The winners of the 2017 Australian University Sport (AUS) Awards have been named with University of the Sunshine Coast student-athlete and 2017 triple world champion paddleboarder, Jordan Mercer, headlining the winners.
The AUS Awards, awarded since 2001, highlight the many outstanding performances and contributions recorded in the university sport sector. Former recipients include Olympic or Paralympic medallists Cate Campbell, Dane Bird-Smith and Dylan Alcott. The 2017 edition saw more than 50 high-quality nominations across the eight award categories.
Australian University Sport (AUS) CEO Don Knapp explained the importance of recognising elite student-athletes along with the coaches and professionals who support the dual career education pathway.
“Elite student-athletes undertaking the dual career education pathway consistently prove they are high achievers, and are often the top athletes on international representative teams,” Mr Knapp said.
“AUS members play an integral role in ensuring these student-athletes are provided the best possible environment for success – in both academics and sport.”
“Through the dedicated services provided by Elite Athlete Friendly University staff - including provision of scholarships, access to industry leading training and research facilities, and assistance in exams and assignment deadlines - the collective work of AUS members ensures elite student-athletes can pursue sporting excellence while laying the foundation for their long term future through tertiary education.”
Mercer, who is studying a Bachelor of Primary Education, took out the Most Outstanding Sporting Achievement of the Year Award by winning three gold medals at the 2017 World SUP and Paddleboard Championships held in Denmark. Other 2017 winners included Deakin University student, Sian Whittaker (Female Athlete of the Year Award), for her two gold medals at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei, and Australian Catholic University student Kyle Cranston (Male Athlete of the Year Award), for his gold medal performance at the same event.
The winners of the 2017 AUS Awards are:
Most Outstanding Sporting Achievement of the Year: Jordan Mercer (University of the Sunshine Coast)
Jordan secured three gold medals at the 2017 World SUP and Paddleboard Championships in Denmark.
Most Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Athlete with a Disability: Hannah Macdougall (La Trobe University)
Hannah secured three medals at 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup events.
Most Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Indigenous Athlete: Courtney Hagen (Australian Catholic University)
Courtney is a multi-disciplined athlete who helped Queensland win the 2017 National Indigenous Cricket Championships and is an integral member of the Toowoomba Mountaineers, a Queensland Southern Basketball League team. Courtney is also a two-time 2017 Southern University Games medallist.
Female Athlete of the Year: Sian Whittaker (Deakin University)
Sian secured two gold medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke events at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei.
Male Athlete of the Year: Kyle Cranston (Australian Catholic University)
Kyle secured a gold medal in the decathlon event at the 2017 Summer Universiade.
Team of the Year: Macquarie University men’s 3x3 basketball team
The team was the Oceania champion and placed in the top six at the FISU 3x3 World University League Finals in Xiamen, China.
Coach of the Year: Chris Lucas
Chris was the head coach of the women’s basketball team that won gold at the 2017 Summer Universiade.
Community Leadership Award: Kicking Goals Together Project (Queensland University of Technology/Australian Catholic University)
The Kicking Goals Together Project is a successful collaboration between Australian Catholic University and Queensland University of Technology that engages youth students from refugee and migrants backgrounds in weekly soccer competitions and educational opportunities.
The University of Queensland women’s rugby 7s team was awarded a President’s Citation to recognise the team’s significant performances in the inaugural Aon Women’s Rugby 7s Series. The team went through the series of 20 games undefeated, securing four tournament wins and the overall Series win. The team captain also received an Australian Sevens contract following the Series.