Sportsman of the Year
Elliot has contributed his time, effort, and immense skill in not one but two sports at the University level. As captain of the Men's Blues (Oxford University Ice Hockey Club), he is invaluable on and off the ice. As captain, he is the primary administrator of the Men's Blues, organizing games, training sessions, Varsity, and their tour abroad to Prague/Vienna/Budapest. On the ice, Elliot leads the team by example, always playing to his maximum ability and running high-level training sessions. He is easily among the best ice hockey players the University has seen in recent years. Moreover, he generously volunteers his time to coach both the Vikings (men’s seconds), and the Women's Blues in the OUIHC. Despite two hard losses at Varsity in 2016 and 2017, Elliot led his team to victory in last year's National Championships in Sheffield and earned a Discretionary Full Blue.
Elliot is also a member of the Oxford University Gliding Club where his is also the treasurer. His efforts led to the purchase of a new glider for the Club (£40k) in addition to a stellar Varsity match performance last Michaelmas.
In sum, Elliot is a dedicated athlete who SJC should be proud to support.
MBBS, DPhil Candidate, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, UK, Rhodes Scholar, 2015
Oxford-Cambridge Varsity – first place in Triple Jump. British University Outdoor Championships – Finalist. Cuppers 2016 St John’s College – first place, triple jump, second place – long jump. Oxford-Cambridge, FEAR (indoor Varsity match), British University Indoor Championships – finalist. Selected to represent the combined team of Oxford and Cambridge against the Ivy league teams as part of the Transatlantic series between the 3rd and 17th of April 2017
A national sprinter and triple jumper from India who has represented his state at 5 national athletic meets winning three national bronze medals, three state gold and fourteen university athletic medals including setting a state record and two university records. He also captained his college hockey team and has mentored younger research aspirants.
I am writing to nominate Eoin Finnegan for the JCR sportsman of the year. Eoin has had an outstanding contribution to both university and college sport this year. He represented the university’s blues kickboxing team and also part of the university’s athletics club, where he competes in cross-country.
This year Eoin’s most impressive sporting achievement was in him winning his kickboxing varsity in Hilary term. This was his first year competing for the university kickboxing team and therefore is hugely impressive to obtain such an achievement so quickly in his Oxford University Kickboxing Club career.
Eion is also a prominent member of the college football team and has been during all three years of his St. John’s time. Juggling his college football, university cross country and kickboxing whilst also completing his third year of engineering is hugely impressive and hence why I think Elon should be nominated for the JCR’s sportsman of the year.
Not only has Noah been successful in securing himself a position in the Hockey Blues as a Fresher, which is an amazing achievement in itself, but he has proven to be one of the best players in the team.
Noah is often
criticised for not performing under pressure but this has been proven wrong in
his ability to score vital goals at important moments. Not only did Noah score
in the hockey Varsity match in front of a large crowd, but he also scored
the winning goal in the last few minutes against Cambridge in the league.
The Hockey Blues are hoping to secure themselves promotion this year, by playing Reading in a couple of matches. I'm sure Noah will be a key member in the team, if the hockey squad are hoping to achieve success.
Sportswoman of the Year
Céline is an incredibly talented sportswoman. As an active member of John’s women’s football team, Céline has played a great season with them. As a medic, she organised all of last year’s Med Soc Varsity. As a fencer, Céline has progressed to the women’s first team during her time at St John’s.
this past year, she has been part of one of the most successful seasons in
Oxford fencing history, where Oxford has emerged victorious over Cambridge not
once; not twice; but three times, culminating in victory at the 110th Varsity,
securing Céline a full Blue. Just as impressive, the Women’s team performed
exceptionally at BUCS, securing first place in the Premier Southern League.
Céline contributes massively to the club - even getting a minivan licence to chauffeur the club from victory to victory! She is a diversely talented fencer, often called upon to fence with different swords. As the club’s social sec, she has helped develop the Oxford fencing community, particularly outreach for those new to the club. Finally, she has put her experience and success at fencing this past year into becoming the new President of the fencing club by popular demand, leading the club into an even more successful year.
