World champion stand up paddleboarder Brianna Orams has been named USC’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2020.
However it’s unlikely Brianna will hold the trophy aloft any time soon, as COVID-19 travel restrictions have resulted in her studying online from her hometown of Auckland in New Zealand.
The pandemic meant the Environmental Science student could not compete in the 2020 SUP Euro Tour from April to July as planned, but her other achievements over the past 12 months were enough for her to clinch USC’s top award for student athletes.
Brianna won the junior technical race at the Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) world championships in China in late 2019, became the SUPunited 5km and 10km time trial champion in mid-2020, and won or placed well at various SUP competitions in New Zealand.
The impact of COVID-19 on elite sport this year has meant many USC student athletes – including Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls – were denied the opportunity to compete in any major events.
There was so much disruption to sport this year that USC introduced its 2020 Resilience Awards to recognise those who made the most of the changed circumstances through ongoing training and competition, community involvement and study success.
Two students – sprinter and Doctor of Creative Arts student Jane Larkin and cyclist and Clinical Exercise Physiology student Zack Gilmore – will receive these awards at a special event at USC Stadium tomorrow (Friday 13 November).
Among USC’s other sports award winners, who were announced online at the start of this month, is Master of Teaching student Kaia Parnaby. Kaia earned a Continued Excellence Award for her selection in the Australian softball team that would have competed at the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics.
Skeleton competitor and Paramedic Science student Elliot Brown won both a Full Blue award and the Vice-Chancellor’s Sporting and Academic Excellence Award. The latter was awarded for maintaining an impressive grade point average of 6.74 out of 7 while continuing his training and placing well at various events prior to the pandemic.
A Full Blue award also went to Arts student Katja Dedekind for her achievements as a swimmer with the USC Spartans Paralympic high-performance squad.
Half Blue awards for sporting excellence went to Chloe Gubecka (open water swimming), Chris Holland (show jumping), Holly Lubcke (mountain bike riding), Jenaya Massie (canoeing), Phoebe Wills-Grace (canoeing), Lani Pallister (surf lifesaving) and Rebecca Rasmussen (outrigging).
USC’s Team of the Year is the USC Rugby League 9s team, which finished third in the national UniSport rugby league 9s carnival late last year. It gained qualification for this year’s carnival, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Outstanding Service to Sport awards will go to Matthew O’Donnell (Rugby League 9s), Iesha Jackson (volleyball) and Quinn Edwards (volleyball).