History Parkes

stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past

Mariah Williams – Middleton maestro inspired by “Maradona”

Profile picture of Mariah Williams, member of Hockeyroos team for 2016 Olympic Games. Source: Hockey Australia website

Profile picture of Mariah Williams, member of Hockeyroos team for 2016 Olympic Games. Source: Hockey Australia website

With the commencement of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Parkes Library history blog will focus on Olympians from the Parkes Shire. Each post will provide a snapshot of the sportsmen and sportswomen who have worn the green and gold and called the Parkes Shire home at some point of their lives. The 2016 Rio Olympic Games saw two former Parkes Shire residents making their Olympic debut. This post focuses on the Hockeyroo Mariah Williams. There are a number of firsts for Mariah Williams. She is the first female from the Parkes Shire to represent Australia in a team sport at the Olympic Games. Williams is also the first Indigenous person from the Parkes Shire to go to an Olympic Games.

A young Mariah Williams, photographed in New South Wales uniform and in the running for 2008 Parkes Sportsperson of the Year along with fellow Olympian Peter McMahon. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday 24 November, 2008 page 16

A young Mariah Williams, photographed in New South Wales uniform and in the running for 2008 Parkes Sportsperson of the Year along with fellow Olympian Peter McMahon. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday 24 November, 2008 page 16

Mariah was born in Parkes on 31st May, 1995. Her rise to selection in the Hockeyroos team for Rio Olympics has been an inspirational one. Like many Olympians, Mariah excelled in a number of sports. She was handed a hockey stick at age four. Growing up in Parkes she was fortunate to have former triple Olympian Stephen Davies (aka the Maradona of hockey) visit her school, Middleton Public School, to pass on the Olympic vision. However Mariah was born without a ligament in the back of the knee. At the tender age of 21, she has already had four operations – including one earlier this year! There were injury concerns which meant she might possibly miss making the Olympic team. Fortunately Mariah recovered to be able to play in the International Champions Trophy in Great Britain in June 2016. Williams has determination and drive in abundance and despite being out of the game she loves for over a year and a half, has dedicated herself to rehabilitation and improving her fitness. This involved lots of swimming, boxing, bike riding and upper-body work. Mariah’s physical injuries were not the only obstacle to her reaching her hockey goals. At age 13, Mariah left Parkes and moved to Newcastle to be in a more competitive and focused environment. She attended Hunter Sports High School. Mariah plays for the Souths club in the Newcastle Premier League.

Talented in a number of sports, Mariah here with the Parkes Pumas Under 14 Girls touch team that attended the Junior State Cup in Wollongong. Mariah was one of two Parkes girls to make the Hornets representative squad after a successful tournament. Photograph: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday 4 March, 2009 page 23

Talented in a number of sports, Mariah here with the Parkes Pumas Under 14 Girls touch team that attended the Junior State Cup in Wollongong. Mariah was one of two Parkes girls to make the Hornets representative squad after a successful tournament. Photograph: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday 4 March, 2009 page 23

Parkes is known for its strong hockey coaching ethos, and this is certainly evident in Mariah’s experience:

Once again the Middleton Public School’s hockey team, under the guidance of Mrs Robin Dean, showed off just how much skill they have by winning the Western Final and making it through to the State Quarter Final of the NSWPSSA Knockout Competition.  Middleton has been in the Western Final for the past seven years and Mariah has been a key member for the past four years.  Not only did she play a crucial role as centre-half in this team scoring numerous goals, but she also played an important role helping the team to achieve its 10th successive victory in the Parkes Interschool Lois Jones Cup Competition. Source: Dean, A. (2008, February 5). DET NSW School Sports Unit. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.sports.det.nsw.edu.au/latest_news/year_2008/008.htm

Mariah in 2007, one of the hockey superstars that has attended Middleton Public School over the years. Source: DET NSW School Sports Unit website

Mariah in 2007, one of the hockey superstars that has attended Middleton Public School over the years. Source: DET NSW School Sports Unit website

