A SCHOOLGIRL will follow in the footsteps of some of sport's biggest names by playing at the finals of a national tournament.

Lauren Cadwgan, a Madeley High School student from Crewe, will play volleyball at the 2017 School Games National Finals at Loughborough University from Thursday, August 31 to Sunday, September 3.

The 16-year-old, who is a member of the Newcastle Staffs Volleyball Club, will compete for the England cadet squad at the School Games – an integrated multi-sport event for the UK’s most talented school-age athletes.

She already has an impressive record of success, having most recently been a runner-up in the inter-regional championships earlier this year.

Lauren, who will experience competing at the highest level and stay at a dedicated Athlete’s Village during the competition, said: “When I watched the 2012 Olympics in London I found it so inspiring.

“It was fantastic to see sporting events like that take place in our home country.

“Now I can’t wait to play volleyball at the School Games.”

The games, supported by Sport England and the Youth Sports Trust, will involve 1600 athletes and 12 sports, seven of which include disability disciplines.

Some of Britain’s biggest sporting stars have competed at the School Games before going onto senior international success.

Previous competitors include Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, Olympic champion Adam Peaty, heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and sprinter Adam Gemili.

Fifty-six of the 382 athletes representing Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio had previously competed at the School Games.

Ali Oliver, chief executive officer for the Youth Sport Trust, added: “The School Games National Finals provide a great opportunity for talented young athletes like Lauren.

“Competitors get a real taste of what it’s like to be part of a world-class sporting event at the amazing sporting venues of Loughborough University, and the event is a great way to see our future sporting champions in action today.”

Huge crowds are expected for the event, with tickets available at ticketsource.co.uk/2017schoolgames