Monique Conti is always in the thick of the action. With a basketball in hand, she can control a game with sublime passing and spot-on shooting.
When she isn’t playing basketball, Conti is bursting through an Australia rules football midfield, in hot pursuit, burning a defender with her incredible pace before finding a teammate for a lace-out pass.
What makes Conti’s performances even more impressive is that, at just 15 years of age, she’s notching up credits on the big stage.
The Keilor resident is a constant figure in the state basketball and women’s football sides.
“Basketball came first,” Conti says. “I started playing when I was about five because I just wanted to copy my brother all the time.
“I begged my parents to let me play football. At first mum didn’t want me to play, but then she said I could if I ran really fast so that’s what I did.”
Conti’s achievements are already ultra- impressive.
In basketball, she has represented Victoria at the East Coast Challenge and at the national championships, and she won a School Sport Victoria Sporting Blue award as the best athlete in the state for that particular sport.
In Australian rules, she has been a member of School Sport Victoria and School Sport Australia representative sides, and was named in the All-Australian team at the end of this year’s national championships.
“I was very surprised to be named in that team because it was an older age group I was playing in,” Conti said.
“It was for the under-18s. There were a lot of good players there, and good athletes as well. I just played my own game and got a good result, and I was really happy.”
While many athletes in her position would be dreading having to pick just one sport to focus on, Conti already has her long-term plans mapped out.
The Maribyrnong College year 10 student wants to play division 1 college basketball in America and, hopefully, push on to the WNBA.
After conquering the basketball world, she wants to return home and compete in the planned Australian Women’s Football League.
For her outstanding sporting achievements, Conti is this month’s nominee for the Don Deeble Rising Star award, which is run by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club in conjunction with Star Weekly.
Conti will receive $1000, donated by Yarraville Club Cricket Club, and other prizes to assist in her future sporting goals.
The Don Deeble Rising Star award recognises young western suburbs’ athletes who have achieved outstanding results at a state and national level. To nominate your Don Deeble star, email firstname.lastname@example.org.