After serving as Assistant Captain of the Women’s Blues (2013-2017) and President (2015-2016) of the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club (OUIHC), Lisa continues to be a leader to her team-/club-mates. As the most senior member of the team, Lisa provides guidance to the team Captains and is a role model for younger members of the team. Her leadership capabilities and unmatched athletic prowess have paid off: in the past two Varsity Matches, Lisa scored four goals and four assists and is a key part of their current 4-year winning streak. In her 4 years with the OUIHC, she has consistently been the top scoring defenseman for the Women’s Blues.
Lisa also plays for and is Captain of the OUIHC Vikings (Men’s 2nds). After being the first woman to compete in the Vikings Varsity (2015), Lisa is now also the first woman to Captain the men’s second team.
Lisa also captained the St. John’s Volleyball team that went undefeated in Cuppers last Trinity. Her dedication to the OUIHC and athletics in general inspire me each day, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving to be St. John’s Sportswoman of the Year. St. John’s is lucky to have this all-star athlete.
Since taking on captaincy of the St John’s College Netball team in Trinity of last year, Jen has done a superb job of organizing training and matches for the team, alongside taking part in a highly successful W1 Torpids campaign which involved intensive training with a new coach in Michaelmas 2016, and stepping this up for Torpids 2017 in which W1 achieved the best result since the Headship crew of 2013, moving up 4 places overall. I know Jen as a rower, and was always in awe of her commitment to training alongside her academic commitments and also making sure that college netball continued to thrive. Despite this year being the first one in which she was rowed in W1, Jen has worked to achieve the best endurance scores in the entire crew. She matches this with her fun-loving and supportive attitude which is always an encouragement to everyone else on the crew. An example of her attitude is when once, during an ergo training session, she had to stop mid-sprint due to an asthma attack. As soon as she had recovered, she was back on the erg and ended up pulling a PB!
Jen has also led by example for the netball team, organizing and attending training and matches every week in the first year in which St John’s has entered teams in two netball divisions. She even made time for a one-on-one coaching session for a complete novice (me), helping me overcome my fear of ball sports!
To me, Jen represents the best of college sports – she is 100% committed, caring and the ultimate team player. She has sacrificed time and energy to make both netball and rowing successful this year, alongside achieving incredible personal results herself. She’s way too humble to think she deserves this award, but I think she does.
Jenny played for both the seconds netball team and OURFC. She gained her rugby blue in the 2016 Varsity Match at Twickenham, where she was the starting loosehead prop. Her outstanding effort helped to clinch the win for Oxford. Jenny has also been invited to play at a professional level, representing the Harlequins on several occasions.
Jenny goes above and beyond to foster a positive female sporting atmosphere both in John's and at the university level. She has inspired and encouraged several St John's women to join OURFC, two of whom, with her mentorship, played in the Panther's (second's) Varsity match in March 2017. Jenny also co-captained the Saints women's rugby team for Cuppers, where she demonstrated leadership in recruiting players and coordinating team trainings. Her promotion of women in sport is also evident in her work as head of WomFit, the St. John's women's exercise and health group, which she took the initiative to establish in 2015.
Her contribution to JCR sport is not limited to WomFit, as she acted as JCR Sports Rep (with Valerie) between 2015 and 2016. Jenny was tasked with organising and managing the budgets for all of college's sports teams, and she helped to organise the successful college sports day.
It is the combination of these achievements and contributions at college and university level that make Jenny Smith most deserving of this award.
Mixed Team of the Year
Hockey was a new club as of Trinity 2016 and we entered Mixed Cuppers with little expectations. We managed to beat Lincoln in the first round 2-1, a proud achievement for our first ever John’s hockey game. Then in the next round we faced Magdalen, who were a very strong team, and only narrowly lost on penalty flicks. This was a great accomplishment for a previously non existent team. The start of Michaelmas 2016 I was contacted by the Oriel captain and we began a mixed John’s Oriel team. With many budding new freshers I had high hopes. We entered into the men’s 2nd league as a mixed team (as this is where Oriel had previously finished). We proceeded to win every single game (sometimes with only 10 men/no keeper) and came top of the league leading to a promotion into the 1st league for Hilary 17. We have held our position in the 1st league well so far having won one game and lost one game as of the end of Hilary. I feel this is a fantastic achievement and am so proud to have captained some fantastic hockey players.
