TALENTED NETBALLER ADVANCING SKILLS AT HOME
One of Barbados most outstanding netball sharp shooters has decided to let home drums beat first.
After receiving offers from universities including the Mona Campus in Jamaica, Shonica Wharton has decided to take up a three-year scholarship with the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus from September 5.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY Wharton said she felt excited with the offers especially from Mona but opted to stay at home and build on her talent while studying Tourism Management.
“I was really excited when Mona contacted me to be honest. But then Cave Hill offered me a scholarship so I thought about it and decided to stay at home and study. I mean it would have been nice to go there because they [Jamaica] have produced some outstanding netballers but I will stay here and improve,” said Wharton, who was once among the top ten players at the World Youth Netball Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2013.
Wharton returned home from St Maarten this week with the under-21 squad having come out tops of the qualifiers to advance into the 2017 Americas Federation of Netball Association (AFNA) Youth World Cup in Botswana. Wharton said she was satisfied with her performance after top-scoring with 52 points from 58 attempts against the host nation.
Speaking about her experience gained at what would have been her second stint at the under-21 level, Wharton said: “It felt great knowing that I am always able to make a valuable contribution to my team and with my experience which stems from playing with the senior team, that helped me a lot. In seniors there are rougher defenders compared to playing in under-21 because it is so much easier to get around those younger players.
“Honestly, I work extremely hard and train three days a week at the Netball Stadium with the national team and in addition to that I put in extra work with my division one team [UWI],” she said.
Wharton, coached by a number of persons including under-21 coaches Sandra Bruce-Small, Margaret Cutting and Julie Phillips, has had a number of accomplishments to her name. She made her netball World Cup debut in Sydney, Australia last year, then the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2013 Invitational Series in Northern Island. In addition to that there was the World Qualifiers in 2012 and 2014 just to list a few.
Perhaps on her way to becoming one of the best goal-shoots Barbados has ever produced, Wharton spoke about her journey so far and thanked those that had helped her along the way, especially her mother Eudeane Rice, sister Shanice Wharton who also played this year with the under-21 and will now be moving on to trials for the senior team.
“I used to watch my sister [Shanice] play all the time when it [her school] was called St Martin Mangrove but then in class three I decided to play the sport for fun and it was when I got in third form at Graydon Sealy Secondary that I began to take it more seriously. Then I used to play with my aunt Monette [Wharton] for Church Village and from there I moved on to further developing my game playing for UWI where I got more exposure.
“I was so surprised when I was called up for trial for the senior team because I said to myself: ‘a girl like me, at sixteen years old?’ I didn’t think that I would have made it that far because I mean they were girls who were more experienced so it came as a shock,” she said.
The 20-year-old told Barbados TODAY she has her eyes set on playing professional netball in England in what is known as the Super League very soon.
Both sisters, who are from Four Roads, St Phillip, are excellent shooters and currently play for double crown queens UWI Blackbird who captured both the knockout and league title in the just concluded Barbados Netball Association Division One season.
Shanice who plays on the opposite side of the court from her sister as goalkeeper said her aim was to become a utility player and hopefully follow in the footsteps of Shonica and also gain a scholarship.
“If I had a choice I would take back up shooting because when I was younger I used to shoot playing for Church Village. But my first aim is to make the senior team. It was a great experience for me at under-twenty-one, I got to share my knowledge with the girls from my last experience at the under-twenty-one in Scotland and I was grateful for that,” said the talented defender who shares a close bond with her younger sister Shonica.