BEST OF THE BEST: (Clockwise from top left) Lars Kristensen, Jordan Gusman, Damian Phillips, Kerry Westwood, Jessica Johnston and Greg Sutherland have all made our athletes of the year.
BEST OF THE BEST: (Clockwise from top left) Lars Kristensen, Jordan Gusman, Damian Phillips, Kerry Westwood, Jessica Johnston and Greg Sutherland have all made our athletes of the year.

REVEALED: The Coffs Coast's best 19 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. 

2019 was one for the ages for sport in the region so we thought we'd take a look back at the athletic stars who stole the headlines and our hearts throughout 2019.

It wasn't an easy job, with some talented sports stars unfortunately missing the cut. 

But here's the Coffs Coast Advocate's 19 best athletes of 2019: 

19. Kerry Westwood - Cycling 

Coffs Harbour Cycle Club member Kerry Westwood was a class above on two-wheels over the last 12 months. Some highlights include winning a silver at the NSW Masters Track Championships and second in the National Masters.

Kerry Westwood started 2019 with a bang.
Kerry Westwood started 2019 with a bang. Sam Flanagan

18. Shaydan Close - Aussie rules

Having spent time in the Sydney Swans system throughout the season, Close ended his 2019 by playing a lead role in the Coffs Harbour Breakers claiming the AFL North Coast Premiership

17. Alec Baldwin - Cricket

One of the shining lights for a Star Hotel side which struggled in the North Coast Cricket Council Premier League, Baldwin went great guns on the representative stage. He blasted NSW to a Country Championships title as well as helped the Coffs Coast Chargers make the finals of the Plan B Regional Bash.   

16. Chris Corbett - Motorsport

Began the year by pinching the Western Australian V8 Dirt Modified Title, things only went up from there for Corbett as he also raced in the U.S. and claimed the coveted 5 Star Dirt Series Award at the Australian Speedway Awards. 

15. Luke France - Football 

The dominant force upfront for the near unstoppable Boambee Bombers, France scored for fun in 2019 and was rewarded with captaining his side to the C.ex Group Men's Premier League Title.

Luke France spearheaded the Boambee Bombers to another title.
Luke France spearheaded the Boambee Bombers to another title. FILE

14. Angela Keighran - Rugby league and surfing

Shining in two sports throughout 2019, Keighran was the driving force behind the Coffs Harbour Comets' ladies league tag premiership and also had great success on the water with the Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club.

13. Richie Gallichan - Cricket

Sawtell Cricket Club's commander-in-chief has been at the forefront of all the good news stories from the sport throughout 2019. He not only led Sawtell to the inaugural North Coast Cricket Council Premier League Grand Final, he also steered the Coffs Coast Chargers to the SCG for the finals of the Plan B Regional Bash.

12. Steve Spencer - Rugby league

Not only did Spencer co-coach the Coffs Harbour Comets to a runaway minor premiership and a home grand final, it was also a big year for personal accolades. He was awarded the Group 2 Best and Fairest player as well as being named in The Coffs Coast Advocate Team of the Year and Team of the Decade.  

11. Ben McDonald - BMX

A veteran of the sport and a leading figure at the Coffs Coast BMX Club, McDonald made the national final in his division this year as well as picking up three championships at the South Australian BMX Titles.

Ben McDonald had a great year on the BMX scene.
Ben McDonald had a great year on the BMX scene. FILE

10. Sharon McGrady - Rugby league

The former Coffs Harbour Comet and Group 2 representative star played the biggest game of her life in Melbourne for the Indigenous All Stars. McGrady was selected in the side because of her adaptability and versatility. 

9. Lachlan Miller - Rugby union

The former Sawtell Panther continued his development in the Australian Rugby Sevens team, including scoring a try at the prestigious Hong Kong tournament. Miller was also named in The Coffs Coast Advocate's Group 2 Team of the Decade.

8. Jessica Johnston - Skydiving

Competing at the Speed Skydiving World Cup in England, Johnston took home a bronze medal against the fastest female skydivers in the world. The Coffs City Skydivers gun also set a new Australian and Oceania record when she clocked a speed of over 400km/h.

Jessica Johnston competed in a major international competition.
Jessica Johnston competed in a major international competition. Sam Flanagan

7. Damian Phillips - Tennis

The 29-year-old began the year rubbing shoulders with the best players in the world at Melbourne Park and finished it by winning a medal for Australia at the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability Global Games. 

6. Luis Regis - Muay Thai

This softly-spoken Brazilian-born family man may seem innocent at first glance, but could school anyone inside a ring or cage. In the last 12 months Regis headlined a card for one of the biggest promotions on the planet as well as opening up his own Mauy Thai retreat in the hills behind Bellingen.   

5. Greg Sutherland - Shooting 

After retiring from his position as a maintenance officer at the SSAA range, Sutherland was finally able to spend more time with a rifle in hand. Outstanding results soon followed, with Sutherland winning the NSW IRB rimfire target shooting title in Newcastle as well as coming fifth in the Australian Championship.

Greg Sutherland put his name up in lights this year.
Greg Sutherland put his name up in lights this year. Sam Flanagan

4. Lars Kristensen - CrossFit

Not everyone can say they're the best in the world at something, but Danish born CrossFit master Lars Kristensen can. The 33-year-old finished first in his age group at the International Functional Fitness Federation Masters competition in Brisbane.

Lars Kristensen became a world champion in 2019.
Lars Kristensen became a world champion in 2019. Sam Flanagan

3. Clare Palmer - Athletics

The super mum of six not only starred at the Coffs Harbour Running Festival, but also ran incredibly well at the IAU 50km Road Running World Championships in Romania

2. Zac Purton - Jockey

He might be out of sight and so for many of us out of mind, but those in the local racing community know how brilliant Purton has been throughout this year. He ran away with the 2018/19 Hong Kong jockeys premiership and won multiple Group 1 races aboard his 'once in a lifetime' horse Beauty Generation

1. Jordan Gusman - Athletics

It's hard to go past this man as not being the Coffs Coast'a best athlete in 2019. Gusman unsurprisingly began the year by winning the Sawtell Fun Run for the eighth consecutive time, earned redemption at the National Titles by winning gold in the 5000m and won multiple titles at an international meet for Malta, the country of his heritage. 

Jordan Gusman was on another level in 2019.
Jordan Gusman was on another level in 2019. Sam Flanaga


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