The south-west has a penchant for punching above its weight in sport and 2022 was no exception.
This year was filled with success for the region's exports, with many showcasing their talents and succeeding on the biggest of stages.
From Melbourne Cup-winning trainers, to Commonwealth Games gold medallists, it was a memorable year for south-west Victorian sporting stars on the national and international stage.
The Standard attempted the unenviable task of narrowing down the athletes' achievements and has compiled a top-10.
It's the race that stops the nation but this year's edition of the Melbourne Cup was extra memorable for the south-west community.
With Gold Trip taking out the famous race, Winslow-training export Ciaron Maher finally added the prized cup to his already overflowing trophy cabinet.
Maher, who trains in partnership with David Eustace, told The Standard it was a "dream come true" to win the country's most renowned horse race.
It came in a year where he also collected his sixth Grand Annual Steeplechase at his home track during the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival.
Any other year and Grace Brown's Commonwealth Games gold medal in the women's time trial would have taken top spot.
The 30-year-old, who hails from Camperdown, finished the Wolverhampton course in 40 minutes and 5.20 seconds, more than 30 seconds quicker than second-placed Anna Henderson from England.
It was a special achievement for Brown, who had the honour of wearing the green and gold for her country.
Cobden export Gary Rohan and Dartmoor product Jeremy Cameron were finally able to bask in premiership glory, when Geelong overcame Sydney in this year's AFL decider.
It had been a long-time coming for the two experienced forwards, with Rohan (four grand finals) and Cameron (two grand finals) falling short previously.
"It's been a really long road but I'm very proud of what I've gone through so to have this around my neck now is super," Rohan told The Standard.
His Aussie Spinners' side may not have medalled but Jaylen Brown did his reputation no harm at the wheelchair basketball under 23 world championships in Thailand.
The Warrnambool teenager was the Australians' leading point scorer for the Phuket-based tournament, finishing in the top-10 overall for points scored (110) and top-five for points per game (19.6), as the Spinners finished fifth.
Brown is part of the Australian Rollers' open program too.
Port Fairy's Toby McMullin realised a life-long dream in November when Greater Western Sydney selected him with pick 34 in the AFL draft.
McMullin has strong family connections to the area.
The Melbourne-based forward played one senior Hampden league game for the Seagulls in 2022 and was a regular in town during summers when he played cricket for Port Fairy Pirates in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association.
Warrnambool golfing export Mark Leishman made the tough decision to leave the PGA tour and join the controversial LIV Golf tour in September.
The 38-year-old, who turned professional in 2005, told The Standard he was content with the decision and it was best for him and his family.
Leishman is currently home in Victoria and has taken part in a charity golf round to raise money for a local charity during his stay.
Bookaar shooting export Penny Smith earned herself a bronze medal as a member of the Australian women's trap team at the ISSF World Championships in Croatia.
The 27-year-old Tokyo Olympian - alongside Catherine Skinner and Laetisha Scanlan - reached six points to the People's Republic of China's four in the final, to clinch the bronze medal.
Timboon runner Emily Morden competed in the women's 3000 metre steeplechase at September's under 20 World Athletics Championships in Colombia.
Unfortunately, due to extremely hot temperatures, Morden was forced to withdraw late in her heat but upon reflection told The Standard she was still grateful for the experience.
She is now developing her craft in America after taking up a scholarship to a US college.
American football punter Jack Ansell had his strong form rewarded in October when he was named to the prestigious Ray Guy Award watch-list.
The Warrnambool product, in his second season for Purdue University, took his game to a new level in 2022 and was averaging 44.6 yards from 24 punts at the time.
Warrnambool sprintcar racer James McFadden showcased his talents on the international stage, finishing seventh for the season in the renowned American World of Outlaws series.
The two-time Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic champion secured one win, 22 top-five finishes and 39 top-10s from 69 starts in the United States.
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