WestVic to announce female and male athlete of the year

In a celebration of some outstanding performances, FedUni WestVic Academy of Sport will announce its female and male athlete of the year at a presentation night held at the Ballarat Golf Club on Wednesday.

Out of the 16 athletes nominated, 10 have competed at national level, four at state level and two at regional level in the past year. 

Finalists were selected from each WestVic sports program, while another five individual member athletes were also nominated.

WestVic Academy of Sport executive officer Corey Saitta said the presentation evening, which will be held as part of the Ballarat Sportsmen’s Club monthly dinner, provided a wonderful opportunity for the athletes to be showcased in front of the broader sporting and general community of Ballarat. 

“It is an opportunity to celebrate some of the outstanding performances and achievements the athletes have secured in the past 12 months,” Saitta said. 

“The opportunity to partner with the Ballarat Sportsmen’s Club for the August dinner is significant for our organisation and we are grateful for the support provided by the club.”

Saitta said what each of the nominated finalists had in common was excellent character, a strong commitment, competitiveness and taking their sport seriously in trying to transform their love of the sport into a career.

He said the end goal for these athletes was to go as far as they could in their sport. 

“Hopefully that means some of them can reach the pinnacle of their sport, which would be Olympics, Commonwealth Games or a World Championship… or for other sports such as a football umpire it might be officiating in a VFL or AFL match,” Saitta said. 

The winners of the awards will be presented by WestVic Academy of Sport patron and Olympic and Commonwealth champion athlete Steve Moneghetti. 

FINALISTS 

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Morgan Lane (Equestrian/Horsham College) 

Sophie Byrne (Golf) 

Alanna Peart (Athletics – Race Walking)

Jemma Peart (Athletics – Race Walking)

Milly Sharp (Netball) 

Ellie Hennig (Swimming)

Anna Leighton (Special Olympics – Swimming) 

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Josh Gay (Badminton)

Toby Whittle (Ballarat Football Umpires)

Jonathan Western (Cycling / HPV)

Ben DeBortoli (Karate / Bacchus Marsh Grammar)

Sam Rizzo (Para Track Athletics)

Connor Shugg (Rowing)

Brad Saunders (Skateboarding)

Rory Carroll (Table Tennis)

James O’Sullivan (Tennis)