The end of the 2013/2014 academic year sees Gateshead College Academy for Sport continue its tradition of delivering outstanding success for its learners with many of the academies breaking records, winning national titles and achieving unrivalled success across its 12 sports academies.
In men’s football and building on winning the British Colleges Sport (BCS) National Champions’ Cup last year, the first six months of 2014 has seen men’s football score when it comes to putting North East college sports on the national map.
This year has already seen the college secure 12 English Colleges’ Football Association/ BCS titles in a row - a huge achievement – after the men won the BCS elite league
This caps a list of top youth honours which includes BCS Category 1 Elite League Winners, BCS National Cup Winners, FA Youth Alliance League Winners, BCS Category 2 Winners, BCS Category 3 Winners, NECL U18s Winners, NECL League Cup Winners and NECL College League Winners.
Another milestone was reached in March when David Carson turned professional with Blackburn Rovers.
He became the thirtieth Gateshead College student to sign a contract and follows former students Chris Basham (Bolton Wanderers FC), Scott Martindale (Hibernian FC), Adam Reach (Middlesbrough FC), Kris Thackray (Italy’s Reggina FC) and Matt Wade (Motherwell FC) among others into the professional game.
Rob Briggs, Rob Ramshaw, Alex Francis, Callum Patton, Jordan Nixon and Luke Carr are among 15 other former students who have been taken on by Gateshead FC, which is building for the future after its close push for football league status last season.
Gateshead College female athletes have also seen major success this year after the women’s football team won the BCS Elite League and continued to compete at a national level, securing the runners-up spot at the BCS National Playoff Finals. The netball team shot to success too, winning the British Colleges North East League and seeing rising star Alex Rhodes win a place in the British Colleges’ national netball squad. There was further success in the Netball Academy with Julie Kimber being inducted into the BCS Hall of Fame for her services to netball.
Athletics saw success for 25 students who competed at the North East Athletics Championships at the Gateshead International Stadium where they won a combined tally of 31 medals. Former student Alan Toward triumphed in the senior men’s discus equalling the 46 year-old championship record of 54.62m – placing him in the top eight in the UK this year.
At the English Schools Track and Field Championships in Birmingham in July, pole vaulter Charlie Myers soared to new heights to become national champion with a career-best vault of five metres.
There, Adam Graham won bronze to underline his rise from rugby player to a place 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.
July also saw further 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 at Warwick University’s athletics stadium in Coventry.
Rising rugby league stars Craig Banks and Adam Barrass made the final 20 students who travelled as part of the England Colleges Rugby League squad to face teams in Belgium and the Netherlands earlier this month (July). Jiri Lacina gained national honours representing his country, the Czech Republic, in rugby union while also joining fellow student Tom Davidson as an important part of the British Colleges Sport England rugby union squad.
Lewis Pendleton, Sports Academy Manager at Gateshead College said: “So far, it’s shaping up to be another year of achievement for our students, reflecting their potential for success and the quality of coaching, learning provision and facilities available to them at Gateshead.
“I’m really looking forward to another great 12 months and reporting even more success at the end of 2014 - and further top honours for the Sports Academy.”
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, rugby, golf, netball, basketball, athletics, cricket, boxing, swimming and rowing.