DET NSW School Sports Unit
008. Parkes student receives Australia Day honour
Story submitted by Andrew Dean
In the small rural township of Parkes, located in Western NSW, 2007 was a year full of many successes for one local Year 6 student. Mariah Williams. Mariah, who is now a current member of Year 7 at Parkes High School, is an athlete with the world at her feet and a person who has a strong passion to achieve.
Williams, who started playing hockey at the age of 5, was recently announced the Joint Parkes Junior Sportsperson of the Year at the annual Parkes Australia Day Ceremony, due to her many outstanding achievements throughout 2007.
In May, Mariah’s year of success began, being announced in the 2007 Western Area PSSA Hockey team along with fellow Parkes hockey players Emily Dean and Emily Townsend. Mariah displayed an excellent level of skill and sportsmanship, including scoring 10 goals, at the NSWPSSA State Carnival which Western won. Here she was considered by many to be the player of the carnival. After three days she was selected in the NSW PSSA Hockey Team.
Soon after, Mariah, following in the footsteps of her sister Madelyn, who was in the NSW PSSA Hockey Team in 2001, made the long journey along with her family to Adelaide, where she competed in the Australian School Sports Carnival, displaying the highest level of teamwork, skills and sportsmanship. Mariah scored 3 goals and was an important team member because of her powerful, accurate hitting and trapping skills. She contributed significantly towards the NSW teams’ respectable 2nd placing in the Australian School Sports Carnival.
Another of Mariah’s many hockey victories was celebrated at the 2007 annual Middleton Public School Awards Evening where she was named the 2007 Western Area PSSA Junior Sportsperson of the Year. The significance of this award can not only be seen through Mariah being the first female recipient of this award in Parkes, but also through this award being presented to only one student in Western Area from Year 3 to Year 9. This evening was also a clear demonstration of Mariah’s outstanding overall sporting skills when she was awarded Western Sporting Blues for hockey and touch football and was the recipient of the Stephen, Gary and Michael Smith Trophy for sporting achievement during her years at Middleton Public School.
Not only did Mariah have a tremendously successful year in school sport but also in the Middleton Public School hockey team, Parkes Junior Hockey Association competition and Parkes ‘B’ Grade Women’s Hockey Association competition.
Once again the Middleton Public School’s hockey team, under the guidance of Mrs Robin Dean, showed off just how much skill they have by winning the Western Final and making it through to the State Quarter Final of the NSWPSSA Knockout Competition. Middleton has been in the Western Final for the past seven years and Mariah has been a key member for the past four years. Not only did she play a crucial role as centre-half in this team scoring numerous goals, but she also played an important role helping the team to achieve its 10th successive victory in the Parkes Interschool Lois Jones Cup Competition.
Throughout the year Mariah played a key role in her junior competition team scoring many goals, including one impressive game where she scored 7 goals for her team. Once again this grand final was an indication of Mariah’s outstanding skills and sportsmanship, being awarded Player of the Grand Final. She not only impressed with her skills, but how she shared the ball with less experienced players and made sure she was part of a team effort.
The Women’s ‘B’ Grade competition was at first a challenge for Mariah as she was only in Year 6, however, she quickly strengthened, matured and improved her skills as the year passed by. Not only did Mariah score a number of goals but learnt to hold her position and on occasions outplay more experienced players. Once again the outstanding skills of this young athlete could be seen through her being a member of the Rovers team, the 2007 ‘B’ Grade Women’s Champions.
Mariah, who has played a crucial role in many local and state teams, is often described as the ‘backbone of her team’ because of her outstanding level of skill, sportsmanship and determination to succeed. This statement was clearly justified when Alex Cooke, the Coach of the NSWPSSA Hockey Team made special mention and praised Mariah’s efforts throughout the Australian Carnival, naming her as a key player for the team. Mariah is a unique hockey player, who not only has the skills to make her a crucial team member but also compassion, sportsmanship and dignity, all of which, making her a supportive and caring leader for any team in which she plays.
As Mariah progresses with her hockey career, all of the School Sport and Hockey Community wishes her the very best of luck and looks forward to hearing about her many future successes and endeavours, of which there will no doubt be many.