Team UniSA has achieved their best range of results at an Australian University Games, during the event held on the Gold Coast last week.
The 2015 Australian Uni Games, held from September 27 to October 2 were attended by over 8300 students from 42 Australian universities competing in 32 different sports.
Team UniSA took a squad of 114 players, coaches and officials to the Gold Coast where they competed in 10 different sports, including athletics, basketball, beach volleyball, cycling, hockey, judo, tennis, touch football, volleyball and ultimate frisbee.
Along with those sports, a squad of 11 students stayed back in Adelaide to compete in the 2015 Australian University Rowing Championships.
The total squad of 125 was the largest UniSA squad to represent the university at a national event since the Australian Uni Games were last held in Adelaide.
Overall, UniSA finished in 11th place out of the 42 member universities due to a number of notable results, including two division one pennants.
In what was the highlight of the week for Team UniSA, both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams won division one gold medals.
The men’s team won for the third year in succession, having not lost a game in the last three years.
Their undefeated run is now up to a remarkable 25 matches.
The women’s team also went through this year undefeated, impressively without dropping a set the entire week.
Four UniSA volleyball players were awarded green and gold medals, which symbolises selection into the representative merit team for the respective sports.
They were Georgina Rowe, Harriet Berman, Elliot King and Cooper Peacock.
Rowe says her team was confident they could do well, “it was a good group and we’d played together a bit before, so we thought we were a good chance for a medal. The fact that we didn’t drop a set all week shows that it was really successful and that we played well altogether.”
Nutrition and food science student Rowe plays volleyball for Australia and enjoyed playing for UniSA at a lower level, “playing for Australia is high intensity and pressure in front of big crowds, but the Games were more relaxed while still being competitive, and it was great being able to play with friends.”
King has been part of the volleyball team for the last five years, and said the three-peat was special.
“When we won our first gold medal in 2013 it was the culmination of two years' work and it was a wonderful experience to share with people I'd spent a lot of time with on and off court. 2014 was appealing because we obviously wanted to defend our title and after going through undefeated again I couldn't resist playing this year and completing the three-peat” he said.
King, who is studying a double degree of law and journalism, said that wanting to continue the run of success was not the only motivation for continually representing UniSA.
“[I wanted] to give back to UniSA Sport for the hard work and generosity they've given us, and help bring them another gold medal as thanks for all the support they've shown me and my teammates.”
UniSA had a total of seven athletes awarded green and gold medals, including Jaimi Rock, who led the women’s basketball team to the division two bronze medal.
Long Nguyen was another acknowledged for outstanding sporting performances during the Games, also receiving a green and gold medal.
Bachelor of Information Technology student Nguyen said that winning the medal was rewarding, “It feels like a result of long and hard training, makes you want to keep pushing yourself over and over again.”
Nguyen competed in judo, another sport that UniSA was strongly represented in.
The judo team finished third in both the men’s and women’s team events, along with one gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the individual events.
Although the cycling team only had one member, UniSA finished in fourth position in the women’s point count thanks to amazing performances by Madeleine Steele.
Steele won two gold medals, in both the road race and the criterium, and was also awarded a green and gold medal.
It was architecture student Steele’s first Uni Games experience, and she loved the comradery of the team.
“I had some support from the team who came down to watch me and to win in front of them was amazing. It was really cool to be able to represent UniSA so well,” she said.
Steele encouraged anyone who had thought of joining Team UniSA for the Games to definitely get involved, “the spirit of the team is amazing and it is one of the best weeks ever.”
The rowing squad in Adelaide went well, finishing with one women’s lightweight scull silver medal and one women’s lightweight pairs bronze medal.
The ultimate frisbee team had a successful return to the Australian Uni Games, finishing in sixth place overall out of 23 teams, despite having not participated in the Games since 2006.
In addition to some of the notable results mentioned above, Team UniSA was extremely well represented by the entire squad throughout the week with everyone contributing to the 11th place finish overall, providing a great platform and culture for Team UniSA to continue to build its growing presence within university sport nationally.
Written by Kirralee Thomas