Southern University Games: Wrap-up: La Trobe University outstanding on home turf


RMIT & Monash Ultimate Frisbee players fly in the SUG gold medal match (photo: Davis Harrigan)

RMIT & Monash Ultimate Frisbee players fly in the SUG gold medal match (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Another year, and another Unigames has been wrapped up.  Held in the city of Wodonga, and some sports in Albury, 1,950 students descended on the town this week to contest 14 sports, with the desire to win a gold medal or secure the overall championship trophy.

There was never a quiet moment in the competition, starting with cross country on Monday morning on the La Trobe campus.  LTU students came away with four of a possible six medals across the men’s and women’s division, putting the pressure immediately on the other universities to hit a high standard.

Over in Albury at the volleyball, Auckland University of Technology took the men’s competition by storm.  Sending a team of about 60 athletes to compete across the different disciplines, AUTNZ went all the way to the gold medal match for men’s volleyball, where they lost to Swinburne three sets to two.  The spirit in which Auckland played their games had all the teams talking about how much fun it was to play the boys from across the Tasman.

Can anyone stop the La Trobe women’s volleyball team?  It was a question many teams were asking themselves as the squad marched their way to a gold medal, dropping just one game over the four days.  Adelaide University went with them all the way, clinching silver.

At the ultimate Frisbee, RMIT University stunned everyone.  Pulling off some incredibly big wins on day one, including a couple of big 15-2 victories, everyone else was playing catch-up.  The gold medal match against Monash University displayed some tremendous skills and spectacular layouts on a wet and muddy Willow Park field.  RMIT won 10-6 after Monash had the upper hand in the first 45 minutes.

The rain came on Wednesday, and knocked the fixtures around for a few sports, but it certainly did not stop the cheerleading competition at The Cube in Wodonga, and the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre in Albury.

With 314 competitors, it was the largest sport in terms of number of competitors.  The Cube saw the dance, pom and jazz routines, but it was at Lauren Jackson that the crowd turned up to watch high-flying stunts and other forms of aerial acrobatics.

Griffith University placed second in their all girl level 1-2 cheer discipline, a fine effort for their first major competition.  The battle, however, truly came down to LTU, Monash, RMIT and Deakin.  Five points was the margin separating first and third, but La Trobe ended up tying with Monash for the pennant after a dispute over one routine on the night.

The cheerleading competition was undoubtedly the most popular with other competitors, with even the smallest flip or pyramid stunt sending ripples of cheers through the stands.

The highlights reel keeps going, and RMIT made everyone sit up and watch at the men’s futsal, romping to victory 4-0 in the gold medal match against the LTU number one team.

Support on the sidelines at all venues added to the atmosphere, and the basketball was particularly strong because of an upstairs viewing area and balcony.

To run such an event requires some major co-ordination, time management and a dedicated workforce.  A team of 50 volunteers and Australian University Sport staff attended venues, functions and worked the games centre to ensure that all operations ran smoothly.

All the students and staff that attended take away some incredible sporting experiences, plenty of those including a taste of the prizes on offer.  Two notable players came from women’s futsal and men’s basketball; W-League player Alexandra Gummer lead Monash University in the futsal, and Victoria University basketballer Shane Crick.  Crick is legally deaf, and wears hearing aids during games.  He spoke to Australian University Sport during the week about his experiences in tournaments, and success.

“I finished 2nd in the MVP at the 2011 NDBCC and won the 2010 NDBCC MVP in Brisbane,” regarding his representation at the national level in championships.

Overall, the 2014 Southern University Games presented an extremely high standard of sport, with all teams displaying a level of mateship that allowed a positive competition spirit.

Champions: La Trobe University

Per Capita: La Trobe University

Spirit of the South: RMIT University

 

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