It’s been an amazing 12 months for superstar runner Amelia Mazza-Downie.
Having dominated the 1500 metres at both state and national level in recent years, the Seaholme resident switched her focus to the 3000 metres.
While some athletes might take time to adjust to such a change, Mazza-Downie quickly showcased her special talents.
The Maribyrnong College student won a gold medal in the under-16 3000 metres at the national titles in Sydney last year and backed that performance up with a gold medal at the world-class Simplot Games.
The Simplot Games is the biggest high school indoor track and field event in the US, with 2000 athletes competing over three days each year in Pocatello, Idaho.
“It was great competing against really experienced athletes and just seeing the way they race,” Mazza-Downie said of her overseas experience.
“Since coming back to Australia and competing against the juniors, I’ve been just so much more mentally up there.”
Following her success overseas, Mazza- Downie went on to represent Australia at the world youth championships in Colombia.
For her achievements, the 16-year-old has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Don Deeble Rising Star Award.
The award is run by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club in conjunction with
Each month, a nominee receives $1000 donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club and other prizes to assist in reaching their sporting goals.
As the overall winner, Mazza-Downie last week received a cheque for $5000.
“I’m really thankful for everything the Yarraville Club and the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club do in putting this award on,” she said. “It’s a huge honour to win it.”
At the award presentation evening, outstanding cricketer Nicola Hancock was declared runner-up, taking home $2000.
Hancock has just come off her first season with the Melbourne Renegades in the Women’s Big Bash League and is a member of the Australian Shooting Stars development squad.
Exciting footballer Lachlan Fogarty finished in equal-third place after being selected for the Australian Institute of Sport academy.
Joining him in third spot was soccer and cricket player Annabel Martin, who plays for the Melbourne Victory women’s team and competed for Victoria at the national cricket championships.
Fogarty and Martin each received $1500.
This is the 10th year that Yarraville Club has been a major sponsor of the award. In that time it has donated $169,000.
Mazza-Downie is in good company, joining previous winners such as NBA player Dante Exum, Commonwealth Games representative Morgan Mitchell, Olympic bronze medallist Rachel Jarry and AIS Centre of Excellence for Basketball member Dejan Vasiljevic.
Sunshine Western Region Sports Club vice-president Barry Watson thanked Yarraville Club.
“Their sponsorship is a very major sponsorship and one that all the winning athletes greatly appreciate,” Watson said.
“We believe there’s probably no other award like this in Australia.”
The Sunshine Western Region Sports Club is seeking nominees for this year’s Don Deeble Rising Star Award. Nominations can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or for more information, call 8318 5777.