24 April 2024

Green and gold honours for Cooktown underwater hockey quartet

| Lyndon Keane
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The Queensland Elite Women team, including Cooktown players Sienna Thomason and Amber Frame, celebrate after their historic gold medal performance at the 2024 Australian Underwater Hockey Nationwide Championships in Cairns. Photo: Facebook.

Four Cooktown underwater hockey stars will swap maroon for green and gold in Malaysia in July after being selected to compete on the international stage.

Rocco Thomason, Sam Ryder, Sienna Thomason and Amber Frame have been announced as inclusions in the under-19 and U24 Australian teams following stellar performances for their state at the 2024 Australian Underwater Hockey Nationwide Championships in Cairns from 11-15 April.

Rocco was named as captain of the U19 line-up, with Cooktown Crocs teammate Eli Carrol also on standby as a reserve player for the team.

In total, 13 Crocs competed for Queensland at the national championships across seven divisions, with the U15 A, U19 and Elite Women teams finishing the competition with gold medals.

Jett Ryder was a standout leader as he captained the U15 A team to victory, while Sam, Rocco, Sienna and Amber showed off the skills that got them Australian selection to help the U19 team win gold for the third year in a row.

In a busy schedule for all players, Sienna and Amber backed up to help the Elite Women team create championships history by winning gold for the first time, with the latter securing most valuable player honours for her effort.

Crocs coach Scott Thomason, who also coached both U15 teams and donned his mask and fins to play in the Masters division, said he was incredibly proud of all Cooktown competitors, adding Australian selection from within the had been a goal for a number of seasons.

READ ALSO Cooktown Crocs ready to put bite into national underwater hockey championships

“World championships has been something our young athletes have been striving for over last few years, and their hard work and commitment has finally paid off,” he said.

He added he believed the distance his players had to travel to train and compete, especially at representative level, was part of the formula to the small club’s success.

“Another big part of the Cooktown’s success is we don’t have the ideal facilities for underwater hockey,” Thomason explained.

“Our pool is concrete bottom with a drop-off; the juniors have to learn good techniques and skills in this pool, and it shows when they get the chance to play in the more modern tile pools.

“The kids are also renowned for their Cooktown mongrel and toughness, which comes from all the hard work they put in training and fundraising.

“We are so grateful for the support the Cooktown community shows with our underwater hockey players; they help with fundraising and really get behind these young athletes.”

The Crocs players to represent Queensland in Cairns were:

U15 A team
Jett Ryder (captain), Cruz Ryder, Yindili Kamholtz

U15 B development team
Micah Parkes (vice-captain), Leyton Deeral, Caleb Kamholtz, Joshua Slykerman

U19 A team
Rocco Thomason (captain), Sienna Thomason (vice-captain), Sam Ryder, Amber Frame

U19 B team
Eli Carrol (captain)

Elite Men
Rocco Thomason, Sam Ryder

Elite Women
Sienna Thomason, Amber Frame

Scott Thomason

The Cooktown Crocs pose for a team photo before getting to work at the national underwater hockey championships. Photo: Facebook.

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