School Sport SA, state team honours for Blackfriars students

When it comes to sport, Blackfriars students are kicking some goals  … and making a splash … and hitting home runs.

We meet seven Secondary students representing their state on the national scene in 2024.

Owen Delany/Joshua Henry

For the first time in many years, Blackfriars has two representatives in School Sport South Australia AFL teams.

Joshua Henry (Year 10) will travel to the Gold Coast in late July to represent Blackfriars and South Australia in the inaugural School Sport Australia Games.

Owen Delany has been named to his first School Sport SA team and will head to Geelong in August.

And Owen Delany (Year 7) heads to Geelong in early August with SA’s U12 team.

For Owen, 12, who has been playing football for seven years and is a midfielder with the Walkerville Cats, this is the first time he has been selected for a School Sport SA team.

And that selection came as a bit of a surprise.

“I had my last trial and I was in the forward and then the ball would always be in the back line, and when I was back, the ball would always be forward,” says Owen, who is training several times a week in the lead up to the School Sports Australia Championship.

“So, I wasn’t that confident and then the next day I got the call to say I’d made the team. It’s very exciting.”

 He models his game on that of Geelong legend and four-time premiership player Joel Selwood.

“He is a really good player. I admire him and I want to be a captain of an AFL team just like him,” says Owen, who is an Adelaide Crows supporter.

Meanwhile, Josh’s selection on the state schools team caps off a stellar few months, playing as one of the younger members of North Adelaide’s U16 SANFL side.

Ryan Stradling

When Year 12 student Ryan Stradling returned from representing South Australia at the recent School Sport Australia U18 Baseball Championships, it was with a bronze medal around his neck.

Ryan, a member of the East Torrens Redsox Baseball Club, was also named MVP in SA’s pool game against Western Australia at last month’s championships, in Canberra.

Baseball is a family affair for Ryan, whose dad, James, is originally from San Diego and grew up playing the sport.

He has been fortunate to attend baseball games in the US, where it is one of the biggest sports in the country.

“I love playing it, it’s really fun,” says Ryan, who plays every position, including pitcher and catcher.

Despite baseball being somewhat of a fringe sport in Australia, Ryan recommends more people “give it go”.

Ryan also plays in Blackfriars’ 1st XVIII football team.

Ryan Stradling represented SA in baseball.

Khoa Nguyen

He is a relative newcomer to the sport, but Year 8 student Khoa Nguyen is making a name for himself on the badminton court.

Khoa, 13, only took up badminton two years ago, playing with his mum’s social team.

“I was just playing with my mum’s friends, just having fun,” says Khoa, who will be part of South Australia’s U15 side at the 2024 YONEX Australian Championships in Wanneroo, Western Australia, in July.

“Then some coaches noticed my talent and then I started get more training. I have been training every day.”

Khoa was also named on the U15 state team in 2023, but broke his ankle before the championships. This year, he will compete in the individual and teams competitions.

“It’s a really cool sport and I can have some fun with my friends,” he says.

Khoa Nguyen will represent SA in badminton.

Antony Barresi

2024 has been a breakout year for swimmer and Year 10 student Antony Barresi.

In January, the Norwood Swimming Club member travelled to Perth, making his national debut in the 5km event at the Australia Open Water Championships.

In April, he competed in his first Australian Age Championships, finishing an impressive 12th in the 15-year-old boys 200m butterfly.

He was then selected to his inaugural School Sport SA team, to compete in the School Sport Australia Games, on the Gold Coast, in July.

Antony took up competitive swimming after being part of Blackfriars SAPSASA team. A keen surf lifesaver, he also took part in this year’s Australian Surf Life Saving Championships (The Aussies), on the Sunshine Coast.

The U16 champion at this year’s Secondary Swimming Carnival is coached by Blackfriars old scholar Luke Curtis (BPS’08).

Antony Barresi will be part of the inaugural School Sport Australia Games. Picture: GetSnapt

Jack Galkowski

Jack Galkowski will pack his beanie and his bathers when he heads to a chilly Hobart in July to represent South Australia in water polo.

Year 7 student Jack is part of SA’s U13 team which will compete in the 2024 National Development Carnival.

His water polo journey started at Blackfriars as a Year 3 student. A year later, he started playing for the Adelaide Vikings Water Polo Club.

“I love water polo because I am good at swimming and my cousins have a history of playing the game,” says Jack, who trains five times a week.

“It is very fun to improve as a player, but also as a team, once you’re in one. The fast-paced game play, the awesome shots and the unique rules … that is why I love water polo.”

Jack also made the South Australian U14 side for the Australian Youth Water Polo Championships in January, alongside fellow Blackfriars students Nathan Bishop (U16) and Ben Baker (U18).

Jack Galkowski in water polo action.

Marcus Gill

Year 10 student Marcus Gill’s football (soccer) journey is taking him from Blackfriars to Birmingham and beyond.

Marcus is part of a squad that will travel to England in September, playing and training with clubs such as Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester City, Liverpool and Wrexham.

The goal keeper, who also plays for Tea Tree Gully City Soccer Club, was selected to head to the UK on the basis of his performance at a recent Global Football Network UK showcase.

Marcus Gill will head to England in September to play soccer.
  • Do you have a sporting achievement you would like to share with the Blackfriars community? Contact Communications Officer Shannon Caton at [email protected] or via SEQTA.
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