Striving for success

CYCLING STAR: Sarah Dally pictured with the cycling medals she won this year. Picture: supplied.

Jeff Huddlestone

REGIONAL communities and cities like Mount Gambier are often the nurturing grounds for stars of the future in sport, education and eventual careers.

The close-knit community involvement and encouragement from family, friends and community organisations help the transition from student and sports involvement to the workforce.

So far succeeding in that transition is 18-year-old Mount Gambier woman Sarah Dally.

The born and bred local, Ms Dally attended Reidy Park Primary School and Mount Gambier High School (MGHS).

Sport and study have been a formative part of Ms Dally’s life.

She has played netball, basketball and has been involved with athletics.

Ms Dally’s latest pursuit is track cycling, which is an Olympic sport, and she was invited to train with the South Australian Sports Institute.

Ms Dally made the State team which recently competed nationally in Brisbane and internationally there against New Zealand in the Oceanic games in her first triple representative outing.

She contemplates the dream of Olympic gold in track cycling.

“The ultimate goal would be representing my country,” Ms Dally said.

Ms Dally has made the transition from student to staff member at MGHS.

She won a health and physical education traineeship which she is completing now during her gap year.

“I work in the PE office and support some classes,” she said.

“I teach a little bit, especially during teacher absences.

“I help organise sports camps, excursions and school competitions locally.”

Ms Dally has been accepted for a double degree in sport exercise and psychology, which she will undertake at the University of South Australia, and aims to become a sports psychologist.

With an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) of 97.30, Ms Dally was named Dux of MGHS last year.

“I still pinch myself sometimes,” Ms Dally said.

“I was not expecting that ATAR.”

She said she enjoys studying and learning.

“I guess I look to find a balance; sleeping enough, eating well and not always just focused on study,” she said.

In year 12 she studied general maths, English, psychology, a research project and certificate threes in business and fitness.

On presentation night, she took out awards for best all-rounder, citizenship and sportsperson of the year awards.

Ms Dally was also the school’s vice-captain for her senior year.

She was also a rural youth ambassador and participated in a round-table with politicians and education authorities in Adelaide and Canberra and put forward ideas to make things better for rural students.

Key ideas were a greater collaboration between local schools, a careers expo involving a wide range of employers, and a focus on student mental health.

“Often people in the city don’t really think about the issues or challenges that we have in the country,” Ms Dally said.

“It was amazing to have such an impact on people.”

Ms Dally will continue as an intern to help organisers and this year’s students who become rural ambassadors.

She urges her peers to simply enjoy what they are doing and have the right people around them.

“It is really important to have some incredible people, teachers, friends, parents supporting me,” Ms Dally said.

“I wouldn’t be here without them.”