Securing the top title at the Waipa Networks Sports Awards has capped off a mercurial year for Cambridge cyclist Sam Gaze.
The 21 year old was named Sportsman of the Year at the awards event held at the Te Awamutu Event Centre on Monday, organised by Sport Waikato.
Gaze has had a difficult year, mixed with some wins and losses, with the latter related to bouts of migraine headaches.
But he remained philosophical when he spoke about his progress earlier this year.
"Really it hasn't been a bad year because if you win it is good for the CV but when you lose, it is great for the head for learning.
"It has been one of those seasons for me for sure, but I don't regret it because out of this I will better myself," he said.
At the weekend, Gaze, the two-time World Under-23 Mountainbike Champion won the elite men's race in the Criterium National Championships in Auckland.
It is his final year in under 23 age group and he will step up to elite racing alongside his New Zealand team mate Anton Cooper.
"I am looking forward to next year already and putting on my big boys' shoes and getting out there."
St Peter's Cambridge student Ellesse Andrews won the Junior Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Ellesse recently returned from Junior World Champs in Italy where she won gold in the individual pursuit.
She also broke the world record by a staggering four seconds.
Ellesse is involved in the Sport NZ/High Performance Sport NZ programme - Pathway to Podium and was a humble athlete who had an outstanding work ethic on and off the track. -stuff.co.nz