State representatives thrive on extra training, dedication
IPSWICH softball representatives Joshua Harding and Jonathon Todd are proof that hard work and commitment to a team pay off.
Harding and Todd have been selected in the Queensland under-17 side preparing for the national titles in January.
Deebing Heights-based Harding said the professional preparation of Ipswich coaches Dave Denman and Greg Bulow helped him gain his first state club selection.
"I really appreciate the work time they've given to us boys over the past five months,'' Harding said. "They really helped me follow my dreams and made them come true.''
The St Edmund's College year 10 student pitched in eight and a half of Ipswich's nine games at the state titles.
"The fitness really came with the role and the coaches really helped with that,'' the teenager said.
The team trained for six hours on Saturdays and in two hour Wednesday night sessions leading up to the championships.
"It all paid off,'' he said.
The Ipswich side finished third at the state tournament, which was staged last month at the Chubb Street grounds.
Ipswich born and bred Harding plays for Tigers in the Ipswich competition.
He'd previously made state development teams before his latest under-17 honour.
"It (state selection) came as a bit of a surprise but I think my performance was really good,'' Harding said.
"It was probably one of the best tournaments I've played in my life so I was happy with it.''
Todd, 16, displayed his dedication by travelling regularly from Deception Bay to train and play for Ipswich.
The catcher/third baseman made the Queensland team for the first time having previously represented Tasmania.
Ipswich's defensive effort at the state titles was matched only by eventual winners Gladstone.
Todd was glad he played for Ipswich, thanking his parents for their help.
"I thought I needed a bit of a change,'' Todd said. "I tried out for the team and got in.''
Both players have higher goals after being recognised in the Queensland team.
"In about three-four years, there's an Australian under-19 team that's going into a world tournament so I want to make that,'' Todd said.
"Making the Queensland team, I'd now like to be selected for the Australian World Series, which is in two years,'' Harding said.
Before contemplating that though, the rising talents can focus on the national under-17 titles in the ACT early next year.