HUGE EFFORT: Indoor hockey star Riley Sutherland has been named among 12 nominees for the 2020 Norske Skog Young Achiever of the Year Award.
At just 21-years-old Kiewa’s Riley Sutherland has already lived out one of her childhood fantasies by donning green and gold.
The indoor hockey sensation will look back on 2019 fondly as it marked her Australian debut for the under-21 indoor hockey side in Russia.
Sutherland said the experience was a dream come true.
“Russia is definitely a highlight,” she said.
“I scored a couple of goals so that topped it off a little bit.
“I’d watch the Hockeyroos on TV and sort of go yeah, it’d be pretty cool to pull on the green and gold one day, so that was pretty exciting.”
Sutherland started playing outdoor hockey competing at state level before making the switch indoors when she was 14.
“A lot of my friends were playing indoor and told me to come and play,” she said.
“One of my previous coaches said I should go so I had a trial, got in and have done it ever since.
“I haven’t missed an indoor tournament yet.”
The Sutherland family also has a strong connection to the sport with mum, Donna, competing at state level and Riley’s uncle Troy previously competing at the World Cup.
“We had a training camp in Wollongong before we went (to Russia) and my uncle was in the men’s team,” she said.
“They ran the open’s and 21’s teams together, so I was in the women’s section and he was with the open.
“It was pretty cool to run alongside him.”
Sutherland’s two younger sisters, Macey and Summer, are also keen hockey players, allowing for some friendly competition at home.
“It can be a bit heated, but it’s just healthy competition,” she said.
Riley was recently named among 12 nominees for the 2020 Norske Skog Young Achiever of the Year Award for her outstanding sporting achievements.
But she wasn’t the only Sutherland to appear on the list.
“I found out over email and thought it was pretty cool and then Macey said she had an email and then Summer said she had one as well, so we’re all in it,” Sutherland said.
“Being the 25th year of the award as well I think it’s a bit more exciting.”
Sutherland is heading into her third year of studying podiatry at Charles Sturt University’s Albury campus.
While juggling her studies and working as a pool lifeguard, Sutherland also maintains her training to stay on top of her game.
“A lot of it comes down to fitness, building strength and speed,” she said.
While the Australian representative player was unable to attend World Cup selections for next year, her goal is to make the squad next time the event comes round.
Source – The Border Mail, 29.01.2020