Counting down Fraser Coast top 10 sports achievements

THE BEST: Championship victories, debuts, international opportunities and breakout performances - Fraser Coast athletes did it all in 2018.

On Monday, we listed the best 18 moments from the Fraser Coast sports community in 2018. Today, we take a closer look at 10 top individual performances and achievements from last year.

Click here to view the Fraser Coast's best 18 moments of 2018

While the best 18 moments from last year was a close focus on the moments that grabbed the headlines, highlighted by our region's place in the world sailing spotlight for the Australian and World A-Catamaran Championships in November, this top 10 highlights the achievements of athletes who either grew up at the Fraser Coast or call this beautiful part of the world home, and took centre stage at a high level.

10. Hancock wins state and national karts titles

BLAKE Hancock drove his first kart in 2016. On January 27, the Maryborough man became a national champion.

A former junior sedans, street sedans and four cylinder driver, Hancock made the jump to the much smaller vehicle after his son, Jayden, was offered the chance to try.

Hancock immediately felt at home behind the wheel. He finished third in the state title, won Maryborough Speedway's club championship and was the club's overall champion of champion's in his first year.

In 2018, just his second season of competition, he followed his Australian championship win with success at the Queensland title.

His success is just a glimpse of what Maryborough Speedway's growing karts community is capable.

 

Maryborough Speedway hosted a weekend of SKAA Speedway Karts Australian Titles - Standard - Blake Hancock leads round two.
Maryborough Speedway hosted a weekend of SKAA Speedway Karts Australian Titles - Standard - Blake Hancock leads round two. Valerie Horton

9. Newbery makes his mark as the mountain man

THE Fraser Coast has produced many successful cycling products, but one man stole the spotlight after his heroics on two wheels.

Dylan Newbery, a product of Fraser Coast Cycling Club who rides for mobius Bridgelane, claimed the King of the Mountain and sprint jerseys in the elite men's road race at the Cycling Australia Road National Championships in January.

A shot at the two jerseys was never really part of Newbery's plan heading into the race, made even more astounding given just a few days earlier he lay sprawled on a hot Ballarat, Victoria, road after a spill in the men's criterium.

Newbery proved his success at the Australian championships was no fluke when he claimed the polka-dot jersey at the five-stage New Zealand Cycle Classic. Later, scans revealed he topped the KOM standings with a broken wrist.

 

CYCLING SPECTACULAR: Dylan Newbery at the Auswide Bank International Cycling Spectacular.
CYCLING SPECTACULAR: Dylan Newbery at the Auswide Bank International Cycling Spectacular. Mike Knott BUN120118CYCLING27

8. Braund's home wins, faces world's best juniors

COULD the next decade's tennis circuit be dominated by a Heritage City product?

It sounds like a prediction made far too early, but Tennis Australia coaches have described Maryborough ace Alec Braund as a young gun with limitless potential.

Braund, who trains under Bruce Rayner, is known for his lethal serve and blistering forehand, and in 2018 he had the chance to showcase those skills in the green and gold.

He represented Australia at the ITF World Junior Finals, and while he didn't return with a championship win Braund brought home plenty of experience from which he can develop his career.

Domestically, he added more titles to his growing junior resume, including the Australian Claycourt Championships in Canberra as well as his third straight Eddie Machin Medal at the Tennis Queensland awards.

 

Maryborough tennis player Alec Braund.
Maryborough tennis player Alec Braund. Matthew McInerney

7. The Superfish stuns state and national rivals

THE Fraser Coast is home to a number of extremely talented and promising swimmers, but one young athlete certainly stole the show.

Keith Ashcroft, dubbed the "Superfish", made an incredible splash at every competition in which he participated.

Born in Saipan, he spent short stints at the Philippines and Gold Coast before his family called Hervey Bay home.

Coached by Caleb Ryan, the Hervey Bay Swimming Club member not only had a year to remember, but was so good he attracted the attention of multiple south east Queensland colleges and high schools.

He returned from the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships with eight medals - five gold, three silver - and was Queensland's swimmer of the meet, and recently added more gold to his growing collection at the Swimming Queensland Championships.

 

 

Hervey Bay swimmer Keith Ashcroft swept the pool at the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships at Hobart, Tasmania.
Hervey Bay swimmer Keith Ashcroft swept the pool at the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships at Hobart, Tasmania. Matthew McInerney

6. Rhi's role in women's rugby league history

RHIANNON Revell-Blair ensured the Fraser Coast was part of one of the biggest moments in women's rugby league.

When Revell-Blair tucked a footy under her wing as a youngster at Eskdale Park, nobody expected the young Maryborough girl would go on to flourish as a top-level dual-code superstar.

While still developing as an athlete, Revell-Blair's speed and footwork has made her a prized asset in both rugby league and union.

She was part of title-winning rugby sevens teams, but it was wearing the No.5 for Queensland in the first official women's State of Origin game she made history.

Queensland may have lost the North Sydney Oval clash, but the big winner was women's rugby league.

 

RISING STAR: Emu Park's Rhiannon Revell-Blair, 17, is the youngest member of the Queensland team which will play in the inaugural women's State of Origin game tonight.
RISING STAR: Emu Park's Rhiannon Revell-Blair, 17, is the youngest member of the Queensland team which will play in the inaugural women's State of Origin game tonight. Scott Davis NRL Photos/QRL

5. O'Hanlon heroics lead to a New Zealand first

WHO knew a decision to switch allegiance to our Trans Tasman cousins in December, 2016, would carve Grace O'Hanlon's name into New Zealand sports lore?

A former Albert State School student who played her junior hockey for Maryborough Brothers, O'Hanlon was once on the Hockeyroos radar.

