REVEALED: The Banana Shire’s best athletes
WHETHER it's knocking the stumps over or diving across the line for a try, there are some great athletes and sports people in the Banana Shire.
Below we've compiled a collection and information of the some the region's top athletes and sports people.
You'll see the great success these athletes have enjoyed and maybe learn a thing or two about them that you never knew.
25-YEAR-OLD Michael Cooper just keeps grinding away, swimming lap after lap at the Biloela pool, most times without any training partner or coach.
The difficulty of maintaining an elite performance program hasn't stopped Cooper from competing at the highest level.
He recently returned from the FINA Masters World Swimming Championships in Korea where competing in the 25-29 age bracket, he smashed his personal bests across five events.
Competing against 103 people in his age group, from around the world, he
was 13th in the 50m freestyle, 14th in the 50m butterfly, 18th in the 100m freestyle, 10th in the 100m butterfly and 16th in the 200m freestyle.
Cooper is a PE and Design and Technologies teacher at Biloela State High School as well and he enjoys acting as a role model to his students.
Next up for Cooper is the Pan-Pacific Games on the Gold Coast in November.
"I want to better the times I did at worlds," Cooper said.
"It would be nice to win medals but that's not the focus.
"For me coming from here, I don't get to swim against a lot of people.
"So times, it's the only measurable thing I have."
Not bad for a bloke that only started competing seriously three years ago.
SHE'S a bit of a trailblazer in many respects, Annika Middleton (17), as she helps build the game of women's rugby in our region.
Middleton lines up for the Biloela Rugby Union Club's women's 7s teams on the weekly and has also represented the Central Queensland Bushrangers two years running at the State Championships.
CQ Bushrangers coach Trevor Robertson, who has had a lot of involvement with Annika's rugby development, is impressed with her work ethic so far.
"I think she's been prominent among the girls that have been involved," Robertson said.
"She works very hard.
"She's quite skilful and keen to work hard on parts of her game."
Annika hopes she can make the most of her talent.
"I want to push myself as far my talent goes and experience all of that coming
from a rural town where we don't always get these opportunities," Middleton
Annika's mother Kristy said her daughter was relentless in chasing success.
"She's very driven and passionate," Middleton said.
"She doesn't go in half-hearted with anything, so I'm very proud of her
"She would like to pursue her rugby, which may be through university."
He's a gold medallist, how many people can say that?
Seagrott, 15, is a multi-class swimmer as he has an intellectual disability but you wouldn't even notice that with the way he absorbs information in the gym and the pool.
Seagrott won his gold medal at the Australian School Swimming Championships in Melbourne a couple of months ago on the fourth day of competition when he teamed up to help Tasmania in a six-person relay that included both able body swimmers and multi-class swimmers.
His mother, Kym, said her son doesn't compete for medals, rather to better himself.
"It's not about the medals, it's about PBs," Seagrott
"He's happier with a PB than a medal."
Seagrott also just got back from the Beef City Carnival in Rockhampton where he competed in eight races on Saturday, claiming two first places, four second places and a third-place finish.
The Beef City carnival attracted up-and-coming junior swimmers from throughout Central Queensland, including those from Rockhampton, Gladstone, Yeppoon, Emerald and Emu Park.
The sky is the limit for this brave young man.
36-YEAR-OLD Adam Mollis is here because he was named Central Queensland's best golfer for 2019.
Process that and realise that Mollis has travelled all across Central Queensland on his weekends and consistently been top of the pops in tournaments.
"It was nice to put that as part of my accomplishments," Mollis said.
"Knowing that you're the champion for the year is always a good feeling.
"Every club has their open where they can attract the best golfers and I try to attend as many as I can to support them."
Mollis said that he missed out on the pro circuit as a young man but he's keen to keep playing and hopefully make the senior pro tour.
Mollis is also representing the Central Queensland team at the State Championships in Brisbane this month, where he'll battle the best players in the state.
Coming out on top at this event may prompt the nickname 'Tiger' around Biloela.
EASY going and with a new lease on life, 42-year-old Scott McIntyre is making waves in the functional fitness world.
McIntyre climbed all the way up from the Masters League Open to the Masters League Games in Melbourne in September where he placed in the top two nationally for his age group (40-44) and division (Soldier).
From sweating it out at Sin-Ergy Strength Biloela, McIntyre completed four different timed workouts over a month with the top five scores from each age group or division going on to stage two, the Masters League Invitational.
McIntyre travelled to Ipswich for the Masters League Invitational in June where he placed in the top two for his age group and division and qualified for the Masters League Games, the premier and final stage of Masters League competition.
