For aspiring athlete Ethan Crossingham, sport is more than just something he does – it’s what makes him feel alive.
The 16-year-old was just one of the rising stars recognised at The Examiner-IGA Tasmania Juniors Sports Awards on Wednesday night.
More than 200 people attended the gala event at County Club Tasmania, recognising Northern Tasmania’s individual sporting talent, successful teams and those working behind the scenes.
Triathlete Ethan Stretton and tenpin bowler Sarah Pennicott were named the male and female junior sportsperson of the year, while the Ricky Ponting Service to Sport Shield was awarded to Northern Tasmanian hockey convenor David Hickman.
Editor Courtney Greisbach said The Examiner was proud to help recognise Northern Tasmania’s emerging sports stars.
“Every week we dedicate pages in our paper and resources for online to champion the junior sport talent and results in our community as well as statewide,” she said.
“We do this because sport is more than just a game or a result. It’s acknowledgment of resilience, perseverance and dedication.
“Junior sport promotes a healthy lifestyle, teamwork and encouraging friendships.
“Those who participate in sport will develop leadership skills that will add value to our community for years to come.”
Winners were announced across seven categories – including the inaugural Phil Edwards Bursary.
The $500 scholarship was created in honour of respected journalist and teacher Phil Edwards, who passed away suddenly last year.
St Helens footballer Ethan Crossingham was announced the winner, after submitting a passionate essay about the way sport had changed his life.
“What I love about sport ... is it keeps me present, keeps it real, makes me feel alive,” Crossingham said.
“It helps me navigate life. It teaches me how to trust, how to be loyal and how to be honest.
“My involvement in sport is simply for me about enjoyment.
“Being lost in a time and moment. Being free from the pressures of life and school.
“Being with like minded people. My tribe. My people.
“Sport is not just something I do. It is me.”
Jess Edwards, who presented the award, said Crossingham’s entry perfectly epitomised her father’s legacy.
“It was so beautifully written,” she said
“He really portrayed a love of writing and a love of sport – which is what my dad was all about.
“That is how we want him to be remembered.
“Ethan was really able to portray how much sport means to him and about doing what you are passionate about and what you love.”
During the awards, former AFL player and Launceston Football Club coach Sam Lonergan also took to the stage to shed light on his career to date.
Sitting down with The Examiner’s sports editor Rob Shaw, Lonergan had one clear message for the young faces in the audience – never give up.
“It is about understanding that someone in your career is always going to tell you you’re not good enough, and then there will be that one person telling you are too good all the way along,” he said.
“It is about finding a balance in that.
“If you push and strive to be the best person and the best athlete you can be, than good things will come from that both in sport and in life.”
2018 Junior Sports Award winners:
- Female Junior Sportsperson of the Year – Sarah Pennicott
- Male Junior Sportsperson of the Year – Ethan Stretton
- Female Rising Junior Star of the Year – Bethany Hirst
- Male Rising Junior Star of the Year – Hugh Dolle
- Ricky Ponting Service to Sport Shield – David Hickman
- Team of the Year – Scotch Oakburn senior boys rowing squad and Northern Tasmanian Junior Soccer Association under 12 gold representative team.
- Phil Edwards Bursary ($500 sport and education scholarship) – Ethan Crossingham