Blues Awards Finalists for 2020

Blues Awards Finalists for 2020

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Jahan Emery

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Adelaide University Sport are excited to announce the finalists for our 2020 volunteer, coach and club awards to be presented on the night of the Blues. Regardless of who wins these awards, it is important to recognise the efforts of all nominees who have helped further the development of sport at the University of Adelaide in 2020. Congratulations to the finalists listed below.

Student Volunteer of the Year finalists

Will McGowan (Adelaide University Football Club)
Will is a second year Civil Engineering and Finance student who has been a valued member of Adelaide University Football Club since 2019. He is a valued member of the committee as the 2020 men’s player representative and has continually exceeded in his role by assisting with event organisation, attendance at the recruitment drive at O week and being a leading editor of Adelaide University Football Club’s weekly newsletter - ‘The Substandard’. He is also an active playing member and also involved with the committee and takes on volunteer roles. Will has also manned the Adelaide University Football and Cricket Club’s stands at O Week and volunteered at Adelaide University Sport’s scholarship stand. Finally, he assisted in recruiting students for the SA Challenge Cricket team.

Rhys Morgan (Adelaide University Touch Club)
Rhys is a Bachelor of Science student and the Current Vice-President of the Adelaide University Touch Club. He is in his third year with the Club and in this time has taken on two leadership roles on the committee, being pivotal to the successful running of the Club. He has also done a fantastic job at running the Club’s Touch Waite competition.

Belinda Rutherford (Adelaide University Athletics Club)
Belinda has assisted both the Adelaide University Athletics Club and Adelaide University Sport respectively on multiple occasions. As well as being heavily involved in the Club, Belinda has helped with events such as Sports Week, the Vice-Chancellor’s Cup and SA Challenge. Belinda is always bubbly and keen to be involved in any way.

Non-Student Volunteer of the Year finalists

Kim Evans (The University of Adelaide Roma’s Rugby 7s)
Kim has given countless hours, passion and professional skill to the establishment and success of the University of Adelaide Roma's Women's Rugby 7's program. She has propelled Adelaide University into the AON UNI7s series combining her skills in relationship building, strategic planning, compliance and player welfare, all without ever being paid or being asked to. She does this for the love of the University and Rugby as a sport, and the Adelaide University Rugby Union Football Club has benefited greatly from this relationship.

Kylie Day (Adelaide University Football Club)
Starting out as the A grade women’s team manager, Kylie went above and beyond this year ending up running the Adelaide University Football Club’s entire women’s operations, assisting in building benches for their new oval and organising Pride Round. She continuously helped out at events, providing baked goods and manning the barbeque for an entire Saturday as well as ensuring each of the girls had their own COVID safe labelled drink bottle and individually wrapped half time snacks every week.

Coach of the Year (Development) finalists

Darren Holst (Adelaide University Football Club)
Darren is a long time serving coach of the Adelaide University Football Club. He has coached the team to multiple finals series with the team successfully winning premierships in 2017 and 2020. His love for the club and more importantly the team is unrivalled as evidenced by all his hard work on and off the field.

Daniel Pitman (Adelaide University Wing Chun Kung Fu Club)
Daniel has made outstanding contributions to the Adelaide University Wing Chun Kung Fu Club during the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. He made it possible for the Club to transition to, and maintain online training sessions. Daniel is the newest coach at the Club and has made outstanding contributions during 2020, curating online Wing Chun content and exercises for the Club’s students, and making great efforts towards keeping up members’ motivation and commitment to training while in lockdown. Daniel has been essential for the Club's maintenance through a turbulent year.

Coach of the Year (Elite) finalists

Ben Watkins (Adelaide University Football Club)
Ben has been and continues to be an outstanding coach for the Adelaide University Football Club, not only providing support to their members during a difficult year, but importantly cultivating a team culture, which reflects the values of the Club. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ben continually ran small group training sessions and acted as a pillar of strength for the players both in their football and in their personal lives and continued this support throughout the season and off season.

