DALBY STARS: 16 rising star athletes to watch
1. Jennifer Nothdurft, and 2. Natise Smith:
ANY good coach and athlete knows that simply turning up to training or a game is half the battle.
Learn-to-Swim co-ordinator Kelly Smith said a positive mindset is crucial for an up and coming athlete, and young swimming stars Jennifer Nothdurft, 15, and Natise Smith, 14, are on their way to the top.
"They are two of the most receptive kids I've coached as far as senior kids go," Smith said.
"They would do anything for you if you asked them to … they just faithfully turn up all the time and they're happy to be here."
Smith told the Herald Natise is exceptional at back stroke, while Jennifer has an affinity for butterfly.
But aside from watching them achieve their personal goals in the pool, Smith said the most rewarding part was witnessing their positivity in and out of the pool.
"They have zero ego, zero," she said.
"They don't see their own potential. You have to remind them to have faith in themselves so that's pretty cool."
They're no strangers to a good challenge, and take everything in their stride.
Smith described them as the "ideal" swimmers to coach.
"The fact that they turn up at six o'clock in the morning every day without complaint. They turn up and they do exactly what you ask every time," she said.
"I would love to see all their hard work give them a little more faith in their ability, and a little more confidence for sure.
"Whatever end goal that they wish to achieve, I think they'll get there. They will get there."
3. Keanu Wright-Dunrobin
ANYONE who has watched Keanu Wright-Dunrobin on the field knows he's a force to be reckoned with, and his credentials speak for themselves.
Aside from his duties as club captain of the Dalby Devils, Keanu has made his mark as a part of the under-16 Emerging QAS Squad, the under-16 Murri Side, where he was named man of the match, the southwest Mustangs, Central Crows and played an instrumental role in the Cities vs. Country competition.
Devils president Tim Hart said he had the pleasure of watching Keanu play from when he was a little boy, and said he has come into his own in the last two years.
But his real strength lies in his ability to be a good influence on the younger Devils.
"He was our club captain so with that, he took on a bit more responsibility," Hart said.
E"ven some of the guidance he gave our under-14s team when they were preparing for their grand final, I think they responded really well to what he told them.
"He just brought a little bit of leadership to our club through his actions more than anything else."
4. Ella Wilson
NOT many kids can say they have won four consecutive national titles in any sport, but that's a reality for Ella Wilson, 13, who has won the last four cross country national competitions.
With her dad being former Paralympian Stephen Wilson, Ella had success in her genes from the start, but it was a culmination of a lot of positivity and dedicated training that earned Ella her accolades.
Ella took home the gold medal at the Cross Country National in Wollongong this year, defending a title she has held since she was ten, and competed in the Queensland relay team.
After her big win, Ella told the Herald her passion for running had started simply by running alongside her dad.
"When I started doing really well I just really liked it," she said.
Ella said she hopes to continue running, training, and winning big.
5. Mitch Hemmings
MITCHELL Hemmings has been making a name for himself in the world of swimming for years, but this year has been an outstanding one for the up-and-comer.
Mitch made waves as the first swimmer in Dalby to compete in open water nationals in January this year, heading to Adelaide to take on some of the best distance swimmers in the country.
More recently, Mitch took home Dalby State High's Sportsperson of the Year for the second year in a row for his efforts competing in swimming, water polo, triathlon, open water swimming, cross country and athletics.
Mitch is now dipping his toes in the world of triathlons, and hopes to dominate competitions as he has done with swimming.
6. Josh Chappell
IT'S been a huge year for Josh Chappell, but there's no signs of stopping for the young footy star.
Having just graduated high school, he is preparing to make the move to western Sydney to train with the Parramatta Eels on a development contract - an achievement truly indicative of his skills.
Chappell played a pivotal role in the under-18 Diehards taking out the TRL grand final this year, and also made his A-grade debut.
Tim Hart told the Herald Josh had made great progress in the last few years in his skill and mindset.
"He's matured a bit in the last few years and he's got that dedication behind him," Hart said.
"That's obviously where he wants to be, playing professional football."
Hart said one of Chappell's main assets was his "game management" on the field.
"He's pretty tough in regards to his defence as well … you can see he's got that time and space as opposed to the other players on the field."
7. Steven Franciscus
STEVEN Franciscus is known as one of the most experienced, and respected, members of the Dalby Diehards club, having played rugby league on several different levels over a number of years.
As the Diehards captain, and the Toowoomba Clydesdales captain, Franciscus played an important part in taking the Diehards all the way to the finals in this year's TRL competition.
Diehards president Tom Kelly told the Herald Franciscus had earned the respect of his club members for a number of reasons, including his "natural ability" and professionalism.
"When you need someone to score a try, he's the one that'll do it," Kelly said.
"He always seems to stand up at the right time and when you need someone to stand up he does."
Franciscus has had contracts with the Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders, and also represented Papua New Guinea.
While Franciscus has always been one to watch in a playing capacity, league fans will be excited to watch him as he takes on a new role coaching the A-grade Diehards for the 2020 season alongside Kerry Carmichael.
8. Liliana Walton
BEING a netball umpire, Dalby Netball Association's Erin Pascoe gets to keep a watchful eye on every game, and can easily spot good talent when she see it.
This year, that included Liliana Walton, 11.
Pascoe told the Herald Liliana's strengths lay in her "exceptional skills" and outstanding work ethic.
"She gets along well with everybody, and she's a very positive player," Pascoe said.
