It was the largest Your Local Club Academy Games to date, and the Northern Inland Academy of Sport rose to the challenge. The games offered eight different sports with NIAS sending squads to compete in netball, basketball (boys and girls), hockey (boys and girls), tennis (boys and girls) and golf (boys and girls).
The NIAS girls’ basketball squad were the pick of the bunch coming away with the silver medal for the second year in a row. They kicked off the campaign on the Friday night with a come from behind win over the Western Region Academy of Sport.
There was also a lot of individual honors for the NIAS athletes. In the Carlo’s IGA and Glen Innes & District Services Club netball program, Liz Chard (Glen Innes) was named in the first division merit team (the top players selected from all academies) and Holli Rodstrom (Curlewis) was named in the second division merit team.
Our Wests Entertainment Group hockey players, not to be undone, Liam Smith (Armidale) and George Nash (Tamworth) named MVPs in the boys’ competition and Flo Davidson (Tamworth) was named MVP in the girls.
The Inverell RSM AFL program, which is still new to the Northern Inland Academy of Sport, saw six athletes team up with the Southern Sports Academy. The combined squads recorded some good wins but overall were no match for the powers of South East Sports Academy, AFL NSW/ACT Allies and AFL NSW/ACT Sydney North.
The NIAS Inland Technology tennis athletes competed in the Forster Bronze tournament which formed part of the Academy Games. Anna Bishop (Gunnedah) took out the under 12’s singles, Vitorio Sardinha (Gunnedah) was a finalist in the singles and the doubles for the under 12’s as well. Aaron Osmand (Gunnedah) won the under 14 boys defeating fellow NIAS athlete Cooper Wilkinson (Gunnedah) in the final. The two boys then lined up together for the under 14 doubles final, however it was called off due to the weather. Ben Buttler (Inverell) finished third in the under 16 boy’s competition and took out the doubles, playing with a non-NIAS athlete.
NIAS CEO James Cooper says he’s extremely proud of the way the athletes represented the region at the games. Not just in their sport but as young adults. “I was quite humbled when the staff at West’s New Lambton pulled me aside to tell me how impressive young adults our athletes are. This weekend is obviously a key date in the calendar for our athletes for competition and performance but it doubles as a weekend for personal development and the NIAS team represented our region extremely well”.
I was quite humbled when the staff at West’s New Lambton pulled me aside to tell me how impressive young adults our athletes are.- James Cooper
It wasn’t just the athletes that benefited from the weekend’s competition. NIAS is involved with supporting umpire development in the netball. Umpire Mentor Laura Cambridge oversaw four umpires at the Academy Games, Dana Dehm, Taya Heagney, Jodie Mudge and Amber Vickery. Amber was awarded her National C Badge and Dana was awarded her National B Badge, a great achievement for the women and the sport in the region.
Sport: I’m a hockey player and part of the Wests Hockey Program
Position: My preferred position is to play up front as a striker.
Age: I will turn 16 years old this month.
Expectations for the NIAS program: To help me achieve my goal of producing the highest work rate each time I go on to the field, and to come off the field knowing I had nothing left to give. In the future I would like to make a state team.
Highest Achievement: I’ve competed at the Under 13 and Under 15 state championships and I have just won silver at the Academy Games with NIAS.
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