GRIFFITH’s new Sportsperson of the Year, Sean Pianca, is clearly not about to rest on his laurels.
The rising archery star was handed the city’s highest sporting honour on Saturday – then at 3am the next morning, he hit the road with his father Mark to compete at the two-day Australia Day tournament in Canberra.
In his first ever competition at cadet level, Pianca once again blew away all expectations with a terrific score of 1378, capping off a weekend the 15-year-old will never forget.
“He was just beside himself, getting the overall award. It meant the world to him,” mum Cathy said.
“Before he left in the morning he kept telling me to keep looking after his trophy.
“He was certainly very surprised to win it but he’s worked very hard. He puts a lot of hours in and his coaches have brought him a long way.
“And today – he hasn’t done a cadet round before so this was just to see how he’d go. To post that score so early is a fantastic result.”
Long road trips these days are the norm for Pianca, who has travelled far and wide to get to where he is in archery.
The youngster has only been involved with the sport for four years but was the star of the Australian side in last year’s Trans-Tasman Youth Archery Challenge in New Zealand.
Pianca gained the highest two-day score from any person on either team, shattering national records.
He has also already qualified for the World Youth Archery Championships in China in October this year.
“There were some strong performances across the city this year but Sean’s performance is a standout and he is a worthy winner,” Griffith City Sports Council president Lou Testoni said.
Pianca also took home the Junior Sportsperson of the Year award, while shooter Bart Brighenti was named Senior Sportsperson of the Year.
Brighenti showed why he is considered one of the best country’s best marksman by winning the National 5-Stand Championship at the Dave Wallace Range last year.
He was never seriously challenged for the title and nailed 136 from 150 targets to take the crown.
The Team of the Year was the Wade High Year 9/10 girls’ touch football team, which became the second-best team in all of the schools in NSW by winning its way to the state final last year.
Seven of the players in the Wade High team earned a call-up to the Riverina under 15s squad, while one was honoured with state selection.
A true icon of football in Griffith, Eugenio La Riva, was named Clubperson of the Year.
La Riva is one of the round ball game’s most loyal servants and has spent more than 40 years refereeing matches in the city.
A former president and life member of the Yoogali Soccer Club, La Riva was last year recognised by Football NSW for his contribution to the sport at the governing body’s annual state awards ceremony in Sydney.
“Eugenio was very overwhelmed and it actually shocked him when his name was read out,” Testoni said.
“The people up for the award were all deserving of recognition but he was very taken by it.
“To see how much it means to someone is phenomenal - it means we’re doing the right thing with this award.
“You’ve got to say thank you to these people because you can’t replace them. They only come along once in a while.”
- Overall sportsperson of the year – Sean Pianca (archery)
- Senior sportsperson of the year – Bart Brighenti (shooting)
- Junior sportsperson of the year – Sean Pianca (archery)
- Sports team of the year – Wade High Year 9/10 girls’ touch football team
- Clubperson of the year – Eugenio La Riva (Yoogali SC, refereeing)