Penrith basketballer Chloe Bloom was sitting in class last week when she suddenly burst into tears.
The 16-year-old received a text message from her mother, informing her that she had been selected in Australia’s 24-woman U17 squad.
“I was honestly so shocked, it didn’t even feel real at first,” Chloe told the Weekender.
“My mum texted me in class because I’m pretty sure she couldn’t contain herself. I cried as soon as I got it.
“My teacher and friends looked so concerned but I said ‘don’t worry; they’re tears of happiness’.”
What made Chloe’s selection even more surprising was the fact she had only took up the sport of basketball four years ago.
The 190cm centre began her playing career in Bankstown before switching to Penrith where her career really took off.
“I give the Penrith club so much credit for the player I am. I fully believe that if I didn’t move to Penrith, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” Chloe said.
Chloe said she even surprised herself with the way she turned around her form.
“When I first started playing, I never would’ve imagined making an Australian team,” she said.
“At the Bankstown Bruins trials I was crying I was so bad. I didn’t know the rules and couldn’t even make a simple lay-up.”
This season the Year 11 student has been playing a significant role in Penrith’s Division 1 Youth League team.
Despite the defending champions being slightly off the pace this season, Chloe topped her team in points last week with 16.
She’s confident that Penrith can still finish the year on a high.
“We had a similar slump last year and managed to turn it around,” Chloe said.
“There are a lot of different players in the side this year. One of our best players Ella Tofaeono injured herself while some of our other good players aged out.”
Chloe will soon find out whether she has made the final cut to represent Australia at the FIBA Oceania U17 Championships in Guam this July, which is the first phase of qualification for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Championships.
Either way, she’s well on her way to a career in green and gold.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.