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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3449

Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (09:38): Recently I had the great pleasure to present local sporting champion grants to some of our dynamic young sports boys and girls at an afternoon tea in my electorate of La Trobe. The Local Sporting Championship program is an Australian government initiative designed to provide financial assistance for young people aged between 12 and 18.

I congratulate the following rising stars. Berwick's Sophia Locandro received her grant to play in the school sport Australian basketball championships. At just 13 years of age, Sophia is already a veteran of the Dandenong Rangers representative system. Sophia first started playing at the age of just seven after watching her older cousins get so much enjoyment out of the sport.

Rachel Guy received her grant to attend the Australian women's under-15 hockey championships. Rachel is determined to play hockey for Australia one day. But for now, the 15-year-old from Berwick has her sights set on winning gold at the hockey championships. Rachel took out top goal scorer in the Waverley under-14s girls team last year, scoring an incredible 23 goals throughout the season.

Emerald's Bryce Haesler is a local gymnast who is being helped to participate in the Australian championships. Sixteen-year-old Bryce was previously selected for the state squad and has picked up a gold medal. Bryce began gymnastics at the age of two. Narre Warren South hockey player Samantha Wagg received a grant for the national indoor hockey championships. Samantha's parents, Phil and Sandi, played the sport in the state league. Samantha made her Victorian debut at the Pacific School Games a few years ago, where she and her teammates settled for a runners-up finish to the New South Wales team after a nail-biting penalty stroke ending.

Belgrave South's 14-year-old Jessica Brown has received a grant to help with her expenses to attend the Australian Interschool Equestrian Championships. The nine-year-old Beaconhills College student has been training with her 19-year-old horse, Lakevale Wizard—known as Wiz. Jessica is a member of the Hallam Valley Pony Club. Year 9 student, Aaron Currie at Fountain Gate Secondary College was presented with the grant for outstanding performance in his chosen sport, lacrosse.

Congratulations must also go to other grant recipients: Mike Jarrod and the Target Rifle Victoria Team for the youth national championships, Steve Dawson for his participation in the under-19 boys softball championships, Hayden Trezise for under-17 boys softball championships, Montana Chavasse for School Sports Victoria under-12 girls softball and Dylan Donnelly for the under-14 nationals. I congratulate all these fantastic sports stars.