SOUTHERN Sports Academy boss Mark Calverley is confident the Wagga's hosting of the Academy Games will only grow in stature after the city hosted it for the first time on the weekend.
Around 1300 athletes and 4000 people in total converged on Wagga for the event, which showcases seven sports with 11 academies from across NSW taking part.
The Wagga-based Southern Sports Academy (SSA) enjoyed its best results in cycling, basketball and netball.
SSA's cyclists claimed honours in the team classification, finishing with five gold medals and a silver in total. The new facility at Pomingalarna was used by competitors, while the under-14 boys and girls claimed the overall victory in basketball.
The under-16 counterparts fell just short of joining them at the top of the podium, with the boys losing the final and the girls going down in overtime by a point.
In netball, the division one side lost just two games and division two went down in three. SSA goal attack Ava Moller was named the carnival's Most Valuable Player, voted on by the academies, while in division two SSA centre Maddie Black claimed the honour.
The event was part of a jam-packed weekend in Wagga, with the NRL clash between Canberra and Melbourne held on Saturday, junior sport beginning in many sports, round one of the Riverina League and the Fusion festival.
Calverley said that created its challenges, but expects the Academy Games to have more clear air next year.
Wagga is due to host the event again for the next two years, during the April school holidays.
"It (many events in town) was a challenge for us. Not so much for the academies themselves because they booked their accommodation so early, but more for families and supporters," he said.
"Because we have the dates locked in for three years, we're looking forward to next year being in some clear air for us. I know the NRL have a number of dates they can pick, but we had our dates locked in and by the time they came back to us with their selected date it was too late to change it."
Calverley said the development of the PCYC facility at Bolton Park will hopefully make logistics easier in year two.
"The first year there's always has its challenges, but overall we're really happy and looking forward to next year when we have basketball all in the one venue at the PCYC," he said.
"It's one of the better years we've had for our basketball program with the under-14 boys and girls crowned champions, and the program has only been back in place for two years
"Our new cycling program took out overall champions. We got to use the new facility on Sunday and the feedback on it from the competitors was they haven't seen a better one, so that was great.
"A big thank you has to go to all the local associations who helped out over the weekend."
Hockey, triathlon, indoor volleyball and golf also featured at the event.
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