Inverell's Kaitlin Driscoll was honoured with one of the Northern Inland Academy of Sport's most cherished awards when the Academy hosted their annual awards night.
Driscoll was the recipient of the Sarah Heagney Award which was presented by Sarah's mother Julie Heagney, in memory of the former NIAS Triathlete who made an outstanding contribution to the Academy as an athlete, and then as a trainee and assistant coach for the Triathlon program. Driscoll iss Head Coach of the Netball program and herself is a NIAS Netball graduate, who has given back to the Academy from a coaching perspective.
The remainder of the awards night was different to its normal proceedings.
Turning the awards night to an online event for the first time, the Academy awards featured guest speakers, program coaches, sponsors, staff and athletes themselves. The well respected former NBN Sports presenter Mike Rabbitt was the MC for the evening. Rabbitt has been a long-time supporter of the Academy for many years and was presented with Life Membership to the Academy by former NIAS Chairman Wally Franklin.
A special guest interview with Rabbitt with former NRL star Jamie Lyon saw him giving aspiring young athletes a message about the effort required to get to the next level, saying they need to enjoy it and "...it's all from that hard work and dedication and commitment, doing the extras..."
Whilst hearing from coaches from Academy sporting programs throughout the night and featuring the special guest interview, Rabbitt announced award winners for programs with full completion (not interrupted by COVID-19) including Basketball, Golf, Hockey and Mountain Biking. A range of awards were presented to athletes including Most Dedicated, Most Improved, Coaches Award and Athlete of the Year for each sport. Claiming the Basketball awards was Sam Morris (Tamworth) and Katie Sheppard (Moore Creek) as the Most Dedicated, Bridie Douglas (Quirindi) and Yasutomo for Most Improved, Tom Parsons (Werris Creek) and Miley Clarke (Quirindi) for the Coaches Award, and Harrison Barton (Hallsville) and Gabrielle Higgins (Tamworth) for the Basketball Athletes of the Year. Award recipients for the Golf program included Oliver Thomas (Hillvue) for Most Dedicated, Matt Reece (Inverell) for Most Improved, Rhys Devney (Moree) for the Coaches Award and Ryan McKinnon (Tamworth) as the Golf Athlete of the Year. The award winners for the girls and boys Hockey programs were Andrew Macinas (Tamworth) and Danika Watson (Armidale) as most dedicated, Cameron Le Surf (Armidale) and Emma Dauparus (Armidale) as Most Improved, Jayden Scott (Tamworth) and Chloe McWilliam (Tamworth) for the Coaches Award and Sam Griffith (Tamworth) and Chloe Scicluna (Tamworth) as Hockey Athletes of the Year.
Other than the Sarah Heagney award, major awards were also announced on the evening, featuring Communicator of the Year, Chairperson's Award and Coach of the Year Award. Communicator of the Year is an award presented to an athlete with exceptional communication with the NIAS staff and program team throughout the year and use of communication portal Team App. Caleb Bettison from the Athletics program was the award recipient for this. The Chairperson's award was presented to Isabella Banister from the Netball program for outstanding sportsmanship and for her involvement on and off the netball court. The Coach of the Year award was presented to Michael Crummy Head Coach of the Mountain Biking program for his exceptional commitment and dedication to the program and its athletes throughout the year.
The Northern Inland Academy of Sport has commenced selection trials for 2022 in some sports and will continue this weekend with Basketball and Golf trials, with applications closing this Friday 5th November.
Applications are currently open for the NIAS Basketball, Football, Golf, Netball and Lone Star individual scholarship programs. Both the Basketball and golf applications will close this Friday 5th November as trials for these programs will commence Saturday. For more information on each of the programs, or to submit an application visit www.nias.org.au
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