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Accrington netball player scoops British netball prize
FRANCESCA Barrientos has capped a remarkable netball season that started with trials for the North West squad and ended by being named British Colleges’ player of the year.
The 18-year-old from Accrington helped the British College team win a national competition where she was awarded her top player accolade.
And her memorable 12 months was complete after she was also selected for Super League side Yorkshire Jets - again having successfully come through a tough trial process.
However, it is the player award that means so much especially as Francesca was in a squad full of top class talent.
“I was so proud to receive the award,” she said. “Particularly with the high calibre of players involves.”
But she has more than showed she is worthy of her place in such exalted company - and would love to go on and compete at an even higher level.
The talented netball player has come a long way in a short space of time since St Mary’s put her forward for the North West British Colleges trials.
From here she completed three rounds of rigorous trials, before being successfully chosen.
Francesca’s journey through to the squad began when she was selected at an afternoon of trials held at Blackburn College which led to a full days trial at Sheffield Institute of Sport.
Finally she was selected for the final trials held over a weekend at Nottingham University where she was successful and is now one of just 18 goals in the country to have been selected for the British Colleges squad.
While representing British College’s, Francesca required to attend six different weekends as well as the summer tour. During that tournament, the British College team played opponents from across the country, winning eight of their nine matches to be crowned overall champions.
Kelly Reynolds, sport and PE teacher at St Mary’s, says that her ‘outstanding’ student deserves....
“We are delighted with the award Francesca received, to be chosen for the national team itself was an achievement, but to be awarded 'Player of the Year' is outstanding,” she said.
“Full credit to Francesca for her effort and perseverance, especially with the squad standard being so high. To be selected for the Super League team shows her continued development and obvious sporting ability. At St Mary’s we will continue to support her netball success alongside her academic development.”
Francesca travels over to Leeds twice a week to train with the Jets and plays fixtures across the country on weekends.
Reynolds believes her star student is capable of playing at a higher level but also said Francesca understands how important her studies are.
“Francesca aims to progress as far as possible although works hard within her academic studies too,” she added. “I think Francesca would love to play at the highest level possible but also realises that her academic studies are relevant too.”
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