The crop of local sporting talent in Benalla is undeniable.
From AFL stars to motocross champions, Benalla’s sportspeople have been showcasing their skills locally, nationally and internationally for years.
And 2018 has been no different.
Looking back on the year that was, there are a number of local sporting products who have shone in their chosen fields, making the town proud to raise our hands and claim them as our own.
One sportsman who slots into this category is home-grown motocross star Rob Adelberg.
It has been a hugely successful year for the adrenalin junkie who started the lap of the sun with a gold medal at the Winter X-Games in Aspen, Colorado.
But it was not all we would see from Adelberg, who also wowed crowds at the Summer X Games in Minneapolis and forward flipped his way to gold at the first Sydney X-Games- providing him with an impressive medal tally.
2018 was also a life-changing year for young rising footballer Becky Webster.
The new year will mark a new era for the number seven AFLW draft pick, who will embark on a new journey as a professional women’s footballer for the Geelong Football Club.
And she was not the only local football talent who shined.
Sam Martyn was credited for his exceptional season for the Saints with the league’s highest honour — sharing the Morrison Medal with Shepparton’s Nik Rokahr.
Young guns Patrick Warner and Mark Marriott took their place in the 2018 Murray Bushrangers TAC Cup squad, while the Saints’ Women’s football team made their second consecutive grand final appearance.
Success was also found on the netball court, and no-one experienced it more so than Kellie Keen.
Keen claimed her 10th netball premiership and first as an A-grade coach.
And then there was all the players who reached club milestone games for the Saints, Panthers and Bats football and netball teams.
Bowls also produced its fair share of highlights, with young bowls prodigy Tyson Cromie proving age is just a number.
He won the pairs event at the Australian Under-18 Championships in Brisbane just months before Benalla Bowls Club coach Matt Robertson took out the Men’s Triples event at the Steller Victorian Open — played right here in the Goulburn Valley.
Racing was also highlighted with Winton hosting the annual V8 Supercars series and Historic Winton, while young racing siblings Zak and Ellexandra Best accelerated around Mount Panorama.
The Benalla Gold Cup was run and won with super trainer Darren Weir cleaning up the prize pool, while retired Geelong footballer Tom Lonergan visited town.
It was also a year of firsts, with Benalla securing their first men’s basketball team in the Country Basketball League’s North East competition.
Regular humble achievers also appeared in The Ensign for table tennis, squash, gymnastics, auskick, badminton, racquetball, golf, bowls, tennis, racing, horse events, cricket, basketball, swimming, athletics, soccer, hockey, boxing, motorsport, croquet, darts, football and netball.
These are just a few of the outstanding sports achievements to come out of Benalla in 2018.
There were smiles and no doubt some tears.
There was celebrations and commiserations, but one thing remains the same.
If current form is anything to go by, 2019 is shaping up well for sport across Benalla.