Katie Paxman is preparing for the biggest honour of her fledgling hockey career.
The Havant talent will next Saturday pull on a Great Britain jersey for the first time as she represents the national sports colleges side.
After catching the eye of selectors in a series of trials, the 17-year-old from Swanmore is set to make her debut at Kirkham Grammar School in Preston, Lancashire.
Paxman, who studies at Chichester College, will be part of the British team who will take on the hosts, Cheshire-based Wilmslow High School, George Warson’s College from Edinburgh and Somerset’s Millfield School in a round-robin format.
The centre-back admitted her rise to the Great Britain Sports Colleges side has come as a shock, having not been aware of the possibility a few months ago.
But egged on by her lecturer, Becky Gell, she went to trials in Southampton shortly before Christmas – and has now become a key member of the squad.
Paxman has represented the Wessex Leopards in the Futures Cup since she was an under-15.
However, this ranks as her biggest achievement to date.
‘It is very exciting but I had no idea about it until my teacher at college suggested I go to trial,’ she said.
‘The first trial was in Southampton, then I went up to Cannock a few weeks later and that is when the squad got selected.
‘There are 19 of us but they have selected a squad of 16 for the first tournament in Preston.
‘I got an email to say I’d been chosen in that group, which is really great.
‘We are meant to be going on a tour of the Netherlands at Easter, too.
‘If it happens, that will be really exciting as well.’
But first up for Paxman, who has been a key player in Havant’s South Club’s Women’s League division one campaign this term, is the tournament next weekend.
Despite playing most of her hockey in defence, the starlet may be pushed further forward in Lancashire.
But the teenager admitted she is not worried where she plays – even if, as she joked, communication could be a problem.
Paxman said: ‘When we went up to Cannock they put me as a mid and it felt really weird.
‘The coaches assured me I was doing fine but it felt odd.
‘We had a game at the end and, for the last part of that, I asked to play centre-back.
‘I wanted to show them what I could do there but I’m not sure how that went down, so I don’t know where I will be playing!
‘I wouldn’t mind, to be honest – I will just be happy to be involved.
‘There are a few girls there who I played against in the Futures Cup, so it’s been quite easy to make friends.
‘There are some interesting accents, though!’