Netballer Claire O’Brien and rugby league player Daniel Alvaro have taken out the premier sporting honours at the 2017 ActivateUTS Blues Awards.
O’Brien is UTS sportswoman of the year for the second consecutive year in recognition of her achievements at national, state and university level. The third-year sports management student helped guide the UTS netball team to gold at the Australian University Games.
She plays with the NSW Swifts in the Suncorp Super Netball League and represented Australia at the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana. She also plays for the UTS Sparks in the NSW premier netball league.
Alvaro’s recognition comes hot on the heels of him representing Italy in the Rugby League World Cup. In the NRL 2017 season, he helped the Parramatta Eels to a final-four finish.
Alvaro is studying construction project management and earlier this year received the UTS Richard Crookes construction elite athlete scholarship.
The UTS Blues awards, presented at a black-tie dinner, included honours for more than 60 sports men and women, representing more than 33 sports, through Full Blue, Half Blue and club achievement awards.
The evening included a special presentation of the 2017 Australian University Games cup, won by UTS for the first time.
Australian University Sport president Dr Dee Anderson presented the cup to UTS Vice-Chancellor Attila Brungs and team captains Will Richardson (Athletics) and Sam El Safty (Water Polo). Dr Anderson praised UTS for its commitment to sport and those who play it.
O’Brien and Alvaro were among seven UTS elite athletes recognised with Full Blues for playing their sport at national level or as full-time professionals. A further 22 athletes received Half Blues.
Vice-Chancellor Brungs, himself wearing his own Oxford rowing Blue, presented the Full Blue blazers. He said UTS has a long and proud history of supporting athletes with “opportunities inside and outside the classroom that contribute to preparing for life after university”.
“A good sportsman understands the rules: when to obey them, and when to break them. They observe, listen and communicate; they learn how and when to lead, but also the importance of teamwork,” Brungs told guests.
Discipline, determination and tolerance, as well as the ability to win with humility and lose with grace are other sporting strengths essential for success in a post-university life, he said.
About 5,500 students are members of the university’s 33 sports clubs. In 2017 UTS had 240 athletes who were part of the UTS Elite and Emerging Athlete program. Seven UTS students competed in the World University Games in Taipei.
ActivateUTS chief executive Elizabeth Morgan-Brett told guests the Blues awards and other UTS sporting achievements in 2017 were a direct result of student commitment and passion.
“Despite challenges with sporting facilities, our students are resourceful and find ways and spaces to train and play, always striving to be better every year,” she said.
“In 2017 the elite athlete program grew for the fifth year running – we are now supporting 240 elite athletes in balancing their studies with their sport.”
Morgan-Brett paid tribute to the 140 athletes who had participated in events such as the World and Australian University Games and other championships.
“They strengthened our teams and acted as role models – the impact of their involvement is invaluable.”
Jonathan Aspropotamitis, football
Claire O’Brien, netball
Connor Watson, rugby league
Daniel Alvaro, rugby league
Martin Taupau, rugby league
Tiana Penitani, rugby 7s
Max Brooks, surf life saving
Gabriella O’Grady, athletics
Edward Goddard, athletics
Mason Cohen, athletics
Tiffany Ho, badminton
Nicholas Jeffree, diving
Renee Targett, gridiron
Amy Parmenter, netball
Georgia Marshall, netball
Teigan O’Shannassy, netball
Toni Anderson, netball
Ben O’Donnell, rugby 7s
Oliver Signorini, swimming
Zachary Attard, swimming
Serena Stevens, taekwondo
Christopher Elbitar, touch football
Daniel Clopatofsky-Sanchez, rifle shooting
Grace Reid, rowing
Lara Wainwright, rowing
Matthew Curtin, rowing
Olivia Bartram, rowing
Genevieve Longman, water polo
Harry Sanderson, water polo
The UTS team of the year was the women’s water polo team, which won the Australia University Games title for the first time. The women were undefeated all tournament, winning games by as much as 30 points to nil.