When you consider the amount of hurdles Wauchope teenager Laicy Costigan had to overcome just to trial for the New South Wales under-17 netball team it becomes obvious she had a mountain to climb.
So it's even more remarkable when the Wauchope High School student had her name read out as part of the team set to travel to Tasmania in April this year.
The 16-year-old thought her dream was over before it had even started when she was struck down with COVID two days before the first selection trial.
A successful exemption and two further trials later, she had achieved a goal that originally appeared unlikely at best.
"I was happy just to get to the second stage," she said.
"Being a regional girl I wasn't expecting to get into a New South Wales state team up against all the Sydney and Newcastle girls. It's not very usual."
Laicy admits she was still feeling the after-effects of the virus even after obtaining the exemption that allowed her to compete in the second phase of the selection trials.
"They didn't have a minimum time you could play so you could have played one game or six, it depended on who they wanted to look at," she said.
"I have sport-induced asthma and it was playing up beforehand and then when I had COVID it hit me really hard because I tried to do a little bit of netball practice for phase two and I couldn't breathe at all.
"I was stressing out, doubted whether I could do it and thought there was no chance of getting out on the court and completing a whole game."
With the selection trials a number of weeks behind schedule the Wauchope Netball Club wing attack conceded she had her fair share of luck.
"I was not expecting it whatsoever. I was very, very surprised. I thought I might have had a chance in the Emerging Talent team, but you never know with the selectors.
"The next thing I know my name was on the list, mum sent me a message saying 'you're in' so I was stoked."
But luck doesn't often come around if you don't work hard for it.
"I've been going to the gym most mornings before school and after school just doing as much training as I can whether it's long-distance or short, intense stuff just to try and get as fit as I can."
While Laicy will take any opportunity to further her netball career should one present itself, she's also happy not to put any added pressure on herself.
"I want to play with the most experienced girls in the state and get that elite coaching every week because I've never had that in Wauchope so it will be a great experience to get that kind of coaching," she said.
"I just want to see as far as I can go and take the opportunities as they come. If an opportunity comes to progress further it's definitely something I would go for."
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