PHOTOS

Lovett and Williams are the big winners of Parkes Shire Sports Awards

From international, national and state stars to local mentors influencing the next generation - the Parkes Shire's outstanding athletes, coaches, managers and administrators were all celebrated once again on Tuesday.

The 2020 Parkes Shire Sport Awards were held during the Australia Day official ceremony in Cooke Park with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Kookaburra and former Parkes hockey junior Kurt Lovett was named Parkes' Sportsperson of the Year for a third consecutive year though this time he shared the with fellow hockey star Mariah Williams after the pair were named in the 2021 Hockeyroos and Kookaburras squads.

Squash star Henry Kross, the under 11 National Champion, received the Junior Sportsperson of the Year while Meghan Kempson received the Coach of the Year award.

Congratulations to all the award winners!

Sportsperson of the Year - Mariah Williams (Hockey) and Kurt Lovett (Hockey)

For their fantastic representation of their home town, state and country, Mariah and Kurt were named joint winners of the Sportsperson of the Year.

During 2020, Mariah was again selected in the 2021 Hockeyroos squad and has continued to be a standout performer for the national team and since making her debut she has scored 15 goals from her 83 appearances.

She continues to train with the Australian side as they prepare for the Hockey Australia Super Camp.

In February 2020, Kurt made his debut for Australia against Great Britain in the International Pro League Tournament.

The next month, he played two games for Australia in India against the Indian team in the International Pro League Tournament.

He continued to train with the Australian squad and prepare for the Kookaburras Super Camp for 2021 National selection.

Late last year, Kurt was presented with a plaque to congratulate him being the 431st player to represent the Australian Kookaburras.

The players were represented at the awards by Kurt's dad John Lovett and Mariah's close family friend Dusty Powter, and both read a speech on behalf of the winners, with dad John saying Kurt is absolutely honoured to receive the joint Sportsperson of the Year Award.

Kurt has just finished two weeks of isolation in Perth ahead of going into camp in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

Dusty said Mariah is also thrilled to receive the award and she congratulated the five other nominees.

"The talent coming out of Parkes consistently is quite amazing," she said.

Williams said she is very grateful for the on-going and enormous support from her home town.

Dusty added "everytime they (Lovett and Williams) run out on the field they wear their Parkes heart on their sleeve".

Junior Sportsperson of the Year - Henry Kross (Squash)

Henry had an outstanding year on the squash court during 2020.

He won the NSW Under 11's 2020 Junior State Squash titles and then represented NSW at the Australian Junior Championships held on the Gold Coast in December.

Henry won the title at the National Championships, which is the highest ranked junior tournament in Australia, claiming the boys under 11 division.

Team of the Year - Parkes Boars First Grade Rugby Union

The Parkes Boars First Grade Rugby Union team took out the New Holland Cup in 2020, defeating the Mudgee Wombats 21 - 18 in a thrilling grand final in September.

In what was a tough year, where there was so much uncertainty and the possibility of cancellation lingered over the majority of the season, the Boars players, trainers and the support crew showed true grit and determination to win the Premiership.

Fly half Luke Bevan, who was nominated for Sportsperson of the Year, was named Player of the Match in the grand final and also scored the most points across the season for the entire competition.

Referee, Umpire or Official of the Year - Jay Cross (Squash)

Jay plays a pivotal role in officiating and umpiring squash competitions both at local and regional levels.

During 2020, Jay was the tournament director of the NSW Junior State Titles and coordinated the Western Region Squash competitions for both Juniors and Seniors.

Jay is an excellent ambassador of squash and places a significant emphasis on junior development pathways.

Coach, Trainer or Manager of the Year - Meghan Kempson (Football)

Meghan is setting the path for other female coaches in the region to follow as coach of the inaugural Parkes Cobras side, in addition to coaching Western NSW and attending a camp for the Young Matilas - a fantastic sign for her future development.

While massive strides have been made over the past decade in regard to the participation, pathways and professionalism of women's sport, coaching has lagged behind somewhat.

Megan has previously helped established the women's football side at CSU Bathurst, and as Cobras coach in their inaugural season this year she was the only female coach in the league.

Her ability to maintain a positive stance and give effective feedback cannot be taught.

When she spoke, everyone listened and that's hard to do with a room full of frustrated young men.

Long Service and Dedication Award - Graeme Hando

A pillar in the Parkes Shire Community, Graeme has been involved for many years in the harness racing industry, particularly for the Peak Hill Harness Racing Club as committee member, vice president and president.

He was also a Western Districts Committee Member, where he advocated for Harness Racing to stay in the Western area.

Graeme is also a sponsor of Peak Hill and Parkes Harness Racing, the Peak Hill Showground Trust Committee Member and a facilitator of the new Peak Hill Showground Amenities.

He is a humble man and you will find very few pictures or interviews with Graeme Hando, as he is always working behind the scenes.

Administrator of the Year - Andrew Thomas (Junior Rugby League)

2020 was a challenging year for all sports including Parkes Junior Rugby League and Andrew did a fantastic job in coordinating and administering the junior rugby league competition in challenging circumstances.

Without the determination, persistence and hard work demonstrated by Andrew, Parkes would have struggled to enter teams into the local competitions.

He has also been a driving force in delivering improvements to the Pioneer Oval facility.

Ron Harrison Sports Bursary - Henry Kross (Squash) 

The Ron Harrison OAM Memorial Sports Bursary has been running since 1985 and provides funding for aspiring young athletes - this year's recipient was squash player Henry Kross.

Henry also received $650 worth of funding last year, as one of three people who were awarded with the Bursary.

Peak Hill Sportsperson of the Year - James Robinson

James Robinson is a champion lawn bowler, and has previously represented NSW at a National school level.

Trundle Sports Award - Trundle Junior Cricket