The 2012 Athletic Union Awards Ball was the perfect occasion to top off a year of success for the athletes of Southampton University. Many arrived at St. Mary’s Stadium, the new venue for this year, in the rain but it was clear that these well-dressed sports stars were not going to allow anything to dampen the occasion.
Guests were led through the ground floor Itchen Suite, which was decked out for the post-awards party, out into the stadium and up to The Mike Channon suite on the first floor which accommodated the meal and awards ceremony.
As the athletes settled on their tables surrounded by team-mates, the Scene caught up with a few of them. Sam Huish of the Rifle club, nominated for Outstanding Athlete, said that the new venue exceeded his expectations,
‘it’s better than the last two years, it’s just a shame it’s my last year, I need an excuse to come back.’
Eloise Henderson of the Waterpolo club was equally complimentary,
‘I love the AU Ball and I can’t wait for the dancing later.’
Over on the Swimming Team’s table, Adam Dales, the team’s President and Sports Personality nominee, said that ‘I’d love to win the award, I know the other guy who’s been nominated, so there’s some friendly rivalry.’ When asked about his role within the club he admitted, after some encouragement from his team, that ‘I was Head of Fixtures in my second year and this year I’ve been the President.’ The team have ‘done really well this year, we all swam really well at Nationals.’ Adam ‘got a PB at the beginning of the year,’ but said that ‘our new coach has been a big part of our success.’
Trampolining’s Social Secretary, Ellie Rendell was nominated for Half Colours and Sportswoman of the Year for her performance at the National Competition this year which was ‘the best competition I’ve competed at.’ Ellie only started training for trampolining in September so it was all the more impressive that she ‘reached the National Finals.’ Unfortunately she ‘was injured so couldn’t compete at BUCS,’ but has had a successful year as Social Secretary organising ‘millions of socials, and being nominated for President next year.’
Ellie has been involved in organising SUTC’s competition to be held on the 6th May, which has been opened up nationally and will cater for around 185 competitors, making it the second biggest competition of its kind this year. So if you’d like to see Ellie and her team mates in action check it out at the Jubilee Sports Centre all day on the 6th May.
The University’s Skydiving Team were nominated for Team of the Year seemingly unsurprisingly as their President Matt Gottwald explained, ‘we won everything that we could win, we won National Championships, Indoor Championships, Southern Championships,’ they are also National League Champions and have ‘smashed’ biggest rival Warwick, ‘again and again and again.’ For a team who have largely funded themselves this success comes at a high cost due to the fact that ‘competitive skydiving costs a lot’ however ‘everyone on the team loves it, jumping out of a plane is just incredible.’
President of the University’s American Football Team, Stefan Taylor, spoke with pride about his team who were nominated for Most Improved Team,
‘we wouldn’t get Team of the Year, but fingers crossed we win this one, we deserve the award for the team that’s made the most progress because we are finally getting there.’
When everyone had finished their dinner, current VP Sports Development Jonny Brooks and Athletic Union Officer James O’Mahoney began the awards ceremony. The first awards to be announced were the Half Colours. As ever, there were a number of very strong candidates for every award, but there can be no arguing that the winners are very well deserved.
Winners of Half Colours:
Badminton: Kirsty Walker and Georgina Coles. Athletics and Cross Country: Emily Bonnett, John Collier and Jack Gregory. Boat Club: Charlotte Thomas, Maria Frykfors, Bethan Owens and Jake Tempo. Ladies Hockey: Helen Brook. Ladies Rugby: Kathryn George, Lauren Dackombe and Josie Bond. Taekwondo: Emily Gold and Declan Kiernan. Swimming: Hugh Jones. Rifle: Dave Rowell. Mens Hockey: David Howes. Archery: Charlotte Whitlock. Trampolining: Ellie Rendell.
Full Colours were awarded next, to athletes of the highest calibre in recognition of their success in National and sometimes International Competitions. Jonny Brooks explained that these awards were ‘the highest award the AU could offer.’
Winners of Full Colours:
Andrew Davies, Tom Anderson (GB Athletics and Cross Country), Elinor Kirk (Wales, Athletics and Cross Country), Melissa Brandner (Snowboarding), Kat Smith (Ultimate), Rhys Clemments, Allan Skellet, James Lee.
The major awards were then announced after a short break, by which time every nominee and winner was enthusiastically applauded by everyone, especially the Rugby team who showed their appreciation with added vigour.
Most Improved Team: Athletics & Cross Country
Team of the Year: Skydiving
Sports Personality of the Year: Adam Dales (Swimming)
1st Year Sportsperson of the Year: Jordan Turner (Lacrosse)
Sportsman of the Year: Sam Friel (Rowing)
Sportswoman of the Year: Nancy Wong (cheerleading)
Volunteer of the Year: Toby Johnson (Rowing)
Outstanding Athlete of the Year: Sam Huish
Sport & Wellbeing Club of the Year – Cheerleading
The Union Engagement Award: Ski and Snowboard
Athletic Union Award: Katie Featherstone (Lifesaving)
Winners of the Most Improved Team, Athletics and Cross Country, head to the Olympic Stadium on the 4th-7th May for the BUCS Outdoor Championships, we wish them every success.
Sports Personality, Adam Dales along with fellow members of the Swimming Team recieved recognition, in the awards speech, for an incident which happened in the Easter Holidays About an hour into their flight, back from tour, a fellow passenger had a heart attack and members of the swimming team responded quickly and initiated CPR within seconds. An incredible 27 minutes later, the man began to respond. Swim Team’s Danni Burton, Sarah Benjamin and Adam Dales were involved in the resuscitation, so his award was more than deserved in these circumstances.
Team member Zoe Coll, who was not on the plane, stated ‘not to undermine their achievements in any way, but as qualified life guards we know what to do and it’s our obligation, there was only one person who wasn’t mentioned in the speech and that’s Kelvin Cheung, the Head of CPR on the team, he led the CPR. I’m really proud of them all.’
To close the awards ceremony the Vice Chancellor gave a speech about the importance of sport at Southampton University and then Jonny Brooks came to the stand to express his gratitude to those who have helped him and the AU this year. After that, all that was left to do was party hard into the night.
A big Well Done to everyone who was nominated and those who won awards from The Wessex Scene. We have attempted to cover most of the successes this year, but this event proved that there are many, many talented sportspeople at the University, we wish you all the best in your future careers.
Also Congratulations must go to the event organisers for all their hard work over the past few months.
Photos to be published shortly, watch this space…