A 14-year-old cricketer who routinely plays against much older opponents is the South Burnett’s Junior Sports Award winner for 2016.
Courtney Sippel has been playing cricket since the age of six in South Burnett competitions mostly dominated by boys.
In the last few years she has represented Wide Bay in school cricket, captaining and co-captaining teams from age 10, and making her way into the Queensland team every year since 2012
She now often plays in teams well above her age.
In 2014, Courtney was named in the “Team Of The Championships” and selected in a 20-girl squad to train for four days at the National Cricket Centre.
Courtney is also a Level 4 gymnast and holds a Brown Belt with black tips in Shorinjiryu Karate.
She also secured a position in the U18 Cricket Australia XI team that played in Canberra a few weeks ago.
Other nominees for the 2016 Junior Sports Award were:
17-year-old Jayde Novak has overcome many physical challenges – including illness and spinal surgery – to win awards in sports ranging from swimming to ballet, showjumping, cross country and dressage. And in 2016 she will represent Kingaroy at interschool and national equestrian shows, as well as many big events in Queensland and NSW.
With the support of her coach, Jayde has also set a goal to part of the Rio Olympics Dressage Team, and she is achieving great results wherever she competes, riding regularly against adults and more experienced dressage competitors.
She is a dedicated and focused young sportswoman, who is acknowledged by her school as a great ambassador for the South Burnett and people generally, even though her physical challenges are such that she could go down the paraequestrian pathway. Instead, she chooses to compete against healthy and able-bodied competitors, and often wins.
Michael Evans, 13, has already clocked up some outstanding achievements. He has represented his school and clubs at the local, South Burnett and Wide Bay level, participating in State athletics, cricket and rugby league competitions. He has also represented Kingaroy State High School in swimming and cross country.
Michael represented the South Burnett in the U14 Brisbane Broncos Game Development Challenge, and played in the U13 and U14 teams at the Western Downs Junior Rugby League 2015 inaugural U13 and U14 Carnival held in Chinchilla. He is a member of the Wondai Proston Junior Rugby League Club and also the Wondai & District Town Band.
Shikira-Lee Matherson is another young South Burnett sportsperson. Shikira-Lee, 13, actively participates in Relay For Life and school fundraising activities, and has been recognised as her school’s “Athlete of the Year” for two years in a row.
Last year she represented Queensland in seven events at the Australian Swimming School Nationals in Adelaide, and was a finalist in the recent Australian Age Championships in Sydney.
Shikira-Lee was also age champion at Wide Bay long course and short course swimming championships and is a member of the Nanango Swimming Club, Wide Bay Swimming Team and Queensland Swimming teams
James Packer, age 12, is another emerging South Burnett talent, representing the region in rugby league, cricket, AFL and athletics. He also gives his time to help AFLQ coordinators deliver Auskick programs in local schools, and represented his school at last year’s Science Fair.
His recent foray into AFL saw him selected for the Queensland team that traveled to Geelong to compete at the National Championships, and he has now been included in the 2016 Brisbane Lions Academy Squad. He has represented the South Burnett on four separate occasions, and was named “Rookie of the Year” in the Darling Downs league by his AFL club, the South Toowoomba Bombers.
He finished this year as Nanango State High School’s Age Champion for athletics, and cleaned up with seven school sporting awards, including the Reg McCallum Shield for Sporting Excellence.
A goal setter on and off the field, James has represented Wide Bay for both rugby league and AFL, and participated in a Wide Bay talent camp for rugby league. He also played in the Queensland Country Team where he was vice captain, and the Queensland Blaze Team. And he was named Wide Bay’s Most Valuable Player in AFL.
Ebony Otto is another Nanango State High School student who has had a very busy 2015, representing the South Burnett in softball, soccer, basketball, cross country, athletics and cricket. Ebony has also represented Wide Bay in the Queensland state titles in softball, cross country, soccer and cricket. She was also selected in the Queensland state side for cricket as well.
Taylah Kidman is a Nanango State High School student and has represented the South Burnett in U12 softball, netball, cricket and athletics. She has also been selected in the Wide Bay U12 teams for softball, netball and cricket.
Taylah was also Nanango State High School’s U12 swimming age champion and runner up age champion, and voted the school’s “Best and Fairest: player in the U13 NSHS Vicki Wilson team. Her netball achievements include being an U12 rep team member for the Kingaroy/Nanango Netball.
James Hadley has competed at many swimming carnivals this year, and was awarded Murgon State High School’s Age Champion for 12 year olds, as well as aggregate age champion. He has represented Wide Bay at the Queensland School Championships and also represented Queensland at the Pacific School Games in November.
He also qualified to participate in the Queensland Short Course Championships and 2015 Queensland Sprint Championships in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and 100m freestyle.
Zak Hartman is a Nanango State High School student who excels at karate and kickboxing. He achieved his 2nd dan Black Belt during 2015 and as well as undertaking his own training, he helps teach classes in Nanango and Blackbutt.
Zak won multiple events during 2015 at the ISKA World title, ISKA State titles, World Association Kickboxing Organisation (WAKO) state and national titles, and participated in the 2015 ISKA National Titles in Sydney in November, achieving some great results with firsts in continuous sparring, point sparring, sword combat and a gold award in point fighting, kick light and light contact continuous.
Jack Hourn’s sporting ability covers many fields, touch football to golf, cricket, volleyball, swimming and athletics. He was awarded Kingaroy State High School’s 2015 Bass Blue Memorial Sports Award for his sporting involvement, leadership and success.
At 17 he has been both a player, coach and referee for the Kingaroy Touch Association and represented Wide Bay in swimming, volleyball and athletics. He is also an A Grade golfer with a single digit handicap, and has represented the South Burnett in golfing competitions. And he plays as both a B and A grade cricketer with the Kingaroy Services Club.