Southern University Games: La Trobe University Review

La Trobe team captains & manager accept the 2013 SUG winners trophy (photo: Australian University Sport)
La Trobe team captains & manager accept the 2013 SUG winners trophy (photo: Australian University Sport)

It was the wish of La Trobe University Sport Manager Rennie Cirillo to see the Southern University Games trophy hoisted high at the end of the competition by the team captains.  He conveyed his sentiments to the team managers on the first night of the games, telling them to give it their all.  The ultimate goal came to fruition, and the cup was raised by La Trobe team captains Larissa Payne and Geoff Holland at the closing ceremony.

Almost 2,000 students converged on Ballarat for 16 different sports across four days of high-octane and action-packed competition.  Basketball, hockey and soccer, were on the agenda, as well as ultimate Frisbee, tenpin bowling and many more.

For the final team standings and sport results, the Australian University Sport homepage has everything you need.

This university games had it all, especially for La Trobe: gold medals, injuries, team spirit, some amazing performances, and best of all, students having the time of their life.

With almost 300 students from La Trobe booking out two different accommodation venues, there was no doubting how frenetic it was going to get.  The University of Ballarat hosted the opening ceremony, the first of four nights where students could dance and party into the night.

From the cross country students running around Lake Wendouree on the first morning of games, to the team bonding and celebration shown at the team dinners, and the fantastic support for the La Trobe cheerleaders, the La Trobe athleticism and prowess was on full display for everyone watching.

Some of the great team efforts included the women’s first basketball team, dropping just one match on their way to the gold medal.  The men’s soccer team also took gold against Victoria University.  Even if results did not go the way of La Trobe, the support and continuing effort was apparent at all the sporting venues.

Seeing a big contingent of La Trobe students who had finished their sports for the day come to the Ballarat Minerdome on the Tuesday night to support every cheerleading squad was a huge highlight.  The hall rang loud with the shouts of enthusiasm and the calls of the competitors.  La Trobe took second overall on the night, just pipped by RMIT, while the Level 1 & 2 squad dominated their division for first place.

The evening schedule was team dinners (Monday and Wednesday) and the social nights; for the students, fatigue seemed to be thrown out the window.  There was plenty of loud music to satisfy the masses, but the main element of the social nights gave students from all universities a chance to come together and mix with people from other sports and institutes.  Costumed-theme nights were the talk of the teams once the games each day were over.  “What night is it tonight?” “What clothes do I need to wear?”  It meant that the Bluestone nightclub was awash with a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of thrills.

On a personal note, it was great to be able to connect to so many La Trobe students that I hadn’t had the chance to beforehand.  Going to Ballarat with camera and equipment in hand, I was ready to run around to all the sports across the four days of competition and report some of the success back to the La Trobe community.  The Monday was spent at the cross country, ultimate, squash and the basketball at the Minderdome.  Fierce game play was the benchmark of the female competition, and both LTU basketball teams never backed down on team spirit, keeping it alive from start to finish.

The one thing I did not expect to be doing was playing.  On the Tuesday morning, disaster struck the tenpin bowling team, and they had to forfeit their first game of the day.  With a limited amount of time before the next game, I was accredited in a hurry and became, at least for the day, the temporary replacement.  After a while it became clear that I was going to become a permanent member for the rest of the games.  I relished every moment, every roll of the ball.  Facing Chisholm in the bronze medal match, we were just pipped for that coveted piece of glory.  Playing gave me the chance to meet so many new people and just enhance my games experience.

Overall, the entire La Trobe cohort stood tall, and in the end it was enough to secure six gold medals and the winners trophy.  Being part of a team that accepts you and makes you become one with everyone else is one of the best experiences you will ever have in your sporting life, and in your university life.  Southern University Games 2013 was an eye-opener for all the students, and the memories will never be forgotten.

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