SHE was a driving force behind Oberon's record number of junior hockey players in 2021, she was a key in St Joseph's getting a weekly hockey program and she's a representative goalkeeper - Grace Yeo is certainly one to watch.
Her efforts to help others discover a passion for hockey has led the remarkable 11-year-old from Oberon to being one of the finalists in the 2022 NSW Women of the Year Awards.
Not surprisingly, she is one of 10 finalists in the One To Watch category. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, but Yeo has already proven herself to be an inspiration.
"We're incredibly proud," Grace's mother Jaclyn Yeo said.
"She was nominated for the award and we received word two weeks ago she was a finalist. She was surprised and thrilled.
"We're really excited to see the other finalists and what they've been nominated for, we think the categories will be quite diverse."
Grace followed her mother into the sport and as a 10-year-old she played for the Oberon Junior Hockey Association's under 13s.
It did not take long for her to find her favourite position.
"Everybody had to have a turn in goals and she just loved it - it's certainly not my position, I couldn't think of anywhere worse to be, but she just loved it, took it to heart and always volunteered to be goalkeeper," Jaclyn said.
Grace has gone on to represent Bathurst in both under 11s and under 13s. At the 2021 under 13s state titles in Grafton, she highlighted her determination when padding up and frustrating many rivals who were three years older than her with her goalkeeping skills.
Off the field Grace is just as determined and passionate about hockey.
She successfully petitioned her school principal to include the sport in the Australian Government Sporting Schools program for 2021 and handed out 100 registration pamphlets to her fellow students, which led to Oberon having its strongest ever junior participation.
"It was something we spoke about at a club level, about trying to drive a bit more recruitment, and she took that and ran with it," Jaclyn said of her push to get more juniors involved.
"We helped her out with the newsletter and recruitment stuff and she went ahead and handed it out to all the kids at school and encouraged her friends to play."
This season Grace is keen to continue her involvement with hockey. She'll again play juniors for Oberon and as she will turn 12, is also hoping to compete alongside her mother.
"We think she's going to have a few turns in seniors this year as well, she's hit the right age. So she's looking forward to that and is excited," Jaclyn said.
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