Silver medal on national stage

TOP EFFORT: West Gambier's Sarah Ritter - pictured in Saturday's Western Border netball round - recently won the silver medal as part of the SA state Under 19 netball team at the National Championships. Picture: James Murphy

James Murphy

WEST Gambier young-gun netballer Sarah Ritter won silver at the recent Australian Netball Championships.

As part of the Under 19 South Australian state team, she made the trip to Hobart for the event, which was held for the first time in three years due to Covid.

Only one team could best the South Australian side throughout the tournament, which was eventual gold medallist New South Wales.

A five-goal semi-final win over Victoria booked a place in the decider, before a tightly-contested clash with the undefeated NSW.

South Australia was in the lead throughout the first half, until a lapse in the third quarter allowed NSW in front.

They went on to win by just two goals in a nail-biting finish.

However, Ritter remained proud of the team’s achievement and was honoured to come home with the silver medal.

“It felt amazing and it was like a dream come true,” she said.

“Representing SA while playing the sport I love was such an honour for me.

“Winning silver just made it 10 times better.”

Having her family along for the trip made the win even more special, as she was able to celebrate with them after the match.

In a tough competition, Ritter said there were no easy games.

“We went into each game knowing that if we played our best that’s all we could do and the result would fall our way,” she said.

“Throughout the nationals there wasn’t an easy game and as the competition went on all teams got better and the games got harder.”

Ritter played in the goal attack position during the tournament and while she missed out on court time in the grand final, she was proud to have been part of the team’s journey.

“Getting silver out of all the states is still a massive achievement and I am so proud of the team,” she said.

“I have never got a medal like this so it is very special to me.

“The experience was so amazing and I will never forget it.”

Millicent’s Lucy Denton was the only member of the team Ritter had played with before, which added a further challenge to the competition.

However, she said throughout the training process and the tournament, she has made life-long friendships.

“As the trainings went on I got to know the girls more and we started to play really well together.

“Throughout this experience I have made some of my closet friends and will never forget them.

“The coaches taught me so much which has made me a better player and I am so grateful for that as well.”

Ritter had previously represented the state for basketball in 2019, while her netball achievements included winning the Country Championships for Western Border and earning A Grade best and fairest for West Gambier in 2021.

However, she said this latest accomplishment was her greatest so far.

Ritter has played netball for 10 years now and has spent her entire career with the Roos in the Western Border Netball Association.

At this stage she will not have any further state duties until trials start for the 2023 team.

With West looking to be a front-runner in the Western Border competition this season, Ritter will now turn her focus to her local court where she is an instrumental part of the Roos’ attacking lineup.