Young stars in running

Zach Murray
Zach Murray

GOLF sensation Zach Murray will face national hockey stars, along with a World Cup bound water polo player, in the race to be named the best of the Border’s young athletes.

Twelve finalists representing 10 sports were yesterday announced as part of the Sport Albury-Wodonga Norske Skog Young Achiever Award.

Sport Albury-Wodonga president Rob McDonald said he was happy with this year’s field.

“We have a very good group of nominees,” he said.

“There are a number of people of a very high quality in there.”

Among the finalists is up-and-coming golfer Murray, 16, who was last year nominated by Golf Australia as the sole representative at the junior players in Florida and also won the Aaron Baddeley international in China.

Water polo player Nick Dempsey is also nominated ahead of travelling to the under-18 World Cup in Turkey in August this year.

Jocelyn Bartram is already entrenched in the NSW hockey system, while Ben Hooppell is part of a future stars program that has identified him as a potential Kookaburra.

Mr McDonald said it was important to recognise a diverse range of athletes and sports involved.

“There’s a really wide range of sports in there,” he said.

“It’s a really good field.”

Last year’s award was taken out by Wodonga-born Paralympian sprinter Jodi Elkington, who competed at the London Paralympics in 2012.

Former Albury softballer Peta Edebone, an Olympic silver and bronze medallist, will be a special guest on the awards night.

Mr McDonald said it was important to bring the region’s high achieving athletes back for the ceremony.

“We always try to obtain a good guest speaker to inspire the young achievers and make them strive for a little more,” he said.

The finalists also include Casey Wild (golf), Josh Briant (water skiing), Matthew Ward (swimming), Mahalah Mullins (snowboard slopestyle), William McIntosh (cricket), James Willett (clay target shooting), Nathan Rodgers (triathlon) and Jordan Boys (kart racing)

The award is based on performances during the past 12 months.

“We’ll go through each of the finalists’ resumes bit by bit,” McDonald said.

The awards presentation will take place in the Commercial Club auditorium on Friday, March 21.