Parkes High School squash players vie for NSW selection

STATE REPS: Parkes High School squash players Sam Levick (15), Thomas Stechly (17) and Marley O'Shannessy (14) are among those who will represent the Western Region at this week's NSW Combined High Schools State Carnival. Photo: Christine Little
STATE REPS: Parkes High School squash players Sam Levick (15), Thomas Stechly (17) and Marley O'Shannessy (14) are among those who will represent the Western Region at this week's NSW Combined High Schools State Carnival. Photo: Christine Little

Not only does Parkes have two teams who are performing well in the NSW Combined High Schools (CHS) Squash Knockout competition, there are also three players competing in individual events at this week's CHS State Carnival.

That's the sporting talent coming out of Parkes High School at the moment and the athletes are eager to get stuck into the competition.

Fourteen-year-old Marley O'Shannessy, 15-year-old Sam Levick and 17-year-old Thomas Stechly are among those who will represent the Western Region at the state titles, which began today (July 2) and will run until Thursday (July 4) in Thornleigh.

The trio's selection follows successful trials in Parkes at the start of May.

Four boys and four girls make up each side, with Levick and Stechly joining players from Gulgong and Canowindra, and O'Shannessy joining two girls from Dunedoo and a player from Bathurst.

It's the first time Levick and Stechly have represented Western - with Levick formerly representing Hunter in the last two years before moving to Parkes from Singleton in May 2018 - while it's O'Shannessy's third year on the team.

A NSW under 15s and an opens side will be selected from performances at the State Carnival, who will play in the Tri Series involving NSW, Queensland and New Zealand, taking place in New Zealand.

O'Shannessy has high hopes for NSW selection again this year after making the under 15s in 2018 at 13 years old.

"I'm excited, I'm pretty happy I made the [Western] team even though I've been out for three months with a broken toe," she said.

Levick, who's been playing squash for about four years, said it will be his first time in the NSW side if he is selected and Stechly, who's been playing for three years, added it was a great honour to be selected and represent the Western Region.

"I feel really confident in the team picked this year (for the State Carnival)," Stechly said.

"I just want to try my hardest and make it to the next level."

Meanwhile in the team knockout, both Parkes High School's boys and girls teams are progressing through the competition after qualifying for the Western Region final.

This final took place in Parkes for the first time on May 24, where Parkes High managed to secure two spots into the next round.

The boys side consists of Levick and Stechly, Zac Redfern and Ben Evans, and the girls team includes O'Shannessy, Kacey Nightingale, Gemmah Neilsen, Maddison McCormack and Holly McColl.

There were places available in the next round for the top three western schools - one boys side and two girls teams.

Parkes' boys team are the Western Region Champions, beating Canowindra in the final, and the girls are runners-up to Dunedoo.

Both Parkes sides will join the Dunedoo girls to represent the region and will take on other regions across NSW in their quest for a top four position to head to the team state titles.

"In the last two years the boys have been knocked out of the competition at the Western Region level by one point," Parkes Squash Centre's Judy Kross said.

"This is the first time in two years they've qualified.

"The last two years the girls have made the top four in NSW and were runners-up to Dunedoo in those years."

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