Celeste Mucci has beaten a star-studded field of young western suburbs athletes to emerge with the Don Deeble rising sport star of the year award for 2018.
The heptathlete was adjudged to be the best of the best at the annual awards night at the Yarraville Club on Wednesday night.
Mucci received the honour, along with $5000, donated by Yarraville Club Cricket Club.
“There’s so many amazing athletes in the west,” Mucci said.
“I’m really happy we get to have this awards night … I’m really grateful for this club and to the sponsors. I have a lot of interstate and international trips this year, so this money will definitely help towards that.”
Mucci, 19, a product of the Williamstown Athletics Club, competed at two major events in 2018.
She was in the Australian open-age team at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and represented Australia at the IAAF world under-20 championships in Finland.
Coming fourth in the Commonwealth Games on home soil is something Mucci will reflect upon fondly.
“I took away a lot of confidence from that trip overall and competing in front of a home crowd is something that I will never forget,” she said.
“I definitely learnt a lot from that experience and, moving forward, I’ll definitely take bits from that into my future competitions.”
Later in the year, in Finland, Mucci strutted her stuff on the international stage.
At the world under-20s two years ago, the Maribyrnong College graduate had to settle for 17th.
This time around, she just missed out on the podium, finishing fifth.
“Going back to my age group in my second world juniors as a top-age athlete, I definitely wanted to compete better than I did in 2016,” Mucci said.
“It was definitely one of the strongest competitions I’ve ever had, so to come away with a fifth, I was very happy.”
Mucci has a number of landmark events to tick off in the next 18 months.
Everything the Altona resident does will be geared towards qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I’ve got a few European competitions coming up this year,” she said. “Hopefully [I’ll]score well enough for the World University Games and put myself in a good position for next year’s national trials, which will be Olympic trials.”
Mucci will do it all with a smile. She relishes the chance to compete against the best heptathlates in the world and the challenges that come through training every day.
“The girls coming through my age are very strong as well,” she said. “I love all of them – they’re all great athletes and great girls.”
The Don Deeble rising sport star of the year 2018 runners-up, Bailey Lewis (taekwondo) and Luke Plapp (cycling), each received $2500.
The other finalists were Dylan Molinaro (squash), Dylan Brasher (cricket), Louise Mendes (athletics), Xavier O’Halloran (football), Carly James (hockey), Nikau Pouaka-Grego (baseball) and Frank Mazza (athletics).