Olympic kayak silver medallist Jessica Fox and World Championship bronze medallist rower Ryan Edwards were named female and male Blues of the Year of the annual Blues Dinner held in the Great Hall on Saturday night.
Fox, a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communication) student won a silver medal in the K-1 Slalom event at the 2012 London Olympic Games to cap off a stellar year on the water.
She also won a silver medal in the C1 World Cup and was the women’s K1 and C1 Oceania Champion for 2012.
Edwards, a Master of Commerce student, won the Queen Mother Trophy for the Quad Sculls at the 2012 Henley Royal Regatta.
He was also a gold medallist in the Under 23 Double Sculls, Quad Sculls and Under 23 Men’s Eight at the 2012 Australian Rowing Championships, and a bronze medallist in the Under 23 Quad Scull at the 2012 Australian Championships and the 2012 World Championships.
Fox and Edwards, both SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holders, were among 21 athletes to receive Blues and six volunteers to receive Gold Awards from Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ann Brewer.
The new Blues include: Rachel Assef (tennis), Amelia Clark (athletics), Jack Colreavy (athletics), James Crowley (cricket), Joanna Cubis (athletics), Christopher Cunningham-Reid (boat), Trent Dyer (rugby), Peter Kelly (hickey), Peter Kelly (rugby), Ilana Krigstein (soccer), Nicholas Larkin (cricket), Holly Lawrence (rowing), Katrina Porter (swimming), Joshua Ralph (athletics), William Raven (boat), Jonathon Rundle (boat), Nicholas Stirzaker (rugby), Hollie Webster (hockey) and Alexander Wong (cycling).
Gold awards were presented to Alexandra Blackwell (cricket), Andrew Bray (soccer), Andrew Coorey (rugby), Johnny Lewis (boxing), John McCarthy (SUSF) and Anne Simmons (hockey).
Host for the evening Ann Mitchell said Sydney University sporting clubs had again performed with distinction, particularly the Rugby and Cricket clubs, which won Sydney grade competitions, the Athletics Club, winner of the summer and winter championships, the Women’s Hockey Club, winner of their first Metro League 1 premiership, and the Rowing & Boat clubs.
Bruce Ross, President of SUSF, said the Blues Dinner was one of the great formal occasions on the University calendar year and had been a fixture for 120 years.
He said the past 10 years had been the finest decade for Sydney University sport and it was no coincidence that it had coincided with the amalgamation of the women’s and men’s sporting bodies.
He thanked the sporting heads at the time, Ann Mitchell, Greg Harris and Denise Wee, for their efforts in making the amalgamation a seamless and successful venture.
Mr Ross said 2012 had provided many sporting highlights, including 24 Sydney University athletes representing at the London Olympics and another seven at the Paralympics.
He also made mention of the efforts of the Rugby Club which had won five of the seven premierships on offer, were minor premiers in six grades and Club Championships for the ninth successive year; the men’s Cricket Club which won First and Second grade titles; the women’s Hockey Club which won their first Metro 1 title; the women’s Soccer Club which went with whisker of the Club Championship and a First Grade premiership in the Premier Division; and the men’s Australian Football Club which was promoted to the second tier NEAFL competition, and the women’s team which won the premiership.
“There were also many outstanding individual sporting achievements,” he said. “There were 12 Blues presented in 1892, but they are now incomparably more difficult to achieve, given the standard of athletes and competition,” he said.
Mr Ross said Sydney University continued to be recognised as the leading non-government developer of sporting talent in Australia.
“We have achieved that status purely from our own resources,” he said. “That includes a great partnership with the university, the student body, colleges, sponsors, clubs and, in particular, the army of volunteers who run them.”
Mr Ross stressed the importance of the partnership with the University and its assistance “during the dark years of Voluntary Student Unionism”.
“We appreciated the determination of the Vice-Chancellor and the University Senate the preserve the student experience,” he said.
“But we live in some trepidation that VSU might again be visited on us and that would be an unbelievably foolish step for politicians to take.
“Our mission is clear – our role is to develop talent, and provide the ideal environment for producing a continuing flow or outstanding scholar athletes.
“We have no intention of resting on our achievements – our sporting story is just beginning.”
Photos from the evening can be viewed by clicking here.