DARCY Tucker etched his name into Wimmera sporting lore on Monday night when he was crowned the Wimmera Sports Star of the Year.
Tucker won from a star-studded field that included former winners Ken Bald and Ash Bolwell and several other athletes who excelled at the local, state and national level.
He was rewarded for an outstanding year, which saw him win a national title with the Vic Country football team and earn a level one scholarship to the exclusive AIS-AFL Academy.
Tucker was one of only 30 junior players in the country to receive a level one scholarship.
His strong form saw him picked for an Australian under-17 team to play New Zealand last month, and Tucker was named among Australia's best in a four-point win.
Despite his performances, Tucker said he was shocked to be named Sports Star of the Year.
"It was very unexpected and I was very humbled," he said.
"The talent of all the other nominees is national level and state level so I didn't expect, being a 17-year-old, to get the award."
"It was very unexpected and I was very humbled.''
Tucker said he had quickly reaped the benefits of switching from concentrating on basketball to football about a year ago.
He said strong form with the North Ballarat Rebels TAC Cup team set up his year.
"It all started with the under-16 Rebels and that led onto me making the under-16 Vic Country team, which was unexpected as well," he said.
"I was very proud of myself just to make that and then to go away at the nationals and play well for the team as well as get the national championship was really good.
"It was very unexpected to get the AIS scholarship when I got the call I didn't know what to think."
Tucker said his next goal was to return to the Rebels and put in another successful season while completing year 12 at Ballarat and Clarendon College.
Other award winners
Several other Wimmera sporting identities took home awards on the night.
Bald, a former winner of the award and Wimmera Sports Star Hall of Fame member, added to his trophy cabinet when he was named Veteran of the Year.
Legendary basketball coach Owen Hughan was also recognised with a Coach of the Year award.
Horsham Golf Club's Jenny McRae was nominated for Sports Star of the Year and picked up the Women in Sport award. Basketball young gun Chloe Bibby who made her WNBL debut in 2013 was named Junior Athlete of the Year.
Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly executive officer David Berry said the assembly found it difficult to select a winner from such a strong field.
"It wasn't easy for two-and-a-half hours they sat around the board room table deciding the various winners," he said.
"When you isolate Darcy's achievements, to be one of only 30 to get an AIS-AFL scholarship is just a sensational effort.
"If you look at how many participants and how many kids at that age are playing footy, we've obviously got a very talented kid in our midst who could go a long, long way."