Ben Hilliard (Adelaide University Cricket Club)
Ben Hilliard has led Adelaide University Cricket Club to its first senior premiership in 22 years in the SACA T20 Cup, to Semi Finals in the SACA 1st Grade Premiership Semi-finals in each of the past three seasons, as well as Grand Finals in the SACA One-Day and National Premier T20 competitions.

Club of the Year (Bennett Shield)
The Bennett Shield is awarded to the Club of the Year with more than 50 members.

Adelaide University Touch Club
Adelaide University Touch Club has had consistent management over a number of years resulting in an engaged committee that regularly attends training and development sessions provided by Adelaide University Sport and has been on top of strategic planning.

The Club shares a common goal, “the enjoyment of touch football”, and is heavily participation focussed to ensure people get into the sport and enjoy membership with the Club on and off the field. The Club is well regarded in the South Australian touch football community and has a very good member retention rate. They regularly have successful recruitment campaigns at O’Week and other on campus events selling not only the sport but also the Club’s culture and social benefits. They have a current National and State level coach as the Club’s Head Coach, allowing them to develop elite training concepts for experienced players and also properly develop new players. They also run a very successful Summer Touch Competition at Waite oval and for something a bit different also runs a Beach Touch Competition.

The Club were active in the formation of the Intervarsity Touch Football Competition, assisting UniSA Sport and Flinders University Sport & Fitness in finding their teams, sourcing referees, coordinating field markings securing equipment and helping to organise and run the event itself. They also engaged in the Adelaide University Sport School Holiday Program, providing coaches for touch football sessions.
The club has had success with a C Grade Premiership in the Summer Competition as well as Men’s Premier B Grade Champions, Mixed D Grade Champions and Mixed A Grade Minor Premiers in the COVID-19 impacted Touch Football South Australia City Touch Winter Competition. A number of playing members who were selected in representative teams or awarded Best Player in their division.

Adelaide University Boat Club
The Adelaide University Boat Club have put an emphasis on strategic decision making by introducing an Advisory Board to assist the Club going forward. The Club has seen an improvement in club culture, organisation and operations through holding regular meetings with leadership teams and sub-committees.

Not only does the Club offer a standard membership model with an integrated high-performance program, they also offer an O’Week program for beginner student rowers, assisting in growing the spot at a university level and increasing club participation numbers. They also have set up an extensive schools winter program, developed by the Club’s volunteers to both assist school student rowers’ ability and create earlier connections to the Club.

This year, the Club bid a spot in the SASI Talent Identification Program for the men and were successful in doing so. This involved hiring a coach for the program and working closely with SASI, resulting in the identification of five men to be a part of this program. Over the COVID-19 lockdown period, the Club participated in Rowing SA’s Development Challenge, which was created to keep clubs engaged at the time. The Club won the challenge, which comprised of both physical challenges and social media challenges.

The Club was fortunate in that most of its competitions had completed before COVID-19 lockdown. They had success winning five out of eight available titles including the Women’s Premiership Title, Men’s Premiership Title, Master’s Premiership Title and a number of State Championships.

Adelaide University Rugby Club
The Adelaide University Rugby Club has done a wonderful job in diversifying their member base and celebrating these new members with special events. During COVID-19 lockdown, the Club provided members with a social calendar that included zoom events such social gatherings, quiz nights and fitness trainings. The Club also celebrated their gay and inclusive team, the Adelaide University Sharks, with a one year anniversary celebration and Pride Round. For their female members, the Club had Ladies’ Day, and for their older members they had a Heritage Round. They also hosted Indigenous Round, which was live streamed and televised on Channel 44, focusing on education and language and their importance in the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The Club has put in place strong risk management procedures, upskilling many club members with member protection, mental health and first aid trainings. They have also worked hard to meet the new liquor licensing requirements for their bar area at Waite, ensuring their members can still enjoy the perks of this facility. The Club also has strong processes for child safety, which is essential as they have a junior program with good player retention going into senior competition once they leave school.

The Club’s on field success has increased heavily over the past two seasons with three of their four senior teams progressing to the second round of finals this year and one of them making a Grand Final. This was the furthest the men had progressed this far in over six years, and it was another strong effort by the women’s team who last year won a premiership but this year made it second round of finals with many new faces in the team.