The same year Mariah travelled to Adelaide, part of the NSW PSSA Hockey team that finished 2nd at the Australian School Sports Carnival. Mariah was an integral part of the team, recognised for her technique, teamwork and sportsmanship. Further success followed when at the 2007 Middleton Public School Awards night she was named 2007 Western Area PSSA Junior Sportsperson of the Year. Andrew Dean explains just how momentous this accolade was for Mariah to receive it:

The significance of this award can not only be seen through Mariah being the first female recipient of this award in Parkes, but also through this award being presented to only one student in Western Area from Year 3 to Year 9. Source: Dean, A. (2008, February 5). DET NSW School Sports Unit. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.sports.det.nsw.edu.au/latest_news/year_2008/008.htm

A Grade winners in 2008, the Parkes Rovers. Mariah was then heading to Adelaide to participate in the Australian under 13s Girls Hockey Carnival. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday September 26, 2008 page 26

A Grade winners in 2008, the Parkes Rovers. Mariah was heading to Adelaide to participate in the Australian under 13s Girls Hockey Carnival. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday September 26, 2008 page 26

While 2008 saw Mariah going to Parkes High School, she was offered a spot in Hunter Sports High School’s Talented Sport Program. While leaving home was difficult, it allowed Mariah to fully concentrate on hockey and she made the Hunter Sports High School TSP Hall of Fame in 2012 (Australian U17 Womens Hockey team) and 2013 (Australian Open Womens Hockey team) Source: “Hunter Sports High School | Hall of Fame.” Hall of Fame. Talented Sport Program, n.d. Retrieved 15 July 2016, from http://www.hunterspt-h.schools.nsw.edu.au/talented-sports-program/hall-of-fame

In 2012 Mariah returned to Parkes and played for Parkes United, scoring two goals. Source: Parkes Champion Post 19 June 2012

In 2012 Mariah returned to Parkes and played for Parkes United, scoring two goals. Source: Parkes Champion Post 19 June 2012

Mariah’s time at Hunter Sports High School was an exciting one, with selection in the Under 17 Womens Hockey team in 2012 and then selection to the senior side (aka the Hockeyroos) in 2013 Source: Leeson, Josh. “Delight for Mariah after Hockeyroos Call-up.” Newcastle Herald. N.p., 17 Apr. 2013. Web. Retrieved 15 Aug. 2016 from http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1440213/delight-for-mariah-after-hockeyroos-call-up/

Mariah in illustrious company. Mariah's photograph sits neatly alongside her alumni from Newcastle's Hunter Sports High School including Greg Inglis, Sione Mata’utia (rugby league) and Nigel Boogaard (football) Source: Hunter Sports High School Talented Sports Program Sponsorship Opportunities 2016-17

Mariah in illustrious company. Mariah’s photograph sits neatly alongside her alumni from Newcastle’s Hunter Sports High School including Greg Inglis, Sione Mata’utia (rugby league) and Nigel Boogaard (football) Source: Hunter Sports High School Talented Sports Program Sponsorship Opportunities 2016-17

In 2013, Mariah also won the 2013 Deadly Awards Most Promising New Talent in Sport Source: “Mariah’s Big Move – Deadly Vibe.” Deadly Vibe. N.p., 07 Nov. 2013. Web. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from http://www.deadlyvibe.com.au/2013/11/mariahs-big-move/

The dedication of Mariah's fans. Four Parkes locals headed to New Zealand to watch Mariah participate in the International Festival of Hockey, which the Hockeyroos won. Also pictured is triple Olympian Stephen Davies who was the Assistant Coach. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday May 6, 2015 page 20

The dedication of Mariah’s fans. Four Parkes locals headed to New Zealand to watch Mariah participate in the International Festival of Hockey, which the Hockeyroos won. Also pictured is triple Olympian Stephen Davies who was the Assistant Coach. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday May 6, 2015 page 20

