The Worthing College Academy of Sport 7th Annual Sports Awards took place on Thursday at the Assembly Halls. The evening was another where the College celebrated sporting success on not only locally & regionally, but nationally as well, continuing Worthing Colleges’ reputation for Sports Performance throughout the country.
This year saw three new Awards being presented. These were for Health & Active Wellbeing, the Women’s AASE Rugby programme & Apprentice of the Year. This shows that the Academy continues to grow and allow further opportunity for development of performance across a range of disciplines.
Principal Peter Corrigan in his programme notes highlighted that the College“offers an outstanding sporting experience, delivered by outstanding sport professionals. This is a winning formula and tonight is testimony to that success and I congratulate all our college teams, individual star performers and our talented staff for the achievements of another great season.”
College Director & Academy founder Paul Cox opened the evening by“welcoming parents and members of the wider community to celebrate these achievements and progress as we continue to set new standards in sporting excellence and opportunity.”
The first awards were the Active Health & Wellbeing Programme Awards. These honoured students, who had fully taken advantage of the new gym facility at the Warren as well as the Health & Wellbeing programme put in place at the College, with its co-ordinator Nikki Gatland. The winners of these awards were Connor Heaney, Fay Saunders, India Spoor & Michael Walters.
The Basketball Academy had an extremely successful season with Dom Baker’s squad finishing runners up in their British Colleges’ (BCS) South East League, winning the Sussex & Regional Round of the Dynamik National Schools Tournament to make the Final 4’s weekend, where they eventually finished 3rd. Baker’s squad are the first to do this in the Colleges’ history. Individual honours on the night went to John Bacarro (Coaches Player), Connor Mountfield (Players Player) & Sam Gulla (Team MVP).
The Men’s Football Academy maintained their status as being in the highest league for College sport in the Country, only missing out on a playoff place in the final couple of league games. The 2nd XI produced something that will be hard to beat for any squad, a ‘perfect season’ by winning all their BCS South East League games as well as winning the County Cup after a 3-0 penalty shoot out success against Bexhill College. Consistency at local level continued with the 1st XI only just missing out on their own County Cup final, losing out on penalties 7-6 in the Semi Final to City College.
Individually two players from the squad represented England Colleges’. Greg Gander & Harry Smith played both home and abroad with Smith getting the man of the match award away to Wales in March. Eight of the squad represented Sussex Schools defeating National Champions Kent in their league programme. A further 10-12 players made their Senior playing debuts, ranging from County Division 1 to the Ryman Premier League. Charlie Dennis also became the first Men’s Football player from the College to directly gain a scholarship to the USA to play football. Dennis will travel to Georgia in August.
Individuals honours on the night went to Jazz Gilbertson (1st XI Players Player), Greg Gander (1st XI Coaches Player), Matty Issacs (2nd XI Players Player) & Scott Goodman (2nd XI Coaches Player). Performance Coach Dave Hall was extremely pleased with the season “this years squad has been potentially the best I’ve ever worked with. The performances on the pitch as well as the progression into senior football has been excellent and along with the international and county recognition it has really been an effective environment for player development, which is the main aim of the programme.”
The Women’s Football Academy again were making waves nationally by getting to the BCS Elite National Cup Semi Finals, only just losing out to Balby Carr of Doncaster in extra time. Locally the squad won an unprecedented 7th County Cup title in a row, a feat the will be extremely hard to beat. The squad again competed week in week out at ECFA Elite League level against the likes of Colchester United, Reading & Arsenal, showing the standards set by the squad. In the 7-a-side version of the game the team regained their Regional BCS title, which qualified the team for the BCS National Championships in Bath, where they eventually finished 4th for the South East Team.
Individual honours were won by Danielle Rowe and Charlotte Owen, who picked up the 1st XI’s coaches and players player award respectively. Chloe Johnson won the Coaches award for the 2nd XI and Caroline Lelliott won the players player award.
Tina Price’s Netball Academy have shown progress throughout the season in an extremely competitive Hampshire League with both 1st and 2nd teams showing encouraging performances. Both sides have improved on their league positions from last season and are looking forward to the next step in their performance development. Winners on the night for individual performances were Amelia Smith (1st Team Coaches Player), Lana Byrnes (1st Team Players Player), Sharna Challenger (2nd Team Coaches Player) & Lauren Steady (2nd Team Players Player).
