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Who will be WA’s next junior sporting star?

Six of WA’s brightest sporting talents have been shortlisted as finalists for the rebel Junior Sports Star.

Previous winners of the award include Neil Brooks, Glen Jakovich, Allana Slater, Samantha Kerr and Minjee Lee.

The winner of the rebel Junior Sports Star will be announced at the SportWest Awards on 24 February at Optus Stadium.

Taylah Cruttenden (Athletics)

Cruttenden is a pocket-rocket of speed.

She has had a dominating junior career and at only 17 years of age, Cruttenden secured her fifth consecutive Junior National 100m title in Sydney and was officially selected on the Australia team for the World Athletics Under 20 Championships in Nairobi.

While Australia ultimately decided not to send a team to the World Athletics Under 20 Championships, Cruttenden’s National Final time would have seen her place 7th in the 100m Final. However, if Cruttenden was able to replicate her personal and season-best, she would have comfortably collected Bronze on her debut.

Teague Wyllie (Cricket)

Wyllie has been dubbed one of the most promising junior cricketers in Western Australia due to his ability to bat for lengthy periods and showing no signs of feeling pressure.

He made a sensational debut for the WA Second XI in October, making 79 in his debut innings and 112 as the mainstay of the WA’s second innings.

Wyllie’s run marking in the 2020-21 Premier Cricket season led to the media describing him as a “run machine” after the opener finished the season with 627 Premier Cricket runs, averaging 44.80.

Ruth Aryang (Netball)

Aryang won the Jill McIntosh Medal for the fairest and best player in the West Australian Netball League in her first year in the competition.

The Souwest Jets defender remarkably received the maximum three votes just twice in the season, polled votes in eight of the 14 rounds.

She was also selected in WA’s 17 and under State Team and the Western Sting Squad and is part of Netball Australia’s 17 and under squad to attend training camps for the 2021-22 season.

Erin Classen (Squash)

Classen is one of the brightest squash prospects WA has seen in more than 30 years since Robyn Lambourne.

In April 2021, she won the Australian Junior Open, the pinnacle event on the Australian Junior Squash Tour, as the fourth seed in five games.

Erin has established herself as Australia’s number one under 19 player and this year she has also become the leading lady in open competition in WA.

Iona Anderson (Swimming)

At just 15, Anderson stunned the swimming community when she simultaneously broke more than 45 WA State Championship records in just one swim, when she clocked in an unbelievable time of 2:07.61 for the girls 15 years 200m Backstroke (Short Course) at the WA State Age Championships.

During this phenomenal performance, Anderson shattered all 200m backstroke records for the 15, 16, 17, 18 and Open Age categories in WA.

She is widely regarded as one of the best young talents emerging through the ranks of Australian swimming and her times at such a young age have many experts predicting multiple Olympic and World Championship teams.

Alex Saffy (Swimming)

Saffy had a monumental year after narrowly missing out on a place in the Tokyo Paralympic Team.

The 16-year-old demonstrated why he is a future superstar, with a dominant display at the WA Short Course State Championships.

He walked away with a 10-gold medal haul that included first place in the able-bodied 200m butterfly, along with an official Australian record in the multi-class S9 category and unofficial world record. Amazingly, he broke the previous world record by over five seconds, despite this meet being his first ever competition listed as a Multi-Class athlete.

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