All-round star Sophie Van De Heuvel receives Blackbourn Encouragement Award

STATE cricket representative Sophie Van De Heuvel is the latest recipient of the Blackbourn Encouragement Award.

The Ballarat associates’ branch of the Sportsmen’s Association of Australia presents the award each year to an up-and-coming female athlete.

Van De Heuvel, 13, made a mark in cricket last year from club to state level.

The highlight for the Golden Point player was representing Victoria in the national under-15 female championships in Sydney in November-December.

This came after playing for Central Highlands in the state under-14 championships at the start of the year.

She has carried on her progress in the sport this year, playing with the Central Highlands under-14s again.

At Ballarat Cricket Association level last season, Van De Heuvel was voted the most valuable player in the under-14 red competition.

Cricket hasn’t been her only success story in 2013.

An all-round athlete, Van De Heuvel also made her mark playing football alongside boys with Ballarat Swans in the Ballarat Football League under-14 reserves competition, as well as finding time to play under-14 netball with the Swans.

Loreto College recognised her efforts with its Year 7 sports award.

Despite enjoying all three sports, Van De Heuvel is likely to trim back her commitments this year with football likely to go by the wayside, although she is yet to make a final decision.

She said netball would most likely be her sporting choice for the winter before returning to her number one sporting love – cricket.

She will again be eligible to represent Victoria in under-15s and gain selection at this level will be a major goal.