Adelaide University Judo Club
The Adelaide University Judo Club prides itself on serving the international student community and the University of Adelaide, which takes up a large portion of the Club’s annual member intake alongside local students. Judo’s key principles of ‘mutual benefit’ and ‘maximum efficiency’ are embedded into the Club’s code of conduct and proximately displayed at their dojo so that new members can become familiar with them. Members are encouraged to train at the level they are capable of or chose with no pressure to compete beyond their skillset. They run specific technical sessions for members who want to improve knowledge and skill in preparation for competition, and also run challenge events that are followed by a social BBQ for members to get introduced to the idea of competition and bond with fellow club mates. All new members also get two free come and try sessions as an introduction to the sport and the Club.

The Club has introdu8ced two new programs to further diversity their member base. The first is their junior program, Judo4Kids which is a 10 week program run during school terms that can lead into eventually moving into the AUJC Kids classes where they can continue their learning. The second is their Dynamic Balance for Life program, which targets older adults and teaches them how to fall safely to minimise damages to their body and improve quality of life.

While interstate, national and international competition has been limited in 2020, the Club won several cold and silver medals in a range of state competitions across many different divisions. In 2019, Club members won gold at the Nationals for the third consecutive year in specific kata performances and represented Australia at the World Judo Kata Championships.

Club of the Year (Jessop Shield)
The Jessop Shield is awarded to the Club of the Year with less than 50 members.

Adelaide University Wing Chun Kung Fu Club
The Adelaide University Wing Chun Kung Fu Club has been very active in response to COVID-19, ensuring many committee members, coaches and general members became COVID marshals so that multiple were in attendance at each training. They have begun to alter their strategic plan to be more in closely aligned with their current goals.

While it has been difficult to secure memberships through the usual on campus opportunities Adelaide University Sport and the University of Adelaide provide due to lockdown, the Club has been fortunate in having very good numbers of existing members willing to volunteer in different capacities to ensure the Club has continued to run smoothly.

The Club was able to adapt in 2020, utilising Zoom to provide their members with online classes for three months to be done at home with the guidance of an instructor. They altered lesson plans to focus on form and techniques, and incentivised the system using a spreadsheet for members to track their offline training time throughout the weeks. Since returning to in-person training, the Club has continued streaming the classes, now through their Facebook group to allow members to join externally if they wish.

Adelaide University Athletics Club
The Adelaide University Athletics Club has focussed on marketing and communications to members and as a result have increase member engagement in events and training sessions. They have also put a focus on management and control of events and policies to become a more consistent club operationally.

The Club has successfully increased membership in a difficult year. They’ve run come and try sessions for new members to come along and see if it’s the right club for them. The Club is also flexible in what they offer to new members, allowing for them to get the best possible outcome for those members who want something a little bit different. They have also conducted member surveys to gauge what areas they can improve in.

The Club’s base session level is very relaxed to maintain a casual environment for members, but also have created extra additions to sessions or challenges for more experienced members looking for something more competitive. Groups of members sometimes compete in external competitions, which the Club helps organise.

Adelaide University Cycling Club
The Adelaide University Cycling Club’s current strategic plan revolves around increasing the number of their female members. One of their key campaigns to achieving this has been introducing women specific trainings held by some of the Club’s elite athletes. Every member of their committee has also completing inclusivity training to ensure they are knowledgeable in this area as they attempt to diversify their member base. Another event used to attract membership is the AUCC Beachie, the Club’s main social gathering for the year where they integrate safe road practices to ensure all participants are safe on Club rides each weekend.

The Club had many podium wins in a variety of competitions and divisions, and also had some impressive elite athlete achievments. . Club member, Maeve Plouffe was selected for the Tokyo Olympics and also awarded Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Griffin Knight was a member of the MTB Australia Cyclocross Academy.

Click here to celebrate with these nominated volunteers, coaches and clubs, plus many more award recipients by purchasing a ticket tothe Blues Awards on the 24th of November at the National Wine Centre (RSVP by Friday the 13th of November).