Southern University Games: Day 1: Hitting the track with Cross Country, Futsal & Basketball

Swinburne v UTAS, men's futsal (photo: Davis Harrigan)
Swinburne v UTAS, men’s futsal (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Fog in Wodonga on the first day of Southern University Games competition greeted the cross country competitors on a picturesque but somewhat muddy La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga campus.

A huge cohort of red and white LTU Eagles students lined up under an enormous inflatable red bull arch.  Running the perimeter of the university, it wasn’t long before someone broke free of the pack, and that was eventual men’s winner Stewart McSweyn (40:22:00).

Climbing up through rock faces and around a few steep and somewhat slippery hills, competitors kept going to get those extra points for their university.  The day was even more special for La Trobe, as Jake Stevens (silver) and Josh de Stefanis (bronze) clinched all three men’s medals.

For the women, Courtney Scott from Federation University posted a time of 31.55km over the women’s eight kilometre course to take home gold, more than two minutes ahead of her nearest rival.

Taking the action to the Wodonga Middle Years College was the men’s futsal.  It is a fast, skilful, reactive sport, where players need to be on their toes every moment of the game.

University of Tasmania (1) v Deakin University No. 2 (4) put up an impressive display of dribbling and passing.  Despite the scoreline, UTAS never ceased to persist pushing the ball up towards goal on the tiny court.

Across the gym, Monash University (5) took on the Deakin Number 1 team (1), and never looked like being threatened.  Their goalkeeper stopped or deflected almost everything that came his way, and Monash were relentless in front of goal.

It was a very similar story for the Monash women’s futsal team against UTAS.  Captain Alexandra Gummer, who is also of W-League fame, lead the charge, and was well supported by every player on the field.  The UTAS supporters were charged up with enthusiasm, but unfortunately could not get their teammates over the line.

At the Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre, five basketball courts were in full swing.  After a loss to Deakin University in the morning, the La Trobe number 2 team hit back with a comfortable 32 point win over ACU.  Pocket rocket Ebony Spencer was excellent around the basket, and almost made a blind backwards throw land in the hoop.

RMIT University made short work of Victoria University in the afternoon, and the Swinburne University third team managed to scrape home with the points against RMIT a couple of hours earlier in the men’s draw.

The weather has held off for the outdoor sports, allowing them to proceed without significant interruption.  A lot more will be revealed on Tuesday, when teams begin to cement spots on their respective ladders.

Tuesday’s agenda: Touch, Tennis, Netball, Ultimate Frisbee


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