Fraser Coast Sports Awards celebrate local achievements

A teenage triathlete selected to represent Queensland and a young cyclist who has rapidly improved her racing results have taken out the male and female Sports Person of the Year categories at the Fraser Coast Sports Awards.

unrecognizable cyclists riding bikes on road during race
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on Pexels.com

More than 150 people gathered at the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough yesterday to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of the Fraser Coast’s sporting community – their volunteers, players, officials, and coaches.

Deputy Mayor Darren Everard said it was fantastic to see the Fraser Coast sporting community come together after a tough year.

“Sport is just so important in our society. It helps build healthier, happier and safer communities,” he said.

“Sport doesn’t only keep us physically active, it also keep us socially connected. It’s where lasting memories are made and fond friendships formed.

“In the past 12 months, so many athletes have been disadvantaged in their sport or missed out on huge opportunities, so it is great to be able to come together now to celebrate the achievements of all the award nominees and recipients.”

Cr Everard said it wasn’t just the athletes who had displayed incredible commitment and resilience during the pandemic.

“It is only through the dedication of volunteers who take up key executive positions that clubs can continue to operate,” he said.

“Getting involved with local sporting groups takes a lot of time and commitment, and I say a huge thank you to all those involved behind the scenes.”

The Fraser Coast Sports Award winners include:

Sports Person of the Year (Male)

Dylan Smith

Dylan started competitively running at the age of 10, mainly in cross country events and started triathlons a year later. 

Now in Year 9, the teenager’s commitment and development to the sport has seen him announced in the Triathlon Queensland 2020/21 State Team, which will see him compete on a national level.

In the past six months he has finished first in his age group at the Queensland All Schools Cross Country Championships, Bargara Duathlon, Moreton Bay Triathlon, Agnes Waters Triathlon and the Raby Bay Triathlon.

Just last month he was selected out of hundreds of applications in Infinit Nutrition Australia’s inaugural Team Infinit Junior Elite Squad.

Sports Person of the Year (Female)

Shelby Anderson

Shelby has been involved with the Fraser Coast Cycling Club for the past four years but seriously committed herself to the sport last year. 

She improved exponentially during this time and saw a huge improvement in her crit and road racing results.

Shelby has had some exceptional results over the past six months, including taking out first place in the Wide Bay Cup last October.

Most recently Shelby raced at the under 19’s and Elite State Track Championship. 

The teenager had hoped to gain valuable experience from the event but instead surprised herself by walking away with two bronze medals.

Junior Sports Person of the Year (under 14)

Cruz Baker

Cruz has been an integral part of many representative cricket teams and has scored 1000+ season runs in the last three consecutive seasons. 

On the back of these achievements, Cruz was approached by a New Zealand bat making company “Laver & Wood” to become a brand Ambassador and was recently made the face of the company’s youth bat collection.

Cruz has also competed in the Wide Bay and Queensland Softball Teams in both the 12’s and 14’s age groups although ultimately had to sacrifice going further in Softball due to clashes with Cricket Championships.

Sports Masters of the Year (40 years plus)

Kym Lingard

Looking at Kym Lingard’s extensive resume of achievements it is easy to assume she spends more time in the water than out of it.

She was a finalist of Qld Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence – Master of the year nominee, Wide Bay Capricorn Branch Surf Life Saving Master of the year winner and Wide Bay Capricorn Branch Surf Life Saving Premiership Age Champion just to name a few.

If that wasn’t enough she gives back to the next generation of athletes by being involved with children in sport across swimming, triathlon, Surf Life Saving, touch football and soccer.

Kym is a Community Coach and assistant to a local national coach for juniors in Triathlon.

All Abilities Sports Award

Ethan Parry

Being the fastest man with Down syndrome in Australia is just the start for Ethan Parry. 

With his eye set on being the fasted in the world, the 16-year-old continues to sprint from one achievement to the next.

At the recent Queensland State Titles, Ethan won gold in the Under 20 Shot put and long jump, and ran a PB in the 100m breaking 15 seconds for the first time. 

