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AoC Sport Awards spotlight: Sport Performer and Team of the Year

19 May 2020

Sport Performer of the Year winner

Jenny Hesketh- Newcastle & Stafford Colleges Group Jenny is an A-Level student at NSCG whose unique achievement is representing her country in two different sports in the same season whilst studying an extremely demanding academic programme. As part of the Andy Griffin Female Football Academy at NSCG, she captained the team to the West Midlands Regional Championships and qualified for the AoC Sport National Championships. She has appeared in all the ECFA Women’s National Team matches and was also awarded player of the match in a Caput Mundi Tournament match in Rome. Jenny is also a fantastic rugby player and has attended four training camps for the England Rugby Under-18 squad as well as scoring her first senior try for Loughborough Lightning recently. Dedication Every day of the week is filled with either football or rugby training or matches, balancing the two sports on top of her studies. She also fits in training for Leek Town football and rugby teams and playing matches on weekends. Her dedication and enthusiasm means she has never missed a college football fixture or training session and has been a fantastic role model in the way she has conducted herself in the two years at NSCG. She has even led some female rugby taster sessions at the college and volunteered at many female sports activities in both the college and local schools. She is brilliant in the way she inspires others to get involved in sport and has a fantastic career in front of her.

Highly Commended

Rob Warman - Buxton & Leek College Rob is a final year BTEC Sport student with a talent for football and table tennis. He was nominated by his football coach for being instrumental in his college team finishing second in the league in only their first year. He has attended every training session and fixture this year and has been the standout player in the team. As a natural leader, his peers have responded to his demands and he has shown fantastic support when times have been tough. He is constantly looking to improve himself and his team’s performance. Rob has a bright future ahead of him and has an opportunity to play football in Iceland.

Highly Commended

Zak Smith- Shelley- Burnley College- Swimming- Runner up Zak Smith-Shelly is an elite athlete academy swimmer who has successfully qualified for the GB Olympic trials. Ranked 13th in the country for 200m freestyle, he has big ambitions for making the British Olympic swimming team for 2024. Dedication Zak successfully fits in swim training, practices and meets around college life, making sure that his extracurricular activities do not impact his college attendance or punctuality. He wakes up at 4am every morning before college to swim for two hours, after which he cycles 10 miles to college. He also trains for 90 minutes with the Burnley College lead strength and conditioning coach 2-3 times a week. Not only does this showcase his immense dedication to the sport but also the grit and determination of a true athlete. Contribution Zak has progressed onto a level 3 BTEC in Sport, fitness and Personal Training next year and his dedication alongside his very challenging training commitments have made him a great role model in inspiring others on the elite athlete programme. He is a student ambassador for the college’s sports partnership with local schools and volunteers his time at various open evening and college events.

Team of the Year winners, sponsored by Matrix Fitness

Worthing College Netball team The Worthing College netball team have swept all before them in the last year, winning two national titles and training at least four hours a week throughout the season. They achieved the most prestigious accolade in the country by winning U19 England Netball National Schools competition and became the first school or college from Sussex to win the title. They beat all the schools and colleges in Sussex, the South and then the top 18 schools and colleges in England to win the title. The team also won the AoC Sport National Championships gold medal in 2018/19, won the Sussex Cup, Hampshire and Sussex Colleges League as well as then winning Team of the Year at the 2018/19 Sussex Sports Awards. The girls have also actively encouraged their peers at Worthing College to take part in recreational sessions and at the local netball Club, which led to the highest ever applicants for the Netball Academy this year.

Highly Commended

NewVIc Men's Cricket Team The NewVIc Cricket Academy have an exemplary record of indoor success over the past three years and have made a huge contribution to delivering cricket in Newham schools and the cricketing community. They have lost just two of their last 52 indoor cricket games, with both losses taking place in the final of the AoC Sport National Championships. Aside from being a competitive elite academy, the players have also worked for qualifications which allow them to volunteer and coach at local cricket clubs and schools. These young men are real role models and have been an inspiration to others looking to join the college.

Highly Commended

BMet Ability Counts Football Team BMet’s LD football team was set up for those with learning difficulties to play non mainstream football outside of college. The team train twice a week and play other local colleges and represent West Bromwich Albion Foundation at the weekend. The team has enjoyed incredible success over the last four years, finishing second in the AoC Sport National Championships and the ECFA Pan Ability Finals in the first year and then winning every regional and national title for the last three years. The squad has demonstrated amazing progress and this has had a positive impact on their studies and retention at college. Two members of the team started their journey at level 1 in Sport and are now finishing at level 3 NVQ and have gained employment through the WBA community programme as disability coaches. Visit the AoC Sport Awards page for information on the awards and all winners.