"She always tries her best.
"Having a child that's easy to coach as a coach makes a world of difference."
Pascoe told the Herald Liliana was only in her second year playing representative netball for Dalby, but was easily taking on players three, four, and five years older than her.
9. Bryce Krause
12 MONTHS ago, Bryce Krause, 8, was learning to swim.
Now, he's one of the fastest young swimmers in the Darling Downs.
He has broken well over a dozen records this year, some of which were set nearly 20 years ago.
After competing in the Darling Downs Regional Swimming Association short court championships in August, Bryce told the Herald he wasn't ready to slow down with his outstanding achievements just yet.
"I know I'm pretty good and that not many people are going to beat me," he said.
"I'm happy that I've got a lot of medals."
Bryce also dabbles in rugby league, and says he just loves sport across the board.
With the swimming season just kicking off now, Bryce is sure to continue making waves wherever he goes.
10. Beau Fermor
FROM a Dalby Devil to a Newcastle Knight, Beau Fermor, 20, is inches away from making his NRL debut.
He was claimed by the Knights last year, and in between suffering from a devastating knee injury, he has trained as a part of the development squad before making the top 30 this year.
Making the move from country to coast was an adjustment for the Dalby boy, but one that he was happy to make, especially if it meant living his dream playing rugby league for a living.
"It feels like home, the club, they make you feel at home," he said.
"They care about you as a person and that makes you want to go out and represent the club as best you can."
11. Michael Whitby
"ZERO ego" and a "great heart" is what makes Michael Whitby, 12, special according to his coach Kelly Smith and father Rob Whitby.
Now, "Mikey" has taken those attributes to the pool, and
Born profoundly deaf, Michael Whitby wears cochlear implants every day, but hasn't let any of life's challenges stop him from making his mark on the world.
Michael turned heads this year by making the Queensland team for the 2019 School Sport National Swimming Championships in Melbourne.
Competing against the country's best swimmers and travelling interstate for the first time didn't phase Michael, who told the Herald in August the only thing that worried him was the water was a bit cold.
He came fifth in the country in back stroke, with only four hours a week of training behind him and the use of a bluetooth device to help him communicate with his coach.
12. Grace Newton
FEW people could jump as high as their own height, but that's exactly what Grace Newton did this year, and has not stopped making waves in the world of track and field since.
Not only did Grace, 11, jump 143cm in high jump at the Dalby South State School carnival this year, but she also bested a 29-year-old record for high jump at the school.
Grace then went on to compete at the Australian Track and Field Championships where she ended the competition with a podium finish, scoring third place in the country.
Grace told the Herald after competing at the Championships that her worst enemy was herself.
"I try to block out the audience and do what I'm supposed to do to get over the bar … It was kind of nerve wracking but when we got into it, it was fun seeing the other girls from other states jumping," she said.
Coached by Ebonney Kidd, Grace hopes to continue beating records and defying all the odds at future competitions.
13. Mary Golder
MARY Golder is only a teenager, but has been playing golf on a professional level for years now.
Mary, 13, reached scratch score on the Dalby golf course in June, and also took out the Greg Norman Masters on the Gold Coast in December last year.
She first picked up a club when she was two, but said the most rewarding part of being such an outstanding player in the sport was that she could be a role model for young girls.
Golder told the Herald her goals spanned much further than playing in her own backyard at the golf course in Dalby.
"My next goal is probably to be on tour - it's quite hard to go on tour so I probably have to practice a lot harder next year," she said.
14. Lytana King-Togia
LYTANA King-Togia has just graduated from high school, and already is being recognised on an international level for his abilities on the rugby field.
Lytana played an instrumental role as a member of the Australian Barbarians side as they took on Samoa in October for the Pacific Islanders four match tour.
The former Our Lady of the Southern Cross College student and college captain told the Herald playing for Australia was something he had in his plans for the future.
"(Playing for Australia) means everything to me, it's always been a dream I wanted to achieve," he said.
Lytana also made his mark playing for the Dalby Wheatmen this year.
15. Jonty MacDougall
A DEVASTATING knee injury nearly stole Jonty MacDougall's dream of playing AFL on a national level.
But his selection into the Brisbane Lions under-18s squad was a silver lining for the teen, who will be moving to Brisbane to begin training with his dream team.
Coming from a rugby league-oriented family, it took a while for Jonty to adjust to the sport, but since being selected for the Darling Downs Aussie rules team when he was 13, he hasn't looked back.
Looking up to players like Adam Goodes and Patrick Dangerfield, Jonty hopes to travel to Victoria to play for the Geelong Cats one day.
If all else fails, Jonty hopes to study podiatry in Brisbane, but is confident Aussie rules will always be a part of his life.
16. Stacey Darr
STACEY Darr takes the phrase "cool mum" and brings it to a whole other level.
The mum-of-two has trained for just over 12 months, and has already earned her pro card in body building, having made it to the Natural Bodybuilding Australia nationals last month.
Darr placed fourth in her division against some of the country's best, an achievement she never thought she would have.
At the end of the day, however, all Darr wants to do is encourage others to take a leap into the sport.
"I hope it's a little bit of encouragement for other people to get out there and strive towards something they want to do," she said.
"I never would have thought I could do anything like this and have done as well as I've done in my first 12 months."
Training for the next season has already begun, and Darr wants nothing more than to keep rising up.
Do you know any outstanding sportsmen or women in Dalby? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.