2018 Awards Night

November 8, 2018

GCAS Awards Night

Each year the Gold Coast Academy of Sport hosts a night at the RACV Royal Pines where we recognise all athletes who undertake our specific sports programs. During the night we present each athlete with a certificate of participation and award an “Encouragement” award and “Athlete of the Year” for each sports program. Winners of these awards are selected by the coach of the specific program and are decided upon through their training ethics and participant in the program. This year’s winners are listed below.

It is also a time to recognise the coaches and coordinators of the program.

My message to people who were present on the night came from a speech I heard from Matthew McConaughey. He spoke about “the journey of life which I think relates so much to sport.” He speaks about “what he has learnt and most is from experience.” “Some lessons have been part of everyday life, many he is still practicing but all of what he has learnt is true. The question that we’ve all got to ask ourselves is what success is to us.   What success is to you. Be brave, take the hill but first answer the question “What’s my hill?” We must first define success and then put the work in to maintain it. Make the daily tally. Tend to our garden and keep the things that are important to us in good shape. Create more outcomes that pay us back. Fill us up. Keep your fire lit. Turn you on for the most amount of time in the future.

We try our best, we don’t always do our best. Study the habits, the practices, the routines that have led to and fed our success, our joy, our honest pain, our laughter and our earned tears. And we have more to dissect – be discerning, choose it because you want it, and then do it because you want to. Make mistakes and own them. Make amends and move on – turn the page, get off the ride.

You are the author of the book of your life.”

For me, this short grab from his full motivational speech had some great messages for athletes and families.

The night also recognised three four major award areas. These were Mayoral awards of which there were two, the Chairman’s award and the Male and Female athlete of the year.

The Mayoral award is given to an athlete who has shown outstanding commitment and effort in all areas of specific skill and course study throughout their program. Their coaches and fellow athletes acknowledged their contributions to the regular training sessions and their potential to further develop as outstanding sports people. There were two Mayoral awards given to athletes.   Hesed Lote-Felo from the sport of Rugby Union. The citation from coach Jack Moon said, “This young man has been a pleasure to work with. This is his second season involved with the game and he has already shown evidence that he will be a real asset to the game of rugby. His energetic, polite and cheeky personality makes him a real hit with team mates and those around him. Always the first to ask others if they need help, he is a popular member. I have acknowledged that Hesed’s best attribute is his ongoing desire to learn.”

The second Mayoral award went to Jordan Billing from the Future Stars program. Coordinator Casey West, said this of Jordan, “Jordan participates at a high level in Basketball, Surf Life Saving and Swimming. She trains mornings and nights most days, sometimes doing two swimming sessions and a basketball session in one day. Jordan is incredibly committed and passionate about sport and working hard to achieve her goals. We certainly hope that her name continues to be associated with the top performers in her chosen sport.”

The Chairman’s award is given to an athlete who epitomizes the values of the Academy which are: Achieve your best in every aspect of life; Excel in everything you do; Inspire others and yourself by your deeds; and last but not least, Respect yourself, the gifts and opportunities you’ve been given and those around you.

The Chairman’s Award goes to Juliet Hackett.

Juliet’s citation read, “She has spent a lot of time promoting the sport to increase its profile. This year Jules was part of a team that placed 1st at Regionals, going on to represent at the state championships finishing 2nd. The nationals will be held in November this year. Late in 2017, Jule’s team finished 3rd in Nationals achieving the bid to go to the global games in New Zealand. Jules is a level 3 athlete and flyer of the year, achieving all girl MVP for the club.

Cheerleading is taking the world by storm and Jules has created and continues to update her own Instagram page on the sport. At only 15, she has around 55,000 followers. She has the 5th largest cheer account internationally and it is in the top 10 of accounts that is not attached to a product. And, astonishingly, she has achieved this in only two years.”

In addition to this, Juliet competed on the weekend in the Spring Carnival. Her open 4 team scored a ‘bid’ to compete at Pinnace the day after Nationals. Nationals are to be held here on the Gold Coast on the 23rd – 25th November 2018. To score a bid to compete here you have to be one of the highest scoring teams nationally. Juliet also competed in the individual event for the best senior bow and arrow, winning the event across all clubs.

The Female athlete of the year for the Gold Coast Academy of Sport went to Kyra Livermore from the Future Stars program linked with Upper Coomera State College.

