Now in its tenth year, the widely recognised Worthing College academy of sport celebrated another bumper season of both individual and team successes at the annual awards evening.
Arguably the best to date, students, parents, staff and esteemed guests were wowed by a range of highlight videos and reviews by each academy coach from their respective teams.
Worthing College women’s rugby collected a national title, winning the Association of Colleges National Cup, to cap a fantastic season. The campaign also included a third place finish at the AoC national championships, representing the south-east and the Christ’s Hospital sevens tournament crown.
A runners-up spot in the Sussex Schools County Cup completed the team effort across the season, while individual honours were achieved with five of the squad being part of the Harlequins Tyrells Premiership set up as well as one England under-18 and one Italy under-18 international.
The netball squad had an outstanding season and were quite rightly crowned the Worthing College academy of sport team of the year. All of the squad enjoyed impressive results in local, regional and national competitions. They were AoC south-east regional winners, which set up a fourth-placed finish in the AoC national championships at the University of Nottingham.
The squad didn’t settle for that, they were victorious in both the Sussex and regional rounds of the National Schools competition, which again led to the team taking to the national stage and another fourth-placed finish.
Closer to home the squad won a very strong Hampshire Colleges League and concluded a superb season with a Sussex Schools Cup title.
The men’s football academy showed they are one of the best programmes in the south with performances at England Colleges National League level.
The squad had an outstanding England Schools National Cup run, just falling short at the semi final stage. In addition to this, the first team were Sussex Schools County Cup winners for the third year in a row.
This was followed nicely by the second team enjoying an outstanding season, finishing runners up in the AoC Regional League (playing mainly first XIs) and they also won the Sussex Schools County Cup for the second time in three seasons.
Not to be outdone by the men, women’s football were again extremely consistent at the top level for college football in England. They reached ECFA play-off quarter-finals as well as winning the Sussex Schools County Cup for an 11th successive year.
The basketball academy made the quarter-finals of the AoC regional championships and had a positive season in terms of development and performances. Ariel Castro, Matt Wratting and Cameron Matthews came away with individual honours.
Men’s rugby had a consistent season winning the East Berkshire sevens title and gaining a runners-up spot in the AoC Regional League. Ryan MacMillan was a popular winner of the coaches player of the year award, while Will Rawlinson and Dan Cade picking up the players’ player awards for the first and second XVs respectively. Ethan Thomas showed the biggest journey travelled in terms of development to pick up the most improved player award. As well as celebrating team successes, there were also individual honours to be celebrated on the night. This year alone more than 40 students have gone on to represent their country at national level.
Individual awards went to Ashlene Wootton (fundraiser of the year) having raised over £300 for the academy charity of the Chestnut Tree House.
Jonny Owen won the apprentice of the year for his work at Downsbrook Primary School and Ryan MacMillan won the first Mark Sambrook Award - remembering great colleague and friend of Worthing College - who passed away in 2017.
Macmillan’s recovery from injury and the courage to continue and get back to high level of playing are traits that are befitting of the great man that Mark was. It was great to see Mark’s wife, Carol and his son Ollie, present the award.
The impressive Teya Ashworth picked up the sports person of the year award. Ashworth had an outstanding season and typified the academy ethos of the academic athlete. She made her England under-18 debut and is predicted to excel in her A-levels of psychology, geography and history.
Worthing College principal, Paul Riley, was exceptionally proud of the academy of sport students. He said: “It is perhaps poetic justice that in the year in which we celebrate the ten year anniversary of our sport academy provision, we have had what seems to have been the most successful year to date in terms of the multitude of cup and league successes.
“It is becoming a consistent pleasure to see students holding aloft their winners medals and trophies whilst wearing the academy kits with pride. However what has struck me this year more than ever, is the stories I regularly hear from the coaches that are centred on the pride they feel from not only their team’s successes but the perseverance, commitment and dedication of the student to being the best they can be.”
PE and sport manager Dave Hall added: “It’s amazing to see these young people doing so many positive things both in and out of the classroom. Students are working exceptionally hard to gain not only great results in the classroom, but also out in the sporting arena and local, regional and national level, which shows our ethos of developing the academic athlete is consistently going strong.
“The important thing for us at Worthing College is not only to develop our students with regards to academic and sporting performance but also to develop well rounded individuals, who are great people and we are extremely proud of what they go on and do after they finish their time with us.
“The future is really bright and we are looking forward to the academy of sport continuing to develop and remain at the top table for sport in England at College level.”