The East Midlands take a strong team comprised of students from 12 different colleges to this year’s National Championships, as they look to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish.
With a mixture of international athletes and novice competitors among their ranks, the region is certainly one to watch closely in Tyne and Wear.
Here’s all you need to know about the 2016 East Midlands team.
Last year’s result: 6th place
Colleges representing the region in 2016: Bilborough College, Central College Nottingham, Loughborough College, Lincoln College, Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth 1 College, Gateway College, New College Stamford, Burton and South Derbyshire College, Moulton College, New College Nottingham, Brooksby Melton College, Derby College
Star athlete: Derby College’s Olivia Kelly is surely set to be among the most talented golfers to take on the Close House course at Tyne and Wear.
Having finished with a silver medal last year, Olivia has some unfinished business when it comes to the National Championships – and not many would bet against her being among the frontrunners for gold this time around.
Olivia has been selected onto the Welsh ladies national training squad and heads into the Championships in fine form, having won the women’s event at the AoC Sport Open Golf Championship this month, with a six-shot winning margin over her nearest rival.
One to watch: Bilborough College’s Georgia Lawson is certainly one to keep your eye on in Tyne and Wear. The 16-year-old was nominated for the regional captaincy by her college, and it’s not hard to see why. Georgia is a member of the AoC Sport national netball squad, but that’s not even her main sport, as she forms part of the tennis team at the National Championships.
Despite her young age, Georgia has already represented Great Britain in numerous tournaments around the world, from as nearby as France, to as far afield as Kenya and South America – the latter of which saw her finish an impressive second out of 128 junior players. Georgia has also competed in Junior Wimbledon, her proudest moment on court to date.
This will be Georgia’s first AoC Sport National Championships, but with a wealth of experience already behind her, she is unlikely to be fazed and will certainly be among the favourites to secure a gold medal for the East Midlands.
National Championships veterans: Derby College opened their golf academy in 2008 and have had students qualify for the National Championships every year since. This time around in Tyne & Wear, Olivia Kelly will represent the East Midlands in the female tournament, while the men’s team includes both Josh Williams and Will Davidson.
What they say: “As sport is growing as a department at Brooksby Melton College, I am proud to be representing us - it will be nice to try and put BMC on the map in cross country. I know the quality of the field will be much higher at the National Championships, I have set myself the target of finishing best out of the East Midlands region.”
Matt King – Brooksby Melton College’s first National Championships qualifier, cross country