Written by her teaching coordinator, Kyra’s citation read, “This athlete is mature beyond her years, as evidenced through both her achievements this year as well as her ability to deal with a long-term injury. As a 14-year-old this season she played in four different divisions for her hockey club ranging from U15’s to division 1 women. She was selected in numerous representative teams including U15 Qld indoor and outdoor, U19’s South Coast, U18’s Gold Coast as well as being a shadow player for the U16 Qld schoolgirls team and a squad member for the U18 Qld team which comes together early next year. This athlete listens intently to the information provided to her by her range of coaches, always looking at how she can better herself as a player. She actively utilises the skills presented during the GCAS education sessions to ensure she is optimising her off field development to match her on field achievements. She is a pleasure to work with and is undoubtedly a star of the future. Kyra is a young athlete to keep an eye on. Impressive and most of all, humble.”

 The Male Athlete of the Year is Jac Preston from the Future Stars program. His citation is quite outstanding with a future in car racing very likely. “Jac is the 2017 reigning Australian and Victorian State Rotax Pro Tour Junior Max Champion. He attended the 2018 Australian Rotax Pro Tour Series earlier this year (open age division) (This was held over 6 Rounds and in 4 states). He competed in the DD2 Class (direct drive, 2 speed gear box). He finished in 3rd place overall, after all the rounds achieving the following results in the series:    

Round 3 – 2nd outright

Round 4 – Pole Position 2 Heat wins and 3rd in the Final

Round 5 – 1 Heat win and 4th in the Final

Round 6 – 1 Heat win

He travelled to the 2018 United States Nationals in New Jersey, USA July this year with the following results, qualified 3rd overall, with a heat and a pre-final win. He started on pole for the final but unfortunately had mechanical issues and had to retire which was extremely disappointing. In New Zealand in September at the 2018 NZ National Rotax Series in round he placed 2nd.

Only a couple of weekends’ ago, Jac competed at the invitation only, National 2018 “Race of Stars” at Pimpama in DD2 Class with a chance of winning a ticket to the World Titles in Brazil in November.   He qualified 4th overall only 4/100’s from the winner which showed how competitive this class was.   He finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in three heats but unfortunately did not finish in the final. Jac is an all or nothing sort of driver and when it came down to make a shot for the lead at the 3rd last corner of the last lap it didn’t come off and he didn’t finish. At 15 years of age, a great attribute I am sure to have as a race car driver.  

He will be travelling to Las Vegas in Nov to compete at the USA SKUSA International race in Las Vegas in the KZ Class – Super Kart USA. (equivalent of national body of USA). Earlier this year, Jac went to Melbourne to trial for Formula 4 (stepping stone to Formula 1 – junior formula of international motor sport). He has the world of racing ahead of him. Watch out for his name in the future.”

Sport   Award Coach / Coordinator
Future Stars Emelia Surch Athlete of the Year Casey West
Future Stars Jetty Jenkins Encouragement Award
Rugby League Boston Tagg Athlete of the Year Nathan Antonik
Rugby League Tom Vayro Encouragement Award
Rugby Union Ryan Wildman Athlete of the Year Jack Moon


Rugby Union Lachlan Smith Encouragement Award
Basketball Zahryn Fetch Athlete of the Year Thalo Green
Basketball Conor Wilson Encouragement Award
AWD Basketball Jacob Hohl Athlete of the Year Thalo Green
AWD Basketball Jackson Ross Encouragement Award
Future stars UCSC YR 7 Maddox  Hannigan Athlete of the Year Matt Stevens
Future stars UCSC YR 7 Sara Salete


Encouragement Award
YR 8/9 Kiana Robertson Athlete of the Year Nick Alidenes
YR 8/9 Laith Kahn Encouragement Award
Senior Talena Irvine Athlete of the Year Nick Alidenes
Senior Georgia Cutsforth Encouragement Award
Surf Life Saving Ava Lorch Athlete of the Year Matt Palmer
Surf Life Saving Jayke Menefy Encouragement Award


A great night was had by all and it was wonderful to see the expressions of athletes who won awards on the night. Congratulations to all athletes who participated and particularly to the parents and carers who drive them to training and competitions. Without you their sporting careers would certainly not happen.

In the coming months, I hope to advise people of the sports that will be catered for in 2019 and inform how athletes can become involved.