The Academy celebrated its 15th Annual Athlete Dinner & Awards Night on Saturday 21 September at St Marys Leagues Club.

Over 300 attendees included athletes, families, staff and many of the Academy’s key stakeholders.

Academy alumni and Diamonds Netball squad member Paige Hadley and three-time Diving Olympian Melissa Wu were guest speakers and shared their inspirational journeys. Fiona Crawford, dual Softball Olympian was the MC.

Paige spoke with Fiona about her experience with the Academy saying, “they teach you to fight back and build resilience, it opens new doors and gives opportunities to break through to an elite level.

“It’s about the journey and making new connections along the way” she said. “I can look back and still talk about memories from the Academy.”

The dinner was an opportunity to celebrate the involvement of over 240 athletes in the Academy’s programs and as has been the tradition, one athlete from each sport program is selected to receive an Athlete of the Year award.

This year’s recipients include:

AFL Girls                                      Amelia Bennett

Basketball, Penrith Hub             Jonah Pares

Basketball, The Hills Hub          Tom Cochrane

Canoe Slalom                             Sophie Wilson

Cycling                                         Samantha Beatty

Digital Realty Netball                 Charli Fidler

Golf                                              Blake Murray

Rowing                                        Annelise Isaacs

Softball                                       Caitlin Wilde

Triathlon                                     Olivia Fawns

The Team Athlete of the Year award is given to one athlete who has showed dedication in a squad-based program. This year it was taken out by softball athlete Bridie Murphy and the event culminated with the announcement of Woolworths Scholarships for the highest achieving male and female athletes.

The two Woolworths Scholarship winners were:

Female                                     Brenna Tarrant (AFL Girls U18)

Male                                         Jack Besgrove (Softball)

Team Athletes of the Year 2019