Tayla takes the lead

Tayla Putz.

MEET St Mary’s DSG 1st hockey XI captain, Tayla Putz. A strong leader and avid hockey player. She lead her team out on the astro to defend their Highway Regional title of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge recently.

The modest 17-year-old loves playing hockey and swimming, and has been rewarded for her dedication with full school colours in hockey and half colours in swimming. She has also received the St Mary’s Junior Sportswomen of the Year award as well as the indoor and outdoor hockey player of the year award in 2014 and 2015. Alongside the role as captain for both the indoor and outdoor hockey teams, she is also the head of sport and vice captain of the swimming team.

The Hillcrest-based sportswoman, who is in her final year of school, started playing hockey in grade 3 at Hillcrest Christian Academy (Curro) and completely fell in love with the game. She has found time in her busy schedule to also pursue her love for swimming and is currently in the provincial hockey and swimming teams. She also played for the provincial U16 hockey team last year.

“My time on the turf allows me to be myself, free my mind, have fun and play the game that I am most passionate about. I enjoy being part of a team, working together, connecting skills and personalities, learning and encouraging one another and everyone being the best that they can be,” said Tayla.

She also enjoys the academic side of school and her favourite subject is biology, which is why she plans to study health science or a BA in sport science at a university next year. In her spare time, Tayla enjoys listening to music with friends, playing social tennis and spending time with her family, which is closest to her heart.

Her sporting idol is Serena Willams, who inspires both her and her brother, Aaron Putz, who was diagnosed with Autism when he was six years old. Closer to home, it’s her coach, Richard Pentecost, who is one of the individuals that inspires her to work harder and always do her best.

The vivacious teenager said that she lives by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s words, “trust yourself, break some rules, don’t be afraid to fail, ignore the naysayers, work (hard) and give back.”

Lloyd Mackenzie

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