VU student-athletes, teams, clubs and alumni were formally recognised and celebrated at the 18th 2019 Victoria University Sport Awards held 21 November at Victoria University Whitten Oval, home to VU's major partners the Western Bulldogs Football Club.
Along with team and club awards Individual Blues Awards recognised students from Victoria university Polytechnic Foundation Certificate courses through to those undertaking their PhD at postgraduate level. Students hailed from five Higher Education (HE) Colleges and Victoria Polytechnic, demonstrating the depth and diversity of student-athlete excellence at VU.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins AO presided and presented awards and highlighted VU as an “Elite Athlete–friendly university" supporting students who are seeking to study while training and competing at an elite level. He emphasised that what students are learning on the sporting field also offers lessons on life more generally:
“Sport gives you the opportunity to be leaders and to be teachers, skills that are transferable to the modern world no matter what your field of expertise."
The VC also spoke of the huge role sport plays in shaping the student experience, a sentiment echoed by student Jack McDonald. Jack, in reflecting that the Awards signify the end of his four-year involvement with VU’s successful football team said: "the relationships built across these four years contributed greatly to my university experience and will stay with me for life".
Lauren Scherf (Basketball) Bachelor Of Exercise Science (Physical Education) and Sergei Evglevski (Shooting) Bachelor of Business took out the peak Athlete of the Year Awards. Both have had a remarkable year and were key members of the Australian Uniroos competing at the 2019 World Summer Universiade Napoli.
Lauren was a member of the Canberra Capitals Championship team winning the 2018/2019 WBBL season and is a back-to-back World Champion with the Australian Uniroos (Emerging Opals), who claimed gold against the USA in the final at the 2019 World University Games.
Sergei recently qualifyed for Tokyo 2020. Following his Gold at the Oceania Championships he had the honour of being selected as Flagbearer to lead the Australian team of 184 student-athletes from 65 universities into the famous San Paulo stadium in Naples. He went into the event as a current World University Pistol Shooting Champion and leader among his peers.
Emma Berg (Shot put) was announced as VU’s Inaugural Rising Star. This award recognises the best-performing first-year student. Emma, the 2019 National Open Champion and Oceania Region U20 Champion, spoke with MC Bianca Chatfield (Companion of the University, VU Women in Sport Ambassador and Netball Academy Head Coach) about her year – in part crediting her success in balancing study with elite-sport to VU’s Block Model.
Individual Blues Awards were presented to 19 student-athletes based on their performances representing the University, country and state.
Team of the Year was jointly shared by VU’s Mixed Netball and Beach Volleyball teams on their Silver-medal performances at the 2019 UniSport Nationals Div1.
The VU Western Spurs Women’s Football Club were awarded Sport Club of the Year on their stellar season. All three teams finished the season as minor premiers and their Div 1 and Div2 winning the premiership flags.
Eight student para-athletes from Vic Poly Foundation Certificate courses were recognised for their performances representing Australia at the 2019 INAS Global Games.
The night concluded with VU Alumna (Sport Development Diploma), Australian four-time Olympian, and five-time Commonwealth Games representative (Table Tennis) Miao Miao delivering an inspiring speech recounting her time at Victoria University and a life dedicated to table tennis and family.