She moved to Perth in 2015 to train at Hockey Australia HQ but made the choice to move to the Land of the Long White Cloud, for whom she qualifies through her father.

It is a decision she said was the best she's ever made.

She earned her way into the Black Sticks, then produced a career highlight at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

O'Hanlon stepped in the net during the semi final against England as penalties loomed, but she wasn't fazed.

She pulled off several miraculous saves, NZ won the game then went on to win the country's first Commonwealth Games gold medal for hockey.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist for hockey Grace O'Hanlon with Zuleika-Paige Shemlowski of Albert State School.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist for hockey Grace O'Hanlon with Zuleika-Paige Shemlowski of Albert State School. contributed

4. The Fraser Coast Shark who became our first Dolphin

YOU would expect to struggle the first time you competed against recognised Olympic or Paralympic athletes, but Keira Stephens had none of that.

The England-born athlete is a regional representative on the netball court, but it is in the pool the Fraser Coast swim sensation truly shines.

Powered by a five-word mantra, "I can, and I will", Stephens has developed into a class swimmer on the right track to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

While many dream of the opportunity to represent their country, Stephens lived it last year when she earned a place in Australia's team for the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships in Cairns.

The opportunity to swim alongside and against recognised global athletes and be fully immersed in the Australian team means she knows what she has to do to get there.

Continual improvements on her times under local coach Marcus Elder and her desire to succeed will get her there.

 

 

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Dylan Newbery dominated the mountain, Keira Stephens swum at the Para Pan Pacs in Cairns, Blake Hancock won the Australian titles for karts, Matt Hauser won gold at the Commonwealth Games, Rhiannon Revell-Blair played in the first official women's State of Origin, (bottom left) Alec Braund represented Australia, and (bottom right) Beth Mooney was crowned Australia's best domestic cricketer.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Dylan Newbery dominated the mountain, Keira Stephens swum at the Para Pan Pacs in Cairns, Blake Hancock won the Australian titles for karts, Matt Hauser won gold at the Commonwealth Games, Rhiannon Revell-Blair played in the first official women's State of Origin, (bottom left) Alec Braund represented Australia, and (bottom right) Beth Mooney was crowned Australia's best domestic cricketer. Alistair Brightman

3. Jay McCarthy makes Australian cycling history

HE HONED his craft on the streets of Maryborough and the wider Fraser Coast but it was on Victorian roads Jay McCarthy made history.

McCarthy, the Fraser Coast Cycling Club member who now rides for World Tour team BORA-hansgrohe, became the first Australian to win the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in January.

He was forced to earn it, though a perfectly positioned hotel room above the finishing straight meant he knew the exact mark - 300m from the finish to be precise - to kick into his sprint.

McCarthy followed up that success with strong performances at the Tour Down Under, during which he was among the leaders until the penultimate stage.

 

 

Cadel Evans Road Race in Geelong.   Jay McCarthy of team Bora-Hansgrohe with the bunch sprint to win the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race    .Pic: Michael Klein
Cadel Evans Road Race in Geelong. Jay McCarthy of team Bora-Hansgrohe with the bunch sprint to win the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race .Pic: Michael Klein Michael Klein

2. Hauser makes his mark at the Gold Coast Games

EVERY person involved in Fraser Coast sport knows Matt Hauser has the talent, ability, and dedication to craft a long, successful triathlon career.

Now, the world knows.

Hauser had already shown what he could do at his Super League Triathlon debut in 2017 as well as his starring role in Australia's world title-winning mixed team relay the same year, but it was at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games he announced his arrival.

The Games debutant battled injury to finish fourth in the men's individual triathlon, just two seconds behind Scotland's Marc Austin, to prove he belonged on the world stage.

Two days later, he produced the fastest individual leg in the mixed team relay - and blew English icon Jonathan Brownlee out of the water - to win Australia's first gold medal in the event alongside Gillian Backhouse, Ashleigh Gentle and Jake Birtwhistle.

Serious injury cruelled the rest of his year, but he will be back bigger, stronger, and ready to show the world again.

 

 

Commonwealth Games gold medal winning triathlete Matt Hauser has just returned to training following a collision with a car a few months ago whilst on a training ride. Picture: Jerad Williams
Commonwealth Games gold medal winning triathlete Matt Hauser has just returned to training following a collision with a car a few months ago whilst on a training ride. Picture: Jerad Williams Jerad Williams

1. Mooney named the nation's best female cricketer

STANDOUT performances in the Women's Big Bash League, Women's National Cricket League and for the green and gold earned Beth Mooney one of the highest honours in Australian cricket.

A three-time winner of the Brisbane Heat's WBBL most valuable player award and 2017's International Cricket Council's ICC Women's Twenty20 International and Emerging Player of the year, Mooney was named Australia's female domestic cricketer of the year.

Mooney, who played her junior cricket for Hervey Bay's Cavaliers and went to school at Xavier Catholic College, edged Australian women's cricket icon Meg Lanning to win the domestic gong after her phenomenal 2016-17 WBBL2 campaign in which she scored 482 runs (an average of 43.81).

She received the award in February, and has gone on to cement her place in the Australian international lineup.

 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: Beth Mooney of the Heat bats during the Women's Big Bash League match between the Adelaide Strikers and the Brisbane Heat at the CitiPower Centre on December 02, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: Beth Mooney of the Heat bats during the Women's Big Bash League match between the Adelaide Strikers and the Brisbane Heat at the CitiPower Centre on December 02, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images) Michael Dodge

What would make your top 10 of sport's best individual achievements or moments? Tell us via email: sport@frasercoastchronicle.com.au.



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