Young stars hunting more medals

Published 2:00pm 7 March 2024

Young stars hunting more medals
Words by Nick Crockford

Five Moreton Bay water polo stars want to add to their 2024 medal haul this month after superb displays in the southern hemisphere’s biggest youth tournament.

Mara and Amelie Hoefel (above), Abbie McDonald, Mia Doyle and Tian Markart will be in action at the Brisbane League play-offs, which start this weekend.

They follow the Australian Youth Championships which attracted more than 200 teams and 3000 athletes from Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Against tough opposition, Redcliffe sisters Mara and Amelie won gold medals, Abbie silver, Mia bronze and Tian the Most Valuable Goalkeeper in his age group.

Young stars hunting more medals
Abbie McDonald, who won a silver medal, in action during the championships.

Mara played with the Mermaids 12Pink side which beat All Hallows Blue 7-3 in the gold medal match to win their national title.

Amelie was in the Mermaids 16Pink team which defeated Sydney Breakers 11-8 for the gold medal.

It was the first time the sisters, both students at Redcliffe State High School, had won a national title in the same week and on the same day.

"It was such an amazing experience to come away with a gold medal and national title and to share that with my sister on the day is unbelievable," Mara said.

Mia Doyle with her bronze medal from the Australian Youth Championships

Grace Lutheran student Abbie went all the way to the final of the 18 and Under Girls’ Division with North Brisbane Polo Bears, based at Albany Creek.

The Bears lost 18-8 to visiting team MATS, a US side avenging defeat in last year's final, but won silver medals and Australia's highest place for that division.

Mia, also at Grace and representing the Bears, came away with a bronze medal from a tight play-off against Sydney Uni Blue. Bears won 12-10 to take third place.

Mueller College student Tian, who plays for UQ Barracudas, was awarded the Most Valuable Goalkeeper award for the 18 and Under Boys’ Division.

Tian Markart who was named Most Valuable Goalkeeper in the 18 and Under Boys' Division

His team, UQ Barras Purple, fell one goal short of claiming bronze, going down 11-10 to Melbourne Collegians in a close, hard-fought game.

The fifth Australian Youth Championships were from January 5-16 at Brisbane Aquatic Centre and other city venues.

More than 800 matches were played, watched by more than 28,000 spectators.

The Brisbane League play-offs have quarter-finals on Saturday, semi-finals March 16 and finals March 23.

More pictures - click through

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