled this year included being part of the Marist College team at the Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Netball competition, securing a place at the emerging talent camp and gaining selection on the U16 Premier League team and the U15 Central Highlands and Emerald Netball representative sides.

"My favourite part is the friends you make from netball and meeting all the teams and players from the towns as well as all the netball,” she said.

McConnell has been playing since she was six-years-old and has a solid supporter base in her mum and grandma.

"Grandma watches when she can get there but mum is always there, whether she is coaching or cheering,” she said.

While McConnell joked her mum is her greatest source of motivation, she said a successful season is the reward for the months spent building her skills and talents.

McConnell will enjoy some downtime during the season break until February next year but is also planning on retaining her position on the squad.

"You definitely learn a lot more than just the basic training and being able to put it all into play has been good,”McConnell said of representative netball.

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