REVEALED: The Coffs Coast's best 19 young athletes of 2019
AFTER a massive year of sport on the Coffs Coast, athletes are getting ready to enjoy some well-earned rest over the holiday season.
With the region a breeding ground for exceptional sporting talent in numerous disciplines, we thought we'd take a look back at the young guns who stole the headlines and our hearts throughout 2019.
It wasn't an easy job, with some talented youngsters unfortunately missing the cut.
But here's the Coffs Coast Advocate's 19 best junior athletes of 2019:
19. Xanthi Hand - Rugby league
One of the youngest players in the side, Xanthi quickly became an attacking weapon for the premiership winning Coffs Harbour Comets ladies league tag outfit. NRL clubs in Sydney are now interested in the services of the youngster who has been ear tagged for a big future.
18. Ben Gibbeson - Aussie rules
Still just a teenager, Ben is a dominant force up front in the AFL North Coast competition for the premiership winning Coffs Harbour Breakers. In 2019 Ben also did some great work to raise awareness for a cause close to his heart.
17. Jodi Stevens - CrossFit
After a blossoming career in football started to gain traction, Jodi decided to take up CrossFit to give her an edge on the pitch. Three years later the 14-year-old became a national champion and dispelled the myth developing bodies shouldn't lift weights.
16. Hayley Fischer - Hockey
One of the top hockey prodigies in the state, Hayley's game continued to develop throughout 2019. Her reward was being selected for the Hockey NSW Athlete Acceleration Program, designed to fast-track her into the state's under-18 side.
15. Georgie Martin - Cricket
Whether it's indoors or outdoors, Georgie knows how to handle herself when she's wielding a Gray-Nicolls blade. This year the John Paul College student was selected for the All Schools NSW under-16 indoor cricket team.
14. Lenny McKechnie - Rugby league, rugby union and Aussie rules
This Orara High School student may have a big future in multiple codes. This year Lenny represented Australia at the Junior Oceania Rugby Queensland tournament, played Aussie Rules in Melbourne and competed in the NSW State Cup in rugby.
13. Darcy Habgood - Golf
Darcy, who grew up in a golfing family, has roamed golf courses from a young age. This year she took a step to realising her dream of playing on the LPGA tour by accepting a four-year scholarship to Washington State College.
12. Rosie Smart - Surfing
The first of three surfers on the list, Rosie carved up in 2019 with some of her highlights including taking out the under-14 girls Billabong Oz Grom Cup and winning the Straddie Assault with the Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club.
11. Jacob Ford - Squash
Having won multiple Australian titles and a prestigious NSW Sports Award, Ford decided to pack up and leave the Coffs Coast and head to Brisbane in the middle of 2019 to take his squash to the next level.
10. Bonnie Hills - Surfing
Bonnie was a model of consistency on her board in 2019, making seven junior groms finals and helping the Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club become an elite force.
9. Ben Warden - Ice hockey
Not the most popular sport in the region, but Coffs can lay claim to a young star. Ben Warden won Queensland's Most Valuable Player Award at the under-13 Australian Championships and is eyeing off an Australian jersey in the near future.
8. Carly Shanahan - Surfing
Dubbed as a throwback surfer by coach Lee Winkler because of her power on the water, Carly's achievement's this year included winning two titles at the Barney Miller Classic, coming third at the Billabong Oz Grom Cup and winning the under-18 girls final at the Ocean and Earth Regional Junior Titles.
7. Lily Pade - Tennis
The young tennis ace has had a groundbreaking 2019, with some of her numerous feats including competing in the Fiji Open and winning the North Coast Academy of Sport's Indigenous Athlete of the Year Award.
6. Cameron Pollard - Golf
Cameron saved the peak of his 2019 until December, with the golfing gun currently down in Sydney competing in the Australian All Abilities Championship before he tackles the Disability Cup next weekend. Earlier in the year Cameron won the Macau Golf Masters tournament run by the Special Olympics.
5. Maddy Gough - Swimming
The former star pupil of Coffs coach Dean Laurence, Maddy Gough had sweet retribution in July when she was able to compete in the World Swimming Championships. She also won a silver medal at the Australian National Swimming Championships.
4. Alex Harrison - Athletics
High jumping sensation Alex claimed a gold medal at the under-17 National Championships in Sydney in May. The versatile athlete is also on the way to carving out a career in heptathlon.
3. Oskar Dillon - Football
With his parents having relocated from the Coffs Coast to the Gold Coast to allow Oskar to pursue his footballing ambitions, their faith has well and truly been paid back in 2019 after their son won the NPL Queensland Young Player of the Year and is on the cusp of signing an A-League contract.
2. Madeleine McTernan - Swimming
2019 has been a massive one for the Coffs Harbour product, with Madeleine going from strength to strength. Some of her highlights included claiming a medal at the World Para-Swimming Series Championships, winning eight gold medals at the Australian Age Championships and securing gold for Australia at the Global Games in Brisbane.
1. Daniel Campbell - Football
It's hard to go past Daniel as the top young sporting talent on the Coffs Coast. Now a regular fixture for the Pararoos, Daniel won their player of the year, went to a World Cup and scored the national team's first goal on home soil in 19 years just last week in Sydney.