Sport

December 2016 Sportstar nominees

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January 19, 2017

Tennis player Isabella Crossman and footballer Tom Sheldon are December 2016's Sportstar nominees.

At 10-years-old Isabella Crossman has emerged as one of the best tennis players in the state for her age group.

The Rich River pocket-rocket was named in the Victorian team for the super 10s national finals to be played at Melbourne Park during the 2017 Australian Open.

She went through the super 10s season having only dropped one match out of a total 14 and was never in doubt she’d be chosen in the eight-person squad.

Throughout December Crossman competed in a number of tournaments throughout the state, often seeded number one in the under 10s singles and doubles.

Her achievements during the month included playing in the under 12s Alicia Molik Cup, winning the under 10s singles and doubles at the Goulburn Valley JT and AMT Championships and being a member of the Loddon Campaspe inter-regional team which came runner-up in the championships.

The super 10s national finals will include four days of round-robin match play and off-court activities.

Crossman was most looking forward to seeing how other kids from around Australia played and matching her skills with the best of them.

She was also invited to take part in the Victorian junior development team in 2017 based on her performance during the season.

Our Australian footballer became an All-American footballer this month when Tom Sheldon was named in the 2016 USA Today Sports’ freshman All-American team.

Sheldon, 27, recently finished his first National Collegiate Football league season with the North Carolina Tar Heels after making his way to the US midway through 2016.

He played his first game in September in front of a crowd of 75,000 at the Tar Heels home stadium as punter.

Sheldon had lived in Echuca and last played for Kyabram Football Club in the Goulburn Valley Football League before leaving to try his hand at American football.

He was a key defender for the Kyabram Bombers and renowned in the league for his ability to produce a left footed, long-bomb from down the field.

His skills in country AFL transferred onto the college stadium, taking the field 12 times, punting 46 times, with an average of 42.5 yards and longest punt of 63 yards.

Sheldon has shown nerves of steel in his first year at College level and was rewarded for his efforts with his latest acclamation.

US punters need to deliver more than distance, the key is hang time, the length of time they can keep the ball in the air to give their own players the chance to run it down and minimise loss of yardage.

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