WIMMERA Regional Sports Assembly's Sport Star of the Year was crowned in Horsham on Friday night.
Horsham Saints netballer Maggie Caris took out the coveted title.
Caris said she was amazed that she was awarded Sport Star of the Year.
“I did not think that it would happen, but I am just really honoured,” she said.
“I just want to thank my parents my family and Horsham Saints for all their support.”
Caris was recognised for her outstanding achievements in netball last year.
She was a member of the Victorian 15 and under netball team that won gold at the Pacific School Games, which she went on to be selected as an All Australian.
Caris topped off her year by being selected in the Victorian 17 and under team as a tier one athlete to compete at the national titles in April this year.
She was also a member of the Horsham Saints A-grade netball team that won the Wimmera Netball Association premiership.
While playing netball she also played in the Horsham Saints women’s football team that won the inaugural Deakin University Female Football League title.
While Caris is a talent on the court, she said the most important part about playing was to have fun.
Her netball journey began when she was in year one.
“I was young when I started and I was just playing with my friends. That’s where it all began,” she said.
“I was just playing for fun and when I got to play in the Wimmera League I just had a go at it.”
Caris said she was not one to shy away from competition.
“I am a pretty competitive person,” she said.
“Any opportunity that has come about, I just have a go at it. I just try my best. It does not matter if I don’t get selected or if I lose just as long as I have a go at it.”
Caris said she has her sight set on nationals in April this year and was training hard.
“There is a lot of training, but good things come out of it.”
After nationals, she has the opportunity to represent in the Gold Cost, which she said was exciting.
Caris said she does not know where her netball will take her, but she was keen to see how far she could go.
Fourteen strong contenders were nominated for the top award. The nominees included Ella Walsgott, Miette Hopper, Steffi McDonald, Morgan Lane, Sebastian Dalgleish, Jackson Walsgott, Josh Barry, Tyson Harris, Joel Emmett, John Kearns, Noah Brennan, Emma Buwalda and Ben Gray.
Special Category award winners
There were fourteen special category award that were also awarded on the night.
The Veteran of the Year was awarded to cricketer Wavell McPherson.
McPherson earned his award after being a member of the Victorian over 70’s cricket team that won gold at nationals last year.
He was selected as an All Australian and will compete at five One-Day International’s against England next month.
McPherson has played cricket for more than 60 years.
He played 53 Country Week carnivals and has played for the Brim B-grade cricket team when he was needed as a wicketkeeper.
The sportsmanship award was received by Horsham netballer Emma Buwalda.
She was named Horsham A-grade’s best and fairest in back-to-back years.
Buwalda also came fourth overall in the Wimmera Netball Association’s best and fairest vote count, which meant she was the under-21 best player.
Her team mates and peers all agreed she was an outstanding sportswoman.
Volleyballer Kara Johnson was awarded the women in sport award.
The volleyballer showed outstanding contributions to Volleyball Horsham last year and was looked up to by all female members for her ‘never say die’ attitude towards playing.
Johnson was the treasurer of the association and the female’s coach in the Volleyball Horsham academy program.
As assistant coach of the Victorian Gold under 17 division one team, she won a bronze medal at the national juniors.
As a player she captained the Horsham women’s team that won a silver medal at the Bendigo Tournament and a gold at the Ballarat Tournament in division two.
She also coached the Phantoms division three girls to the State League finals in their first year. This was at the same time she won the Phantoms division two MVP award and played for the reserves women’s team in the finals.
Johnson coached the St Brigid’s College year nine girl’s team at the National Schools Cup and was the assistant coach for the year nine boy’s team that won gold.
She also obtained her referee accreditation last year and was an accredited coach.
The unsung hero winner was Maureen Campbell for her 43 years of service to the Horsham Football Netball Club despite not having any direct affiliation at the club.
She was always ready to assist and support the club where needed.
Campbell was on the ladies committee for 43 years, the canteen coordinator for 17 years and the Western Bulldogs supporters group secretary for 15 years.
