Student Life Services to invest more in university sport
A student’s selection on the best team and plans to invest more in sport will lift the Avondale Eagles after a lacklustre Australian University Games.
The naming of Henry Fui on the Green and Gold list for men’s rugby sevens means the Avondale College of Higher Education Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Teaching student represents all tertiary institutions in this sport. “I’m so proud of him,” says Avondale Eagles Manager Pr Mark McNeill, “as I am of all the students who competed for us this year.”
Twenty-five students represented Avondale at the games, hosted by the City of Gold Coast, September 24-29. The Eagles entered teams in men’s rugby sevens, mixed beach volleyball and men’s volleyball. The volleyball teams placed ninth; the rugby sevens 12th.
In individual sports, Jake Harrington finished fourth in the men’s long jump. The Bachelor of Ministry and Theology student qualified sixth but improved with a jump of 7.09 metres in the final. Kerule Cram, who is specialising in health and physical education, did not qualify from the heats of the women’s long-course 50-metre freestyle.
Avondale finished 26th on the per capita point score behind Bond University, which reclaimed the Doug Ellis Trophy. The Eagles finished as high as fifth in 2015 but dropped to 40th this past year.
The Overall Champion this year: University of Technology Sydney, which won eight of the 59 gold medal pennants on offer. It finished ahead of rivals The University of Melbourne and The University of Sydney with seven and six pennants.
McNeill and his colleagues in Student Life Services will look to improve Avondale’s results in university sport from next year. They plan to: choose teams this year for next year’s Eastern University and Australian University Games; invest in more professional training and support services, such as physiotherapy, and; begin training earlier. The message: Avondale is more serious about sport. “Our students dig deep to get to the games,” says McNeill. “We want to show them we reflect the same commitment. We value the opportunity to compete against the big universities. They can teach us how to improve.”
The games contribute to better retention and completion rates, says Australian University Sport Chief Executive Officer Don Knapp, because it gives students “the opportunity to pursue a dual career education and sport pathway” that “enhances” the student experience.
More than 9000 students—a record—from 42 tertiary institutions competed in 32 sports this year.
Henry Fui makes a break during the Avondale Eagles rugby sevens game against the Spartans of the University of the Sunshine Coast. Paul Merrett/Adrenalin Photographics