SARAH Ryder faces a daunting challenge when she represents Queensland at the national under-17 softball championships in January.
But she will tackle it with a smile on her face, whatever the result.
Wulkuraka resident Ryder is preparing for the national championships after earning Queensland selection at the state carnival last month in Brisbane.
The championships are to be held in Sydney in January.
Ryder said her selection was a surprise and not something she was striving for, despite her representing Queensland schools at under-19 level earlier this year. "I just like to get out there and have fun," the 16-year-old Ipswich State High School student said.
"Selection was the best part of the tournament."
Ryder chose to transfer from competing in the Ipswich Softball Association to Toowoomba this season in search of a new challenge, proving she is not one to remain in her comfort zone.
It could be the key to her success. "I just wanted to try something new," she said. "To meet new people and have fun."
Fun is a recurring theme when speaking to Ryder and she admits it is the reason she plays, rather than any representative honours.
But it doesn't mean she is without ambition or drive.
"My goals are just to practise, get better and work on my batting," she said.
She is also intent on seeing Queensland improve on last year's efforts at the national under-17 titles. They finished second then and Ryder sees no reason they can't win it this time. "Really good" was how she rated her state team's chances. "We're going to come back with that trophy."
She has been inspired by her role models in women's softball.
"Just watching the Australian girls play and everyone have fun (is what keeps me motivated)," she said. "Seeing the smiles on the faces when they're on the diamond."