David Berry was awarded coach of the year following his successful year coaching at Volleyball Horsham.
He was the head coach for the Volleyball Horsham academy program, which produced six state representatives. Berry’s Ballarat Tournament women’s division two team and National Schools Cup year nine boys division two team won gold.
He coach the Bendigo Tournament women’s division two and Warrnambool Tournament women’s division three teams, who won silver medals.
Berry also coached the National Juniors under-17 girls division one team that won a bronze medal.
Horsham’s St Brigid’s College was awarded the Sporting School of the Year for its student’s success in various sporting fields.
The students included were Maggie Caris, Sebastian Dalgleish, Steffi McDonald, Eloise Wills, Will Brennan, John Kearns, Aidan O’Connor, Noah Brennan, Sam Cameron, Harrison Combe, Zac O’Brien and Bailey Thomas.
The college also had individual state finalists in swimming, athletics and cross country and team state finalists in boys netball, girls football, senior and intermediate boys volleyball.
A number of students won regional competitions in football and tennis.
The college also had a number of gold medalists at the National Schools Cup for Volleyball.
Official of the Year was awarded to Matt McLoughlin from the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association.
McLoughlin proved himself to be a good official over the years and was eager to help junior referees throughout the stadium.
In the past 12 months he has officiated in Townsville at the Hello World Basketball Australia under-18’s and the Kevin Coombs Cup Championships.
He was rewarded with referring the men’s gold medal match at the championships.
Victorian Basketball Referees Association also selected him to officiate at the U20 Ivor Burge tournament in Gosford, New South Wales.
Horsham Saints Football Netball Club was awarded the Club of the Year award after a successful 2017 season.
Its season highlight was the A-grade netball team’s ‘fairy-tale’ win in the Wimmera Netball Association.
Coming from fifth on the ladder, the Saints came from behind in the third-quarter to beat Minyip-Murtoa, 48 to 47.
The club also supported the inaugural AFLW youth girls competition.
The team went through undefeated to claim the premiership.
St Brigid's College year nine boys volleyball team was named Team of the Year after winning gold in division two at the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup.
The team stepped up into B-grade in the Volleyball Horsham domestic competition and won the summer season title and came third in the winter season.
The team also had three members play at the National Juniors in Queenland for Victoria.
The local AAA Sports Star of the Year was awarded to Chantelle Duncan who competed at the Tri State Games.
She won four gold medals and two bronze medals.
Duncan was also named the woman athlete of the Tri State Games last year.
The national AAA Sports Star of the Year was awarded to Joel Emmett after returning from the World Dwarf Games with a bronze medal in basketball.
He also played badminton, soccer and weightlifting.
Emmett was knocked out in the round of 16 in the badminton singles and was beaten by the eventual gold medal winning team in the doubles.
His soccer team was knocked out in the quarter finals.
However, he lifted close to his personal best in the power lifting.
It was Emmett’s first experience competing at an international level.
Koori Sport Star of the Year was awarded to Cori Corrigan.
He was named both Ararat under-17 and Wimmera Football League’s best and fairest and leading goal kicker last year.
He also played for the West Eels in the A-grade Aboriginal senior state wide football carnival.
Horsham Pony Club's Morgan Lane was awarded Junior Athlete of the Year.
She was the Australian Stock Horse Society National Youth Point Score Competition 2016 winner in eventing.
Lane also competed alongside three other equestrians representing the Midland Zone to win the Pony Club Victoria Interzones State Championship for eventing grade four.
The grassroots award for a former Wimmera athlete winner for 2017 was Mitch Creek.
Creek made the Australian FIBA Asian Cup gold medal winning team and was selected in the Australian FIBA World Cup qualifiers team.
Other nominees were Shaun Bruce, Jake Lloyd, Sebastian Ross, Chloe Bibby, Tom and Oscar McDonald and Jarrod Berry.
Sport Star of the Year 2016 winner Jesse Iese was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Maggie Caris was awarded the Ian Nibblett scholarship.