For emerging softball talent Layhnee Kearnes, endless commutes between Wagga and Sydney are about to pay off.
After missing the cut in agonising fashion last year, Kearnes will debut as NSW’s only regional player at the Under 17 National Championships on the weekend.
Kearnes competed for the ACT in last year’s nationals, but expects her time with NSW to be drastically different.
“It’s a whole different ball game with NSW, the training is so much harder, the standard is higher and even the trials were intense,” she said.
“I started every single game with the ACT but with NSW I’ll have to fight really hard just to start in any of the games.”
The Wagga local added that her nerves were sky-high ahead of the tournament, but said she would eventually get them under control.
“It’s all I’ve been thinking about, going to camp on Friday and then starting to play the actual games,” she said.
“I’ve just been trying to do things that don’t involve softball to give myself a break from thinking about it.”
The youngster dreams of one day playing at the Olympics alongside sister Montana, and sees this as a positive step towards that dream.
The National Championships run from January 6-12.