SIX months ago when Tyler Puzicha asked for help from former Olympic cyclist Sean Eadie, she had no idea it was a conversation which would lead her to Israel.
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The Bathurst sprinter was simply looking for more progress on the boards, but she showed so much progress that she's been named in the Australian team to compete at the 2022 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Tel Aviv.
While Puzicha has amassed a vast collection of honours on a local, state and national level since she took up the sport as a four-year-old, earning Australian junior selection is by far her biggest honour.
The excitement in her voice when describing the moment she found out she had been named in the 12-member national squad was easy to hear.
"I got a phone call from the coach for the junior team saying congratulations ... I was really excited and then straight away I started thinking about what lay ahead," she said.
"It's going to be an amazing experience going overseas to race, I've never done that before, as well as racing people I've never ever heard of and never seen before, that's going to be really cool. We're lucky to be able to do it.
"I just plan to soak it in, I'm excited to learn a lot when I'm over there, because I know I'm going to, as well as experiencing something completely out of the the normal for me."
It was two years ago that Puzicha was selected in Cycling Australia's emerging riders program, but the Western Region Academy of Sport graduate still wanted more.
So she turned to Eadie, a former sprint world champion turned New South Wales Institute of Sport coach to try and help her further develop.
"Sean Eadie is my coach now. I asked him for help because I wasn't seeing any progress, but in the last six months I've made immense progress in my training," Puzicha said.
At the state titles she won three gold medals, Puzicha going on to place first in the time trial at both nationals and the Oceania Championships.
She also added a team sprint gold and a silver in the sprint to her Oceania medal haul.
They were performances the national selectors took note of with Puzicha and Queensland rider Emma Stevens set to contest the sprint events for Australia at the Junior Track World Championships.
Puzicha expects her program for the titles, which will be held in August, will therefore include the time trial, sprint, keirin and team sprint.
"I wasn't fully at peak at nationals as I had to kind of restart my training again, so I wasn't expecting anything major. But to get picked on the Australian team out of the results I got, it was fantastic," Puzicha said.
"It's not the major gaol, but it's always been a really big goal of mine. Because I'm now last year in the juniors I really wanted to go somewhere, get to the next level if I could, so to get selected was great.
"The major goal is the Olympics and World Championships and the [open] Aus team. But this kind of kicks that into gear and gives me a lot of opportunities."
For now it will be a matter of balancing her Year 12 studies at Scots All Saints College with her training in the build up to worlds.
"It is hard, but I get help from the school, help from the family and help from NSWIS, so I am managing," she said.
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