This year has been strong for netball despite having our two teams playing on the same day; with players only allowed to play in one league each week it was always a challenge to field 14 players on a Friday. Many games were played 6 or even 5 vs 7; however, many of our proudest victories came from these matches. Last Trinity netball reached the quarter-finals of mixed cuppers, losing narrowly after one of our core players was injured during the match. We finished runners up in both leagues in Michaelmas, and retained our place in both leagues following a Hilary term of very short numbers.
The tennis team has had an enormously successful past three terms. In Trinity 2016, they fielded a team both for league matches and the all-important cuppers. As league rules do not allow blues or second team university players to compete, the college team showed its great depth of players and outstanding commitment by being the only team in the league to field a full team for every match.
In cuppers, the team had resounding success, spearheaded by a plethora of university-level players and only lost one set on the way to the final, where they convincingly beat Queens college 7-2.
An outstanding crop of new players this year has raised the standard of the team to further heights. The team trains weekly throughout the year irrespective of season, and they support this with regular strength and conditioning work in the college gyms. They have also fortified team bonds at Thursday formals. The team is now poised for a successful Trinity 2017, with great opportunities for success in the league (where they are in the top division) and for defending their cuppers title.
the second time in three years, the St. John's volleyball team (Firsts) has
gone undefeated in Cuppers play. In Trinity 2016, not only was the first team
undefeated, but the second team only lost one match - to the first team in the
championship final. Both teams are mixed with a wide range of skill level.
Several players are new to the sport while others had played many years ago.
Despite not having practiced together, both teams quickly gelled and impressed
onlookers at Iffley. The volleyball team epitomizes college sport, cultivating
a positive sporting community, introducing students to new sports, creating a
platform for other to develop leadership skills, and to take part in friendly
Men's Team of the Year
The 2016/17 season has seen the St John's football team surpass all expectations. Having been promoted to the First Division following an undefeated title-winning season the previous year, every match was to be a thrillingly difficult test of the credentials of the team. The players raised the level of their game tremendously, and produced winning performances week after week against teams studded with university level players. Availability issues threatened to hamper the progress of the team but proved to be no hindrance, with a staggering 31 players appearing for the first team this season, of whom 5 pulled on the goalkeeper gloves at some point. Despite the sometimes unbearable tension as the matches progressed, with the final whistle never coming soon enough, the team continued to lead the push for the title. The efforts of the players culminated in a 3-1 victory against Merton/Mansfield, a result that confirmed SJCAFC as the First Division champions, having not lost a single league game. This achievement is unprecedented in recent St John's football history and represents an incredible effort on the part of everyone in the club. The commitment from every single player should be commended, and has led to an immense team spirit that I am proud to have been a part of.
Over the last 12 months, Saints have reinforced their position at the top of Oxford college sport. We entered last Trinity training five times a week for a Cuppers Semi Final, which we won. For the third year in a row, we represented the college on Cuppers Finals day; unfortunately we lost, but the team showed tremendous heart and talent drawing close to a much more experienced (and much less legitimate...!) team.
This season, we fought to hold a position in Div 1, even beating the infamous Teddy Hall into Div 2; other casualties included New, St. Peter's, and St. Catz. The discipline the team showed in training twice a week at 07:00 through winter paid off. No less than ten players were trialled for the Colleges XV Varsity Match, and six (over a quarter of the entire squad) played, and won. Four players simultaneously represented university sides and the college team. At the other end of the spectrum, we have trained players from scratch to a high level - including one memorably tackling a Blues player. As a finalist, I feel very privileged to have spent four years involved with a truly remarkable club and equally impressive individuals, whom I believe are worthy of this recognition.
Women's Team of the Year
SJCBC W1 had a strong
start to the year, performing well in Wallingford Head in December, a 4.5km
race, further than any of the crew had attempted to row before, and three times
as far as the average Torpids course.
The crew built upon that success as Hilary term started, increasing their training to place 1st by a large margin in the IWL E time trial, beating not only every other women’s crew, but many men’s crews too.