McIntyre began his fitness journey around two years ago when he said it was time for a change when he weighed around 120kg.
"It was something I always intended to do but it was getting to a point where I had to do something about it," McIntyre said.
"I was approaching 40, an age where the body starts breaking down.
"It was time to eat properly, exercise right and I tried a few things and found I enjoyed the functional fitness side of things."
McIntyre plans to continue participating in the Masters Games and step up to the Warrior division, showing it's never too late to turn your life around.
NO EXCUSES, plain and simple, for 35-year-old single mum of three Leah Mulholland.
Ms Mulholland returned to Biloela in September after placing highly in the figure categories at the 2019 iCompete Natural (ICN) Tropix events in Townsville and the state event in Brisbane.
Her latest fitness triumph in Brisbane included high placings in four categories: 4th in Ms Classic Figure Open Class 1, 3rd in Ms Figure U/52kg, 4th in Ms Figure Novice and 5th in Ms Figure Open Class 1.
The ICN is the epitome of natural body building and requires the most meticulous diets and strictest workout regimes to even get up on stage at competitions, let alone win them.
Ms Mulholland puts in the commitment to inspire her little fans.
"The reward is my kids seeing I can achieve something and that anything is possible," Mulholland said.
"I have three kids, I'm a single mum and you can throw all the excuses in the world but I choose to prove I can do this."
Mulholland's efforts go to show that everyone can get off their backside and workout.
Inspiration to the community.
MY, OH my, this young lad has already been crowned a BMX World Champion and he's only 11.
Tama Onekawa is a World Champion, National Champion and State Champion is his own right, thanks to his work ethic and maybe the fact his sister rides as well for that extra competitive edge.
In 2018 Onekawa claimed the State Championships in September and in June he won the World Championships held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
His father Clint said Tama, who has been competing since he was three-years-old, loved competition racing and loved to win.
"He trains super hard and leading into a big event he'll train every week morning before school," Clint said.
"He'll do his bike work three or four times a week after school.
"He can train at the track or we've got a track here at home as well."
Funnily enough it was luck that brought Tama into the sport, thanks to a chance encounter between Clint Onekawa and the Callide BMX Club when Tama was three.
Servicing the track with his bobcat, Callide BMX Club members asked if Tama and his sister could ride a bike and the rest is history.
2019 hasn't been the best year on the track for Onekawa but there are plans in motion for the Onekawa's to compete at the US Grand Nationals in November.
Alarna Pallot and Karla Lovell
WHILE these two aren't directly competing for the most part, Alarna Pallot of Alarna's Dance Academy and Karla Lovell of Karla's Dance Collective are responsible for the high degree of dance talent in the region.
Lovell and Pallot run the two dancing schools in Biloela and they've crafted talented eisteddfod performers anywhere from toddlers through to 17-year-olds.
You only have to look to the recent string of success by some of our little performers like the five and under group from Karla's Dance Collective of Isabella Kelly, Thea Dawson, McKenna Brosnan, Amelia Engel and Zoe Britton.
These little tappers have achieved some impressive results in recent times, including first place in the Biloela Dance Eisteddfod's Tiny Tots category and second place in Gladstone Eisteddfod's under 8 category.
And from Alarna's stock, 12-year-old Laney Siegmeir performed with illustrious dance production, RB Corp Instruction's show Beehive, at the QUT Theatre in September.
There seems to be an eisteddfod popping up every week in Central Queensland and our town's troupes are leading from the front thanks to the efforts of our tireless coaches.
BILOELA netball coach Shari Hancock and the two Zalis, Zali Eckel (16) and Zali Middleton (15), are the three ladies who made the region proud recently by taking part in the U16 State Titles at the Queensland State Netball Centre in Brisbane in October.
The selection of Hancock as the coach of the Capricorn Claws made it her first appearance directing the most talented players in Central Queensland.
Hancock has been involved with Biloela Netball since 2002 and is the current club president.
"The two Zalis played very well for the weekend," Hancock said.
"It was a great opportunity for me to receive feedback and Netball Queensland staff to develop my coaching ability
"Moving forward it gives the two Zalis a look at the standard they are up against and the quality of player and athlete needed to get into the state and national squad.
Hancock said the selection and performance at the State Titles from Zali Eckel and Zali Middleton was crucial to the development of netball in Biloela and the wider region.
Furthermore, it demonstrates that our little pocket of grass in the Banana Shire continues to produce quality athletes who can take it to the big stage.
Well done girls.