Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Sports Academy students among the best in the country

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Students from Hartlepool Sixth Form are among the best in the country after competing in one of the largest student sporting events in the UK and the college’s new partnerships are ensuring that the talented athletes stay at the top of their game.

27 rugby and netball students from Hartlepool Sixth Form’s Elite Sports Academies were chosen to represent the North East region in the annual AoC National Championships after qualifying through a series of regional tournaments.

More than 1,700 students from 131 colleges took part in three days of intense competitions at the 41st annual championships in Nottingham.

Johan Olckers, Head of Rugby at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“We battled with the best in the country and the standard this year was very high. Our players demonstrated professionalism, toughness and talent taking on and beating some powerhouse programmes in the rugby world. The squad were one win away from a medal position and had already beaten the gold medalists in league play.

“The players learned many life lessons including resilience, team work and never giving up.”

The sixth form’s Rugby Union team finished in a respectable fifth position in the Rugby 7’s AoC National Championships after winning six out of nine matches.

18-year-old Sam Wilson from Billingham, who is studying BTEC Level 3 Sport and Exercise Science at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“The National Championships was a great experience and it is good to test ourselves against the best in the country. We are a little disappointed we didn’t win a medal but we showed strength and togetherness all weekend.”

Meanwhile, the sixth form’s Netball Academy upped their game to finish fourth in the country. Danielle Smith, Head of Netball at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“The girls played their best the whole weekend and I couldn’t be any prouder of them. They’ve stepped up and made my first year as Head of Netball an absolute pleasure.”

The Netball Academy currently play in the AoC North East Division 1, the highest league in college sport, and all players receive top coaching and specialist strength and conditioning training.

17-year-old BTEC Sport and Exercise Science, Roisheen O’Callaghan from Hartlepool, said:

“The weekend was challenging but so rewarding. We kept a strong mind and were able to show the country what were really made of. I am proud to be a captain for this team and has ended my time at Hartlepool Sixth Form on a high.” Further demonstrating the high calibre of the sports students at Hartlepool Sixth Form, earlier in the year two of the sixth form’s Netball Academy players were selected for the AoC national netball squad. Maddie Ryder and Libby Skidmore, both 17, were chosen from 70 other girls from colleges across the country, after a rigorous two-day trial. They were the only ones selected from the Tees Valley area. Libby, who is studying A-Levels in Psychology, PE and Sociology at Hartlepool Sixth Form, said:

“When I found out that I’d been selected for the AoC squad, I didn’t believe it at first! Being part of Netball Academy at Hartlepool Sixth Form College gave me the opportunity to trial for the squad and Danielle, our coach, is really supportive on and off the court.”

Ensuring the elite athletes at Hartlepool Sixth Form remain at the top of their game, the TASS Dual Career Accredited college has recently formed a partnership with Northumbria University. The new partnership will provide students with access to top-of-the-range sports performance analysis and nutritional support.

Elite Sports Academy students also receive expert strength and conditioning coaching from CrossFit Hartlepool at their state-of-the-art venue in Havelock Street Hartlepool, thanks to a new partnership with the sixth form.

Sport Academies Co-ordinator at Hartlepool Sixth Form, Ian Hewitt, is looking forward to more sporting success in the future. He commented:

“I am extremely proud of the elite Sports Academies at Hartlepool Sixth Form. They are a huge credit to our coaching staff and the programmes that they run.

“I’m looking forward to see how we perform next year. The new developments and partnerships planned for the 2019/20 season will add value, enable us to train our athletes to the highest level and build on our enviable reputation for sporting success.”

The Sports Academies at Hartlepool Sixth Form enable students with a talent for sport to combine their full-time studies with elite level sport.

For more information about sport at Hartlepool Sixth Form College visit the next open event