In 2016 Mariah was named the Parkes Sportsperson of the Year for 2015 Source: http://www.parkeschampionpost.com.au/story/3687605/mariah-named-best-in-2015/ It was hoped that this award, announced Australia Day 2016, would not have a jinxing effect on Mariah’s Olympic aspirations. While many in both Parkes and Newcastle were optimistic for Mariah’s chances of making the squad, it was not a fait accompli. The first obstacle was another injury for Mariah to overcome. Displaying maturity beyond her years, Mariah completed her rehabilitation program and was announced fit to play for the Hockeyroos in the International Champions Trophy in Great Britain in June 2016. Not only did Mariah manage to take part but she scored against USA as the Hockeyroos finished 4th. An anxious wait until the final announcement of the Hockeyroos Olympic squad however Mariah was one who made the team Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4008415/newcastles-mariah-williams-gets-ticket-to-rio-with-hockeyroos/

Mariah's profile page on Hockey Australia's website. Already a number of tournaments under her belt, the future looks promising for the young former resident of the Parkes Shire. Source: Hockey Australia website

Mariah’s profile page on Hockey Australia’s website. Already a number of tournaments under her belt, the future looks promising for the young former resident of the Parkes Shire. Source: Hockey Australia website

Newcastle's Hunter Sports High School was rightly proud of their first Olympian. Source: Hunter Sports High Spectator 2016 Term 3 - Week 2 page 7

Newcastle’s Hunter Sports High School was rightly proud of their first Olympian. Source: Hunter Sports High Spectator 2016 Term 3 – Week 2 page 7

Mariah’s Olympic debut was highly anticipated in the Parkes Shire and her efforts were lauded by not just locals. On the Hockey Australia website in the Fanzone section, members of the public could vote for the Most Valued Player (MVP) for each match the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos played in the Rio Olympic Games. Mariah received MVP accolades for two games – Hockeyroos vs USA and Hockeyroos vs Japan – and was runner-up to Jane Claxton in the Hockeyroos vs India match. Source: http://www.hockey.org.au/fanzone

It is hoped that this is just the first Olympics of a long and successful sporting career for Mariah Williams.

 

Australian fans voted Mariah Williams as Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Hockeyroos match against USA at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Source: Hockey Australia Fan Zone website

Australian fans voted Mariah Williams as Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Hockeyroos match against USA at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Source: Hockey Australia Fan Zone website

Mariah Williams voted MVP by Australian fans for the match against Japan. This match saw Mariah score her first goal at an Olympic Games. Source: Hockey Australia Fan Zone website

Mariah Williams voted MVP by Australian fans for the match against Japan. This match saw Mariah score her first goal at an Olympic Games. Source: Hockey Australia Fan Zone website

Photograph from the Official Opening of the Mariah Williams Field at McGlynn Park. Mariah Williams is seen with Minister for Racing Paul Toole and Cr Ken Keith OAM, Mayor of Parkes Shire along with members of the community and Parkes Hockey Inc. Photograph from Parkes Shire Council Media Release, taken August 26th, 2017

Photograph from the Official Opening of the Mariah Williams Field at McGlynn Park. Mariah Williams is seen with Minister for Racing Paul Toole and Cr Ken Keith OAM, Mayor of Parkes Shire along with members of the community and Parkes Hockey Inc. Photograph from Parkes Shire Council Media Release, taken August 26th, 2017

ParkesHistory will continue to follow Mariah’s hockey career and hopefully it will be a long and successful one. The latest on Mariah is an article in the Newcastle Herald highlighting her selection in the upcoming Junior World Cup in Chile. The Junior World Cup starts November 24 and concludes December 4, giving Parkes Shire residents another event to cheer on an Australian team featuring a former resident. For more information including photographs of Mariah with Usain Bolt, click here

Parkes Shire Library would like to thank the following organisations for their assistance in making this post possible:

If you have stories or memories that you are willing to share about Mariah Williams or any of the other Olympians of the Parkes Shire , please contact Parkes Shire Library via library@parkes.nsw.gov.au so that they can be shared and kept for posterity on this blog. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.

REFERENCE LIST 

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