The South East will be represented by 14 different colleges at this year’s National Championships, as they look to go one better than in 2015 and lift the Wilkinson Sword Trophy.
The region takes a strong team to Tyne and Wear and will no doubt be in contention for honours once again.
Here’s all you need to know about the 2016 South East team:
Last year’s result: 2nd place
Colleges representing the region in 2016: Bexhill College, South Downs College, Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), Worthing College, Chichester College, Itchen Sixth Form College, Richard Taunton Sixth Form College, Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, Brockenhurst Sixth Form College, Peter Symonds Sixth Form College, Godalming Sixth Form College, Queen Mary’s Sixth Form College, The Sixth Form College Farnborough
Star athlete: Richard Taunton Sixth Form College’s Lewys Southwell is attending his second National Championships this year, having been part of the victorious South East gold medal winning trampolining team last year.
Lewys joined Richard Taunton as a previous European standard diver and has transferred his skills well to trampolining while at college.
In his first year of trampolining he won the British Schools Novice competition alongside gold at the AoC Sport National Championships in Bath. This year, Lewys progressed to the British Schools Intermediate competition, once again winning before having this taken from him due to his tarring being 0.1 over the capping.
Lewys will once again be looking to guide the trampoline team to gold at the championships and has been selected to carry the South East flag at the opening ceremony.
One to watch: After winning all of their games in the regional tournament this season, Peter Symonds’ men’s rugby team qualified for the National Championships for the second year running. They have already won the Hampshire Cup this season and are in the AoC National Cup Final. With stars like Harry Johnston and Olly Maxwell, the team hope to go even further this year and win the gold medal.
National Championships veterans: Richard Taunton’s women's volleyball team could turn a few heads in this year’s competition, having qualified for three out of the last four National Championships.
Under the guidance of Mason Newport and the Southampton Volleyball club, this year’s side are the strongest to attend the national finals out of the last three. The side was able to qualify for the finals despite missing two important players at the regional tournament due to exams, and only competing with five players.
Now back with a full squad at their disposal that has been consistent across the year, the team are looking to medal at the Championships.
What they say:
“Bexhill College is extremely proud of the students’ achievements to reach and represent the South East in the national finals which is the pinnacle of college sport. The students train weekly with our outstanding coaches which has meant the college has now had students competing at the nationals for the last two consecutive years. We are hopeful that our students achieve a top three place in their respected sport of swimming and table tennis.”
(Mark Linch – Bexhill Sixth Form College, Sports Academy Director)