IT should come as a surprise to no-one that Jakiya Whitfeld was named the Western Region Academy of Sport’s Athlete of the Year during Saturday’s presentation night.
Whitfeld’s amazing run began late last year with selection to the under 18s Australian team to play at the World Schools Rugby Sevens tournament.
She represented her nation again at this year’s Oceanic Rugby Sevens Championship which doubled as a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games
Whitfeld has not only bounced between the 15-a-side and sevens formats of rugby union but has also played a pivotal role in getting the St Pat’s Group 10 league tag team to a minor premiership.
WRAS Sports Program Manager Nicole Jones said it was a spectacular year for the rugby talent.
“I don’t think many people were surprised with her winning. We tried to keep it under wraps as best as we could,” she laughed.
“She has done an incredible job being so young and already having represented Australia, twice at this stage, and I’m sure there will be many more times to come in the future.”
There were a host of Bathurst athletes among the night’s award winners.
Netballer Teagan Germech was a joint winner of the Chairman’s Award alongside Lithgow baksetballer Kade Inwood.
Eliza Bennett (cycling) and Cameron Jackson (golf) were also nominated for the award.
Strength and conditioning awards went the way of Bathurst’s Casey Thompson (golf), Kalinda Robinson (cycling), Lachlan Martin (hockey) and Molly McCrossin (swimming). Thompson was also a coach’s award nominee.
Bahurst hockey mentor Kent Bestwick was named as WRAS’ coach of the year.
WRAS are already preparing for their next class of athletes to come through the program.
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“With the presentation done, the 2017-18 programs are finished and we have our first trials this weekend, which will be for netball this Sunday,” Jones said.
“That opens our next round of programs. We’re in the middle of organising our trials for all our sports and they’ll be happening over most of September.
“Numbers are looking good at this stage. Obviously we’re a few weeks off from some of the other sports finishing up so we’re advertising as best as we can to bring in as many kids as possible.”
Athlete nominations are open for basketball, golf, hockey and individual programs.
Further program information and information on how to apply can be found at www.wras.org.au/downloads/.
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