Benalla basketball duo Charlotte Quilliam, 12, and Milly Evans, 12, have been selected to participate in the Gold Nugget Camp in Ballarat later this month where they will compete for a spot in the Southern Cross Challenge in January.
The Gold Nugget Camp is an intense one-off training camp for the best under-14 players from regional academies across Victoria.
Charlotte and Milly, who play in the Wangaratta domestic competition and with representative teams in Melbourne every Friday, said they were excited to show what they've got alongside the best in the state.
“My last camp was really fun, I got to meet a whole heap of new people and learn new skills and made really good friends with those in my rep team," Charlotte said.
“I had only just moved across to (the Wangaratta competition) for the rep team, and I didn’t really know anyone, but that really helped to get to know everyone."
The Gold Nugget Camp is one of the most important camps in Victoria Country’s basketball pathway, with a focus on providing the ground work for junior athletes to be successful as they move through the different age groups.
For Milly, basketball has been in her blood since she was five and it seems the sky is the limit when it comes to her aspirations in the sport.
“I’ve always wanted to be a part of the WNBA and make a career out of basketball,” Milly said.
Both players will be supported by the Benalla Young Sportspersons Trust when they head to Ballarat from September 25-27, with the trust granting athletes $200 for regional events.
Trustee Karen Edwards said the trust was going from strength to strength recently, with continued support coming in from local community organisations as well as an increase in applications from junior athletes seeking backing.
“We hope to ease that burden with country kids. The access to all that they need to do generally means if they move out of a domestic competition, they have to start paying costs and travelling,” Edwards said.
“All those costs can quickly add up, particularly if you’re traveling across the countryside like (Milly and Charlotte) and every little bit absolutely helps.
“We continue to support them as they move through these various levels as well, so hopefully that will be the case with the girls; they’ll get to that next level.”