This year Gateshead College has continued its tradition of developing the next generation of sporting talent.
Many students at the college have achieved recognition on the national stage after winning awards, breaking records and securing titles for their respective teams.
Gateshead College’s talented Netball Academy A-team came top of the British Colleges Sport (BCS) North East Netball League after completing record-breaking victories against teams from across the region. The team competed in home and away games against six other teams and notched a series of victories which included a 94-12 thrashing of Prior Pursglove College, an 88-16 mauling of Stockton Riverside College and a 75-10 demolition of Hartlepool Sixth Form College – the biggest wins ever recorded in this league. Rising star Alex Rhodes won a place in the British Colleges’ national netball squad while Julie Kimber was inducted into the BCS Hall of Fame for her services to the sport.
Gateshead College’s football teams have also seen major success this year, with the men’s team securing their twelfth consecutive English Colleges’ Football Association/ British Colleges Sport title after winning the BCS elite league. It capped a string of top youth honours which include the BCS Category 1 Elite League Winners, BCS National Cup Winners, FA Youth Alliance League Winners, BCS Category 2 Winners, BCS Category 3 Winners, NECL Under-18 Winners and NECL College League Winners.
Another milestone was reached in March, when David Carson signed on the dotted line for Blackburn Rovers – the thirtieth Gateshead College student to become a professional footballer. Seven months later, Chloe Johnson and former students Abbey Joice and Tyler Dodds were called up to the England Women’s Under-19 squad as reward for their outstanding footballing talents. It capped a year of success for women’s football, with the women’s academy winning the British Colleges’ Elite League in consecutive seasons and reaching the final of the national play-offs at the Britannia Stadium.
Gateshead College’s rugby league and union academies were once again the focus for a string of success stories. In rugby league, North Shields prop Sam Luckley was named in a 36-strong England Academy squad to face France in May. He was also one of seven students who made it into the England Combined Regional Academies team to play Australia at Derwent Park in Workington in November. The others were Patrick Hargreaves, Lewis Davey – named man of the match by the Australian side – Lewis Thompson, Zach Clark, Alex Bielby and Daniel Bleek. In other successes, Craig Banks and Adam Barrass were part of the England Colleges Rugby League squad to face teams in Belgium and the Netherlands in July.
Meanwhile, in rugby union, Tom Davidson from Seahouses and Jiri Lacina from the Czech Republic were selected for the BCS England squad after coming through a testing series of regional trials.
In athletics, 25 students won a total of 31 medals at the North East Athletics Championships at Gateshead International Stadium, which is based on the same site as Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport.
Former student Alan Toward triumphed in the senior men’s discus to equal the 46-year-old championship record of 54.62m – placing him in the top eight in the UK. At the English Schools Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, pole vaulter Charlie Myers soared to new heights to become national champion with a career-best vault of five metres.
Adam Graham won bronze to underline his position as one of the country’s top three shot putters, while Sophie Littlemore came sixth in the women’s event – a remarkable achievement at national level as she only started the shot punt mid-way through her first year at college. There was also success for student Stephanie Moore who won silver in the 100m, 200m (a personal best) and 4 x 100m relay races at the Disability Sport Events National Junior Championships in Coventry.
Meanwhile, former cricket student Rachael Petherick was selected for the prestigious 12-month England Women’s Development Programme after completing an Extended Diploma in Sport through Gateshead College’s Cricket Studies Programme.
In golf, several students have reduced their handicap, notably Lewis Jamieson who came down from 25 to 15 in just two months. Gateshead College’s boxing academy has also had success, with Ethan Garretty crowned national champion in the Junior Development Championships and Jack Edmonds selected to represent England in the European Championships in Russia.
Meanwhile, Gateshead College’s basketball team is currently top of the BCS North East league with an unbeaten record – an outstanding achievement after being crowned champions last year. It has been a year of progression for former Gateshead College students Sam Tyrrell and Sean Murphy, who now ply their trade on the national stage. Sam plays for Gateshead Phoenix while Sean represents Newcastle Eagles Under-18s in the North Premier Division of the England Basketball National League.
Lewis Pendleton, Sports Academy Manager at Gateshead College, said: “This year has been notable for the superb achievements of students across a wide range of sporting disciplines. The fact that so many students have gone on to enjoy a career in sport reflects the quality of facilities and learning provision that we have at the college.
“This year we’ve taken on another exciting crop of sports students and we look forward to developing their talents throughout 2015.”
Academy of Sport students work with coaches to perfect their sporting skills whilst gaining academic and coaching qualifications, all in an environment which inspires them to achieve great success. The college has academies in men’s and women’s football, athletics, basketball, boxing, cricket, rugby, netball, golf, judo, swimming and rowing.