The Men’s Rugby Academy were looking to rebuild after many of the successful National Final squad had moved on from the College to University or the world of work. Coaches Ben Coulson & Sam Hewick were excited by the progression shown over the last few months and with an extensive recruitment programme in place next season will look to bring greater performance results along with the development that has been evident. As a squad a narrow defeat to Seaford College in the County Cup Semi Finals was a slight disappointment, however individually five squad players were selected to play for Sussex U17’s this season.
The individual awards went to Rob Fogerty & Liam Lee (1st & 2nd XV Coaches Player awards) as well as Jack Lake & Ben Bathurst (1st & 2nd XV Players Player award winners).
In its first season the AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence) Women’s Rugby Academy has seen an amazing set of results and player development. The squad have scored an excellent 589 points, conceding only 132. The Academy played mainly the 7’s & 10’s version of the game against teams from around the country (being only one of nine AASE centres). Successes came in winning the Reigate 7’s & runners up in the Berkhamsted 7’s. Impressively Caroline Hodgson won the coveted Kukri player of the tournament in the Reigate 7’s tournament despite this being her first full competitive experience of the game, which shows the ability to transfer skills from other sports. Nationally the squad fought their way to the BCS Elite Cup Finals day, where they took on Coleg Sir Gar from Wales in the Final. The squad performed admirably coming out 5-0 winners in a tight encounter. Eight of the squad were also selected to represent the South East squad at the BCS National Championships, coming 2nd overall. In addition to this Harriet Dunn has been selected to trial for England’s U20 squad, which shows fantastic opportunities for player development to the highest of levels.
Individually Gabie Archer won Coaches Player of the Year and Harmony Driver took the players vote for Players Player.
The College also had the strongest showing at the BCS National Championships. To gain a place at the Championships teams and individuals had to win their Regional competition, so for Worthing to have the largest contingent (24 students out of 201) again another opportunity to celebrate and recognised. Emily Waitland & Georgia Short (Badminton Doubles) performed superbly to retain their National title. Jessica Frayne won Gold, Sliver & Bronze in her three swimming events to help the South East secure the women’s swim meet. On his debut Will Jagger won triple Gold, which resulted in the South East winning the men’s swim meet. Again some exceptional performances.
The Academy of Sport also has a major focus on the community and making sure that all who are involved are aware of how lucky they are and the requirement to give back is automatic and positive. As well as amassing 2500 volunteer hours within the local schools the College has also raised over £24,000 for its chosen charity the Chestnut Tree House since the Academy began in 2007. As part of this a Fundraiser of the Year Award was presented to the student, who had gone above and beyond during the academic year. This year the award went to Rugby player Liam Lee, who raised over £300 alone as well as his excellent attitude to the whole Academy process.
The night now turned to the big and prestigious awards. First up was the new Apprentice of the Year Award. The College now offers a range of apprenticeships, which allow students to develop their employability skills as well as gaining invaluable experience to progress onto higher education or employment. The nominees were Josh Brown & Luke Calleja (Gym Apprentices), Tanya Canton (Leisure Management Apprentice) & Rhys Thompson (Sports & Activity Leader Apprentice). Paul Cox announced that Tanya Canton was to be the first winner of this award. Tanya has come such a long way during her time working with Worthing Leisure, completing Maths & English, NVQ Level 3 and securing a full time Duty Officer role. A true inspiration and a shining example of how the modern apprentice system can work.
Next up was the hotly contested Team of the Year Award. Nominated squads were those, who had performed at county, regional and national level with both team and individual performances at the top of their game. Nominees were Basketball, Men’s Football, Women’s Football & Women’s Rugby. For their superb performances and achievements in their first season the AASE Women’s Rugby Academy were the deserved winners, however the other nominees had outstanding seasons.
The final award of the night is the much heralded Sports Person of the Year Award. This award goes to a performer, who works towards the Academy ethos of the ‘academic athlete’, combining sporting performance and academic excellence. The nominees were Izzy Burt (Women’s Football), Sam Gulla (Basketball), Joe Mills (Men’s Rugby), Harry Smith (Men’s Football), Will Jagger (Swimming), Emily Waitland & Georgia Short (Badminton). Director Paul Cox felt that not only winning, but retaining a National title, along with high grade attainment in their subjects the Sports Person(s) of the Year are Emily Waitland & Georgia Short.
Academy co-ordinator Tina Price was exceptionally proud of the programmes achievements this year “the Academy of Sport again shows that it competes across a number of sports at the highest levels in College sport. In addition to this students are achieving excellent grades in their studies, which shows discipline and desire to be a success. This combination is a successful one and I’m extremely proud to be a part of this process.” Price also had a special mention for Sarah Briggs, who did a “fantastic job organising all fixtures, especially during our wettest season on record.”