He broke an Australian and Oceanic record with a time of 14.89, which adds to the Australian and Oceanic records he currently holds for 200m and long jump.

The teenager will compete for Queensland at the Nationals in April at Sydney. 

Team of the Year

Fraser Coasters Wheelchair Basketball Club Inc

Representative wheelchair basketball team Fraser Coasters wasted no time proving they are a force to be reckoned with entering their first competition in January 2019 shortly after they formed. 

The team entered the Suncoast Spinners Carnival in Caloundra, the largest wheelchair basketball tournament in Australia, attracting international, interstate and Queensland teams. 

The Fraser Coasters were undefeated in this tournament, winning the B Division title and also receiving the prestigious “Most Outstanding Team of the Tournament Award”.

In January 2020 the team competed in the Suncoast Spinners tournament medalling again, this time winning a Bronze medal in B Division.

Event of the Year

Hervey Bay 100

The first race was held in 2011 and saw 70 athletes competing. It was a low-key affair that was raced on open roads with no prize money on offer.

Ten years on, the Hundy has grown into one of the most anticipated races in the Queensland triathlon calendar with almost 1000 participants across the weekend last year.

The weekend-long event was estimated to bring 2,500 people to the area and over a million dollars in revenue. 

In 2020, the Hundy was made even more memorable for its COVID-safe handling and, for many athletes, it heralded a return to racing as many other Australian and overseas triathlons had to be cancelled due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Coach of the Year

Brian Harrington

Brian Harrington, affectionately known as “Harro”, is a full-time teacher and head of the Academic and Cultural Excellence program at Urangan State High School and a volunteer junior triathlon coach. 

Over the years, Harro has guided hundreds of junior triathletes across the Fraser Coast, with several going on to compete in regional, state, and national competitions.

Harro is an unsung hero of the Hervey Bay Triathlon Club Inc. in the way that selflessly helps others to achieve their goals. Harro volunteers up to 15 hours per week, coaching his junior squad through early morning bike rides as well as running and gym sessions as a Triathlon Australia accredited coach.

Under Harro’s direction, the State Championships have been held in Hervey Bay every year since 2014 and the National Championships for the past two years. 

As Championship Convenor, Harro, alongside his dedicated committee, have provided the opportunity to support participation of a more diverse range of students with the introduction of the 11-19 years multiclass aquathlon in 2020. 

The 2021 State Championships in February saw 700 junior athletes and their families participate in the two day event in Hervey Bay under new COVID guidelines. 

These events could not go ahead without his invaluable expertise and connections from being involved in the sport of triathlon for over 30 years.

Club Person of the Year

Jeffrey Morris

Long term active member of the Hervey Bay Triathlon Club, Jeff Morris’ list of accomplishments in a volunteer capacity demonstrate his willingness to go over and above for the club.

As Vice-president, Jeff spends hours organising the club race calendar, coordinating the club’s social media pages, successfully obtaining grants for equipment for athletes and events, and assisting with running between six and seven local club events per year.

As Event Director of the Hervey Bay 100, Jeff is the driving force behind the large-scale multisport event affectionately known as “the Hundy”. 

The event is solely volunteer-run through the efforts of small committee led by Jeff. He gives up between 10 to 20 hours per week year round.

In 2020, Jeff encountered a new barrier brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Jeff and his committee worked closely with Queensland Health, as well as Triathlon Australia, to develop a COVID-safe plan that kept all the participants, volunteers, and spectators safe throughout the two-day event. 

Jeff did not let the uncertainty of the pandemic stop him from hosting the event in Hervey Bay, and this meant that for many athletes, it heralded a return to racing while many other Australian and overseas triathlons had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. He saw the 2020 Hundy as an important way to bring people to town and strengthen the local economy in an otherwise turbulent year.

Over the course of 2020 and into 2021, Jeff has also been involved with bringing a new event to the Fraser Coast, the inaugural Ultra 355 Australia triathlon.  

** Press release issued by Fraser Coast Regional Council, 29 March 2021.

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