Motocross queen Courtney Duncan did it again.
Duncan (22) claimed supreme honours for a second straight year at the Waitaki Sports Awards at the Oamaru Opera House on Monday night.
The Palmerston flyer was also named Waitaki sportswoman of the year, ahead of rising Otago Spirit rugby player Morgan Henderson.
Duncan battled through injuries and bad luck to finish third in the women’s world motocross championships last year, and it seems only a matter of time before she will have achieved her childhood dream and be the best on two wheels in the world.
New Zealand junior rower Mark Taylor was given the nod in a hotly contested sportsman of the year category.
Taylor, the former Maadi Cup single sculls champion who wore the black singlet at the world junior championships for a second time, pipped Otago Volts cricketer Nathan Smith and multi-talented cyclist Tim Rush.
Coach of the year was again Narcis Gherca, who led his superb Oamaru Swim Club squad to the top of the Makos junior festival.
New Zealand under-19 rowing champion James Scott and New Zealand under-16 touch representative Jasmine Hunter won the junior categories, and Amelia Newlands (tennis and athletics) and Liam Direen (squash and cricket) won the emerging talent awards.
Scott then made it a double when he and Jared Brenssell were named Waitaki team of the year for their efforts in winning the New Zealand double sculls title.
There was a nice link for both families.
Jared’s mother, Carmen Brenssell, was part of the Aoraki netball team that won the same team of the year award in 1995. And James’s sister, Maysie Scott, was one half of the team of the year (with fellow rower Sydney Telfer) three years ago.
Trainer-driver Phil Williamson (masters sportsperson), swimmer Liam Bartley (athlete with a disability) and squash stalwart Leeanne Spite (Stewart Mitchell Award for official in sport) were the other category winners.
A popular recipient of the Denis Birtles Memorial Award for services to Waitaki sport was Shaun Cunningham, North Otago’s “Mr Hockey”, who has made a huge impact on the sport as a player, coach, administrator and volunteer.
Judges for the Network Waitaki-sponsored awards were Waitaki Community Recreation Centre manager Diane Talanoa, Otago Secondary Schools Sports Association director Nicki Paterson, North Otago Sports Hall of Fame inductee Trevor James, tennis guru Des McMaster, Sport Waitaki co-ordinator Mitch McRae, Otago Daily Times correspondent Terry O’Neill and Allied Press Oamaru advertising manager Mark Julius.
The guest speaker at the awards function was World Cup-winning Black Ferns halfback Kendra Cocksedge.