At the end of each year, when the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA holds its annual awards banquet, one of the most prestigious accolades bestowed is the chapter’s Rising Star Award. And from the choices of the up and coming youngsters that the local scribes have singled out over the years it seems as though they have a good handle on this situation especially with recent choices being Jordan Stratton and Jimmy Marohn, Jr.

Now another who will be among the tops in years to come is 21 year old Austin Siegelman, this year’s recipient of Monticello- Goshen Chapter’s Rising Star Award. And for good reason, too, he has talent.

“Winning the Rising Star Award definitely gives me a lot of confidence going forward,” Siegelman told  a reporter of his hometown newspaper, the Citizen’s Voice. “ I plan on being in this business for a long time and hopefully this is just the beginning of great things to come.”

Siegelman began racing here this spring and was starting to draw attention by driving winners with regularity but instead of staying he headed back to his hometown.  In retrospect that move was premature because his stock didn’t fit well there and that track’s top drivers are talented which didn’t leave much room, nor any good mounts, for a youngster looking to make a name for himself.

Since Siegelman  lives in Kingston Pa, a stone’s throw from Pocono Downs -- or as it is referred to now as Mohegan Sun Pocono--  and has long aspired to be among the driving colony there where the  casino fuels huge purses. But after watching, more than driving, Siegelman and his dad Jamie, a longtime horseman, packed up six weeks ago and along with a new  patron, Chris Marino, moved their home base back to the Mighty M.  And since he did, he’s getting a chance to display his inherent talent for driving harness horses.

Moreover, much to young Austin’s satisfaction, he’s becoming a much sought after catch- driver and has been delivering winners for nearly every trainer he has driven for.

Through November 22 at the Mighty M Siegelman has reined 60 winners in 336 starts which ranks him in 11th in races won on the local leaderboard and on Thursday, November 21st  the youngster enjoyed his first hat trick which will undoubtedly be  followed by many more.

It’s no secret Siegelman goal is to drive winners and move on to more prestigious racetracks and he hopes to return to Pocono Downs .

It probably wasn’t a good idea to start my career at there (at Pocono Downs) since it’s the toughest  and  most competitive racetrack in the nation,” he said. “But I hope to be back there down the road.”

At the banquet where he received the Rising Star Award the soft spoken youngster did say that he has one thing that he’d like to accomplish at Monticello Raceway next year. “I want to win the Passover Pace and put an end to the dominance by Alan Schwartz and Mike Kimelman in that race