The winners from the 2017 NSWIS Awards have been revealed following a gala ceremony at the Sydney Cricket Ground to honour the state’s finest athletes and coaches.
Taking out top honours on the night was freestyle moguls world champion Britt Cox, who was named the Office of Sport Female Athlete of Year following a stellar season on the slopes.
The highlight for Cox came at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships, where she claimed Australia’s first ever world title in the women’s freestyle moguls, before going on to claim the season-ending Crystal Globe for winning seven world cup gold medals.
“It was such an exciting year for myself and the entire moguls program,” Cox said. “I was so excited to achieve my first world cup victory at the first event of the season. To cap it off with the world championships made it even better.”
Cox now heads into the new season and the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympic games as the favourite to take home gold.
“I finished the season and came home and I looked back on the footage of my skiing and picked it to pieces and there was so much that I watched I felt like I could improve upon.
“I decided to set myself the goal of ‘this run’, this image in my head of the ultimate run that a female has ever done in mogul skiing, and that’s what I’ve been working towards in my training.”
It was also a successful night for Cox’s coaches, Steve Desovich and Jerry Grossi, who were joint-winners of the Southern Design Coach of the Year award for their efforts in guiding Cox to victory.
Fellow winter sports athlete and rising snowboard star Tess Coady made it a night to remember for the NSWIS Winter Sports Program, taking home the Mizuno Junior Athlete of the Year after winning two junior world championship titles in a staggering breakthrough year.
“I’m most proud of the junior world championships. It was the best result I could have asked for,” Coady said, reflecting on her year.
An impressive season for NSWIS rowers contributed towards two more of the night’s biggest awards, with Jack Hargreaves, Spencer Turrin and Josh Hicks being named the joint-winners of the Arrowfield Stud Male Athlete of the Year award.
The rowing trio was part of the Australian crew that won coxless four world championship gold, ending Australia’s 26-year wait for a world title in the event.
Their success, together with world championship gold from para-rower Erik Horrie, and the establishment of the women’s rowing national training centre in NSW, helped towards the NSWIS Rowing Program being named the Sydney Olympic Park Authority Program of the Year.
Water polo player Lachlan Hollis provided one of the inspirational stories from the night after being recognised with the Ian Thorpe OAM Most Outstanding presented by Ryde Toyota award.
Three years ago Hollis was diagnosed with cancer, but returned to full health and the Australian men’s water polo team in 2017, while also managing the development of his personal training business, Holistic Fitness.
“Coming into the national squad after having such a tough battle, putting back on the green and gold costume to me is a massive thing,” Hollis said of his return to sport.
“Going through tough times makes you a stronger person, physically and mentally. I’m a lot more mature, definitely value life a lot more, and I wake up each day and attack life.”
His fellow NSWIS water polo player Hannah Buckling was also in the winner’s circle on the night, taking home the University of Sydney Academic Excellence award.
Buckling competed with great success for Australia, including a top-eight finish at the FINA World Championships, while also and studying to become a doctor at the University of Sydney.
Completing the star-studded list of NSWIS athletes and coaches claiming awards on the night was cyclist Kaarle McCulloch, who won the ClubsNSW Personal Excellence award after an excellent year both on and off the track.
McCulloch bounced back from missing Olympic selection 2017 to re-claiming her place on the national team, before going on to win world championship silver on the bike and earn excellent results while studying a Bachelor of Education at Charles Sturt University.
A full list of the award winners from the 2017 NSWIS Awards is below:
The full list of NSW Institute of Sport Awards finalists is:
University of Sydney Academic Excellence
Hannah Buckling (Water Polo – Mosman)
ClubsNSW Personal Excellence Award
Kaarle McCulloch (Cycling – Wilton)
Ian Thorpe OAM Outstanding Achievement presented by Ryde Toyota
Lachlan Hollis (Water Polo – Cabarita)
Mizuno Junior Athlete of the Year
Tess Coady (Winter Sports – St Kilda)
Sydney Olympic Park Authority Program of the Year
Southern Design Coach of the Year
Steve Desovich/Jerry Grossi (Winter Sports)
Office of Sport Female Athlete of the Year
Britt Cox (Winter Sports – Mount Beauty)
Arrowfield Stud Male Athlete of the Year
Jack Hargreaves, Josh Hicks, Spencer Turrin (Rowing)