Less than two weeks later the Torpids races began, where the team excelled again, achieving the best result of any St John’s crew in years. They ended the week in the top half of the first division, with 4 bumps over 4 days, one of the best results on the river. To complete the term, they entered the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on the Thames. The 6.8km race was (once again) further than they’d ever raced before. Racing against 320 teams in the world’s largest women’s regatta, they finished 97th, beating not just other college crews, but also many university teams.
With such a successful year so far, the upcoming Summer Eights campaign is looking incredibly promising.
'Saints' Women's Football Team
I would like to nominate the St.John's and St.Anne's Women's Football team for Women's team of the year. After our outstanding track record this year and each individuals player's own personal achievements, the team has really come together. Given our recent amalgamation with St.Anne's this season, the excellent performance of the team is a real testament to the hard work of all players and coaches. Not only were most of the players new to the team but also new to football itself, but their dedication to self-improvement and our brilliant coaching (provided by SJCAFC members) produced players that went on to play University Women's football. In the space of two terms, we went from a team that showed glimpses of brilliance against teams at the top of the league, to one that was the better team against a University side. In light of the double header at the football Varsity 2017, SASJWAFC is leading the way not only on getting more women into University football, but also getting more women into sport. It is for these reasons and the fact that it wasn't so long ago that the college struggled to field a full women's football team that I would like to nominate the 'SAINTS'
Jess became Women’s Captain, and Captain of Boats, for SJCBC in May 2016. She excelled at her first challenge and, with the men’s captain, secured the appointment of a well-qualified first boats’ coach. This has been instrumental in the rapid improvements of our rowers this year. During Michaelmas, the new intake of female novices reached the quarterfinals of both novice regattas, the best results for a number of years. Jess led the development of the senior squad, increasing the volume of training and entering them in an external regatta in early December. During this time, she also arranged the purchase of a new women’s boat. In Hilary, two women’s crews entered Torpids, with the 1st VIII rising four places over the four days of racing. (The best result seen for the 1st VIII since 2013, when SJCBC achieved Summer Eights Headship.) The term culminated with entry of the 1st VIII to the Women’s Head of the River Race in London, finishing 97th of 320 crews and an impressive 3rd out of all Oxford college crews. Jess’ role has extended beyond mere training organisation, leading a committee that has encouraged and fostered integration between the senior rowers and new novice intake.
Kai Laddiman for the Sports Officer's Special Prize 2017. Kai became Captain of SJCAFC at the end of Hilary 2016. After the teams success during that season, Kai had to take on the huge responsibility taking the team into the next division which would commence in Michaelmas 2016. However, a few weeks into Trinity 2016, Kai became suddenly ill leaving him bed-bound for 3 months with constant migraines. There was doubts about him being able to carry on with his studies, which would also mean giving up his captaincy. Despite barely being able to get out of bed, Kai managed to complete his exams and was allowed to carry on with his studies. However his battle with his illness was not over and had left him with poor vision and the prospect of not being able to do sport. Against all odds, throughout Michaelmas 2016 and Hilary 2017, Kai managed to continue to motivate his team from the sidelines, match after match, training after training, and despite still being very ill, he drove SJCAFC to victory as Hilary 2017 saw the team win the league! He also managed to play his first 90minutes of football of the 1s recently which was a massive personal achievement for himself since his illness. From being so ill last year yet still having the perseverance to lead a team to victory, I feel Kai deserves a huge amount of recognition.
On behalf of SASJWAFC it is my pleasure to nominate Sam Morris for excelling in the role as the coach of the Saints football team. Women’s football can seem an intimidating sport, especially as so many had never played before. Sam’s ability to make football accessible to those of any skill, as well as fun and engaging, became a cornerstone in making our team the inviting and inclusive environment it is, helping in no small part to attract more players than the team has seen in years.
With help from his little notebook, he is reliably on the side lines encouraging us through every moment, giving praise and support and ensuring everyone gets to play. His creativity at training knows no bounds, from stretches in the mud to string-related drills and considering the role is usually shared between 3-4 people, Sam’s commitment to the team is hugely commendable.
His investment in the team is clear to anyone who knows him and his support of each individual player makes them feel “they could take part in the premiership” (Thorpe, 2017). For going above and beyond the call of duty, doing the work of 4 and being a genuinely caring friend to all Sam Morris is more than deserving of the Sports Officer’s Special Prize.
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