Liberato Cacace (St Pat’s Town) and Melie Kerr (Tawa College) named Sportspersons of the Year

Liberato Cacace (St Pat’s Town) – 2018 Sportspersons of the Year

The first All White born this Millennium was named College Sport Wellington sportsman of the year at the annual awards at Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua last night.

The St Patrick’s College Wellington student was a first time winner of the supreme accolade with White Ferns cricketer Amelia Kerr (Tawa College) accepting the female prize for the third consecutive year.

“My attendance hasn’t been very good, but I’m lucky to be fulfilling my dream as a professional footballer,” Cacace joked in front of a packed and adoring crowd.

On 2 February 2018, Cacace became the youngest player to ever appear for the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League when he made his senior debut, coming on as a substitute in a 4–0 defeat against Sydney FC.

Cacace quickly established himself as a regular, appearing in seven games in the 2017-18 season and beginning the 2018-19 season in the starting line-up.

In June, Cacace enhanced his credentials further when he was selected in the All Whites squad for the Intercontinental Cup in Mumbai, starting in wins against Chinese Taipei (1-0) and India (2-1) – the later nation ranked 23 places above New Zealand in the FIFA world rankings.

Liberato Cacace with his family and Neil Swindells

Cacace’s parents own the La Bella Italia restaurant in Petone where veteran Phoenix players Andrew Durante and Glen Moss are frequent dinners.  Cacace would often wash their dishes in the kitchen while dreaming of playing alongside the two All Whites.

Cacace is the fourth footballer to win the supreme award joining Scott Basalaj (2012), Renee Leota (2007) and Daniel Keat (2005).

Keat was later capped seven times by the All Whites and enjoyed his most notable professional success in the US and Sweden.

Basalaj had brief spells at Partick Thistle (Scotland) and with the Wellington Phoenix.  The goalkeeper presently plays for Team Wellington while working as an apprentice builder.

Leota appeared 15 times for New Zealand and scored four goals.

On June 13, Amelia Kerr made Ireland turn ghost-white when she made the highest individual score in a Women’s ODI match, and became the youngest cricketer, male or female, to score a double century in One Day International cricket, when she bludgeoned 232 not out against Ireland.  The double century was also the third-highest individual score, male or female, in an ODI.  Later in the same match, she also took 5 wickets for 17 runs, her first five-wicket haul in Women’s ODIs.

Kerr’s performance wasn’t a one-off.  In 2018 she averaged 93 in seven innings for New Zealand, while reducing her bowling average to under 25.

Kerr was unable to accept her award in person.  Instead Amelia’s grandfather Bruce Murray (himself a former New Zealand cricket representative) accepted the award on Amelia’s behalf.

Kerr is the only female cricketer to win the supreme award. James Franklin (1998) and Harry Boam (2008) were males to have earned the gong.

Click here for the full list of 2018 College Sport Wellington – Sportsperson of the Year award winners.

– Article courtesy of College Sport Media.