With one month left till the 2019 AoC Sport National Championships, we are highlighting the teams and colleges who will be competing in Nottingham for the very first time.
This is the first time a New College Durham football team have made it through to the National Championships. Traditionally up against strong opposition, they have done exceptionally well to qualify.
Ronnie Thompson, Head of Football Development at New College Durham, said: “Winning the regional tournament and gaining our place in the National finals is a massive achievement for us.
"It is something the students and staff are so proud of given we competed against colleges who are major sporting institutions in the North East, who have regularly won the National Championships.”
London performed exceptionally well in the regional tournaments this year and will be represented in two extra sports for the first time.
Uxbridge College will make their debut at the Championships in the netball competition after triumphing in the London regional tournament.
In addition, Chloe Wilson from Barnet and Southgate College will be London’s first female golfer in the competition.
This year Sandwell College will be represented across three different sports – table tennis, cross country and badminton.
The college produced some impressive displays in the regional tournament with their first ever qualifiers in cross country and badminton.
Itchen Sixth Form College will be fielding both a girls and boys volleyball team at this year’s National Championships for the first time in the college’s history.
Both teams (pictured above) progressed to the finals in Nottingham by winning all of their matches at the South East regional tournament before Christmas.
Volleyball has traditionally seen the likes of Bexhill College and Peter Symonds College represent the region so it is significant that they beat both colleges in the men’s and women’s section.
Coach James Bedwell said: “This is a massive achievement for both teams to progress, since volleyball has only recently developed at Itchen.”
Peterborough Regional College have qualified for the first time in the men’s basketball competition, having beaten Milton Keynes College in a nail biting final in overtime.
Andy Perlejewski, AoC Sport Competitions Manager, said:
“It is always good to see new colleges taking part in the Championships and interesting to understand the reason for their involvement.
"There are, of course, the larger colleges that tend to be represented every year, often developing a reputation for their success in specific sports.
"But even here we are seeing changes as colleges develop partnerships with clubs, particularly in basketball, rugby and football, which leads to huge improvements in performance and the ability to challenge for Championships victories.
"Congratulations to all those colleges who qualified for the first time and we look forward to seeing them in Nottingham.
"The event remains one of the highlights of the year and it is really encouraging to see the enthusiasm and commitment of all the competing colleges."
The National Championships take place from 26-28 April at various locations at the University of Nottingham.
Follow the Championships on Twitter @AoC_SportComps using the hashtag #AoCChamps