THE achievements of the Armidale sporting community were highlighted at Thursday night’s annual Armidale Sports Awards.
The presentation recognised individuals and teams that excelled at state, national and international level, of which there were many.
Pistol shooter Greg Dawson and water polo star Morgan Rowbottom shared the top honours on the night, with Dawson adjudged the 2AD/Coffee Club Senior Sport Star of the year, and Rowbottom the FM 100.3/KG Motors/Bunnings Armidale Junior Sportsperson of the Year.
For the teams awards this year, for the first time judges decided to split them into three different categories – local, regional and state – to give teams that are doing well locally and at a regional level an equal chance of recogition.
The Armidale Sports Council/Armidale Sportspower junior local category winners were the Duval Hawks Under 11 girls’ hockey side.
They were undefeated all year and did not have a goal scored against them. That was all the more remarkable given they had a different goalkeeper each match.
It was the same for the senior local winners, the Impies netball team.
They didn’t lose a game all year and took out the Division 1 premiership after finishing fourth in 2009, third the next year and second last year.
The Armidale and District Division 1 netball side won the regional category after claiming the Northern Inland State League title for the first time in 14 years.
The regional award in the juniors was won by the Armidale U16 boys’ basketball side.
After winning the Northern Junior League, it went on to win the state title, for which it was the overall team of the year.
Basketball figured prominently in the awards, with the Drummond Memorial School boys’ side taking out the state category.
It won back to back state PSSA titles.
The senior sports team of the year and state category winners were the Richardson Shield-winning New England rugby side.
As for the individual winners, Dawson won two titles at the International Metallic Pistol Shooting championships, and was runner-up in another two events.
He topped a field of finalists that included national junior archery champion Brendon Howe, national and state title-winning archer Dennis Carson, Australian sevens representative Emma Gillogly, Australian veterans hockey representative Keith Ellis and masters mountain bike national champion David Harris.
Cyclist Mitch Bullen also won his first international race in Cottbus, Germany earlier this year and recently the NSW open men’s sprint title, while Jay Stone won Oceania, national, Pan Pacific and state titles and set a new Australian record for the 200m in his age group.
Bronson Macklinshaw’s efforts in winning the National Stockmen’s Challenge also saw him earn a finalist’s award along with orienteerer Kasmir Gregory after finishing in the top 90 at the world titles.
The nominations in the junior category were just as impressive.
Rowbottom took out the award after starring for the NSW U16s in their success at the Pan Pacific tournament.
Just to make the side she had to travel to Sydney for training for eight successive weeks, but her efforts were rewarded with selection in the Australian U16s girls’ training squad.
The other finalists included NSW Country hockey representative and NIAS Female Sportsperson of the Year Brittany Parker, state archery title winner and national silver medallist Holly Giles, state champion canoe kayaker Nick Allen, Australian All Schools U16 cycling champion Sam Jenner, state champion gymnast Emma Barnier and NSW U13s hockey representative Emma Barnier.
Maluach brothers – and basketball stars – Matur, who made two NSW teams, and Mangarchot, were also finalists.
Judges also awarded encouragement awards to Armand Simba and Harry Jarrett.
For their contribution to their chosen sport, Justine Kavanagh (netball), Rex Varley (pistol shooting), Carolyn Beresford (hockey) and Keith Ellis (hockey) recieved contribution to sport awards, while a special award for contribution to sport was presented to Darrel Whan.
The Armidale Sports Council felt he deserved a special award to recognise the time he has put into capturing Armidale’s sporting moments.