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Author: Greater Building Society

Awards for top Hunter athletes

Some of the Hunter’s top young athletes have been recognised at this year’s Hunter Academy of Sport Awards held in Newcastle on Thursday night.

Hunter Academy of Sport CEO, Brett O’Farrell, said five major awards were handed out as part of a broader celebration of the achievements of the athletes and coaches participating in the Academy’s programs.  The winners of the major awards each received a $1,000 LifeSaver youth savings account from the awards’ major sponsor, the Greater Building Society.

Nicola Macdonald, 17, from Merewether, was named best and fairest athlete and also took out the outstanding female athlete award. Nicola took out bronze Woman’s U19 Scratch Event and silver in U19 team pursuit at the UCI Junior World Track Championships in Kazakhstan in August. Last week she won three gold medals in the individual pursuit, kieran and points race as well as a bronze in a scratch race at the U19 State Cycling Championships.

Erin Cleaver, 15, from Charlestown, took out the award for best individual performance by an Academy athlete for her performance at the IPC Athletics World Championships in October. She placed 4th in long jump and 6th in the 100m.

Ellie Lees, 17, from Lake Munmorah, was judged outstanding performer in a team sport for her selection to the U/17 NSW softball team last year, the U/19 NSW squad this year as well as selection in the Australian Womens’ training squad.

Kai Chapman, 16, from Cardiff Heights was named outstanding male athlete. Kai competed for Australia in the U/19 in Oceania Track Championships in New Zealand in October. Last week Kai won three gold medals in sprint, scratch and standing lap and a silver in the 1km ride at the U19 State Championships. He won a gold medal in the 66th Spectacle of Naaldwijk in Holland in July.

Mr O’Farrell said Academy athletes had performed exceptionally well this year which is testimony to their skill and dedication as well as the support they receive from Academy coaches and support staff.

“The Hunter Academy is an organisation built by the community and we want to thank everyone who has assisted our athletes to achieve great individual success,” Mr O’Farrell said.

Greater Building Society deputy CEO, Greg Taylor, presented the awards to the athletes. Mr Taylor said sponsorship of the awards was part of The Greater’s long-standing, broader support for the Academy and local athletes.

“We’re helping local athletes to be the best they can be in their chosen sport as well as to be financially fit and save for their financial future,” Mr Taylor said.

2015 Hunter Academy of Sport Major Award Winners

Nicola Macdonald Cycling David Williams Award Best & Fairest Athlete
Erin Cleaver Track and Field Ling's Trophy Outstanding Individual Performance by an Academy Athlete
Ellie Lees Softball Jack Farrell Memorial Award Outstanding Performer in a team sport by an Academy Athlete
Kai Chapman Cycling Terry Charlton Award Outstanding Male Athlete in an Academy Squad
Nicola Macdonald Cycling Saxon White Award Outstanding Female Athlete in an Academy Squad

The Hunter Academy of Sport is the largest regional Academy in Australia. More than 600 talented young sports people from the region participate in 28 different talent development programs. Visit