Athletes a class above

Athletes a class above

Two local young sporting superstars have been recognised for their dedication to their sports.

The duo has been named the Limestone Coast Regional Sporting Academy Athletes of the Year for their displays on the court and on the track in 2023.

Jami Buckley was one of the two young athletes to be awarded for their efforts in 2023 after an impressive year on the bike riding over 17,800km.

Buckley has claimed the athlete of the year award back to back after winning it as well in 2022, and admits he did not see the honour coming.

“To be honest it was a really big surprise to have my name called again to receive athlete of the year, but obviously really rewarding and a special moment I will remember,” he said.

Buckley hopes that he can inspire other in the academy to work hard as well.

“An important part of winning this award again is the same athletes that have been in the program for a few years now have watched me receive it back to back and I feel as though by sharing a snapshot of my journey gives new and current athletes that drive that anything is possible,” he said

The year was a big one for Buckley he entered with a goal in mind.

“My main objective was to expose myself to as many races, coaches and other competitors as much as possible before moving from the under 17 ranks up into the under 19 and elite ranks,” he said.

And that is what he did, competing at the Junior Track Nationals for the first time last year, and while he was unable to grab a spot on the podium for South Australia there were many positives to the tournament for Buckley who registered some personal best times and gained valuable experience, both these moments were highlights for Buckley in 

Buckley was also selected in the under 17 male South Australian Junior State team for the National Championships, the championship was held in September with Buckley one of the five selected in his age group.

Buckley is not short on goals in the new year.

“The major ones would be again representing South Australia again at national championships and qualifying for SASI, potentially even travel with my team to target some key road races across the country,” he said.

Buckley also hopes to give back to the program in the new year.

“I also want to work with the Limestone Coast Regional Sporting Academy to try and give back in some way for everything the program has done for me, potentially do some mentoring for new athletes,” Buckley said.

Buckley is also very thankful to the support around him.

“The Limestone Coast Regional Sporting Academy and everyone involved with it right from the gym, psychologists, nutritionists and my coaching group Rob Mann, Mike Bakker, Matt Opperman, Josh, Brett and everyone else that is always open to support and mentor me, and most importantly family and teammates,” he said.

“Without their support and endless hours of driving me to and from training/ racing week in and week out I would most definitely not be where I am today.

“This journey over the last 4-5 years has truly changed me as a person and l’lI be incredibly grateful for everyone’s support.”

Also taking home the award was Netballer Chloe Peacock, who had an outstanding year on the court, getting a chance to test herself on the national stage as well as being incredibly successful at a local level.

Peacock helped guide Kalangadoo to a 37 point win in the 15 and under grand final in the Mid South East Netball Association, as well as playing in the A grade final win for the Magpies.

For her incredible efforts Peacock was awarded with best on court in the final of the under 15s, this award coming days after winning the leagues best and fairest for the 15 and under.

The youngster also travelled to Western Australia in August to compete for South Australia at the School Sport Australia National Netball Championships.

Peacock was one of only two country players to be selected for the side, a testament to her skill on the court.

Peacock said she was honoured to receive the Limestone Coast Sporting Academy of the Year Award.

“I have been in the academy for five years now, which has changed me as a person and an athlete with the help of all the staff working tirelessly behind the scenes.

“I highly recommend to any young inspiring athlete to apply for the academy next year and to participate in all that it has to offer as I would not be where I am now without their support and guidance.”

Peacock has recently moved to Adelaide to attend boarding school at Westminster to further her education and sporting pathway.

“As the year has only just started netball trials have only just recently started and I’m excited to get back out on the netball court and further my knowledge,” she said.

“I have been at Kalangadoo for as long as I can remember and it was very sad leaving them but I the only way that I will improve myself and my netball game is by being comfortable in the uncomfortable and the amount of effort that I put in is the amount of reward I will get out of it.”

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