Teenage sporting all-rounder Samantha Graham has been named 'Sportsperson of the Year' for 2019 by the Cootamundra Sports Foundation (CSF).
The award, named in memory of the late Frank Smith, recognised her talent in basketball, netball, tag rugby and school-based sports.
Her prowess on the basketball court belies her slight size. Always one of the smallest members of her team, Samantha is also always one of the toughest.
After years as a star player for the Cootamundra Cougars honing her craft, 2019 saw Sam selected in the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup girl's U16s team to take part in their tour of New Zealand.
In New Zealand, the team won a gold medal, making Sam an Australian champion.
Back with her beloved Cougars that same year, Sam was proud to collect the MVP award when the team conquered West Wyalong by 40 points in the under 16s competition grand final.
Sam played in the ACT U16 tag rugby side, with her performance seeing her selected to play in the Anzac Cup for the Australian under 16s girls side. Unfortunately the Anzac Cup had to be postponed.
At Cootamundra High School during 2019, she gained the titles of Age Swimming Champion, Age Cross Country Champion and represented the school in their open soccer team.
Others honoured by the CSF include:
- Local Sportsperson of the Year - Aaron Byrne (rugby league and rugby union)
- Junior Sportsperson of the Year - Jack Clancy (equestrian)
- Sports Encouragement Award - Will English (futsal, soccer and athletics)
- Sporting Administrator Award - Pat Hickey (soccer)
- Sporting Team of the Year - Ex-Services Bowling Club (bowls)
- Junior Sporting Team of the Year - Cootamundra Public School Year 5/6 rugby team (rugby union)
- Service to Sport - Alan Moston (cycling)
- Special Recognition - Cootamundra Swimming & Lifesaving Club
Covid-19 restrictions and inability to hold their annual awards night did not deter the CSF from honouring those who excelled in their chosen sport/s.
Committee members met with each winner to personally present them with their award.
The CSF, which marked its 46th birthday this year, aims to promote sport, bring sporting guests to town and most importantly to foster 'Charity in Sport'.
It was a vision of the first executive that the CSF would raise funds to financially help sportspeople to follow their sporting goals.
Noted sportspeople were guests at a dinner, that would help raise funds for the organisation which were then given to community sporting groups and also provide an opportunity for locals to meet these people.
It is hoped the annual awards night can be back bigger and better next year.
The Cootamundra Herald extends its congratulations to each of the winners.