Academy Shines on state-wide Stage

Written on the 22 May 2024 by SWSAS

Academy Shines on state-wide Stage


The 2024 Regional Academies of Sport Academy Games, held in Wagga Wagga from April 12 to 14, provided a platform for young athletes to showcase their talents across various sporting disciplines. With over 120 athletes and 25 coaches in attendance, the South West Sydney Academy of Sport emerged as a prominent presence, demonstrating excellence and sportsmanship throughout the event. 

Southern Sports Academy took the helm as hosts of this year's games, orchestrating a seamless experience across six outstanding sporting facilities in Wagga Wagga. Their dedication and passion ensured that the events ran smoothly, allowing athletes to focus on giving their best performances. In the games’ last year in the hands of SSA, we acknowledge the efforts over three years as great hosts and look forward to next year’s games in Tamworth NSW, matched with the Northern Inland Academy of Sport.  

Athletes and coaches were accommodated in two exceptional motels, the Wagga Wagga RSL Motel and the Best Western Ambassador Inn. The comfortable lodging provided a sanctuary for participants to relax and rejuvenate between intense competition schedules, contributing to the overall positive experience of the event. 

Sports Program Manager, Alley Pritchard shared her experience of the weekend. ‘’It is always a delight to witness our athletes showcase their talents, and the recent Academy Games was no exception. The passion and commitment demonstrated by our athletes throughout the three days of competition is truly commendable and serves as an inspiration to all. However, what truly stands out at the Academy Games is the camaraderie and bonds formed off the field. From the lengthy bus rides to the early morning starts, and the camaraderie fostered in our simulated 'athlete village,' our athletes forged lasting memories. They rallied behind each other, cheering on their teammates as they faced tough competition from across New South Wales. I hope our athletes take time to reflect on the experiences Wagga offered them and carry these invaluable lessons into the next stage of their careers, both on and off the field.’’ 

Basketball: The UAA Insurance Basketball teams left a significant impact at the recent tournament, demonstrating remarkable resilience and determination in the face of strong competition. The boys' team fought hard in each game, securing a commendable 9th place in Pool A, showing great improvement and team cohesion throughout the tournament, despite their short stay over the weekend the boys sure left a great impression. Similarly, the girls' team mirrored this success, also finishing 9th in their pool. Their performances were characterised by teamwork and perseverance, setting a strong foundation for future competitions and showcasing the potential for growth and further achievements in upcoming seasons. Their team relationship grew rapidly over the games, noting that success is not just determined by an award.  

Golf: Our Campbelltown Golf Club Golfers were a standout success, marked by individual and team accomplishments that showcased our athletes' growing dominance in the sport. Lucy Bowyer’s victory as the Girls Nett Winner and Priya Singh’s impressive performance as Runner Up highlighted their skill and dedication to the green. The team's 2nd place finish in Division 3 is a testament to the depth and talent present within our academy, reflecting the great culture that Head Coach Scott Martyn and Apprentice Coach Zackie Kadir have constructed over the program year.  

Hockey: The Club Menangle Hockey squad demonstrated immense resilience and sportsmanship. Despite the challenges they faced, the boys' team secured a strong 5th place finish, while the girls' team- bolstered by the support from additional players from the North Coast Academy of Sport, finished 7th. This cooperation not only exemplified the spirit of inter-academy collaboration but also enriched our players' experience and broadened their competitive edge. Our Basketball Girls gave the squad a quick visit on the Sunday, with Hockey athletes taking the lead and giving them an insight into the game.  

Volleyball: Our SVSR Minicrane Hire Volleyball teams continued their streak of triumphs, dominating the courts with the Boys 1 and Girls 1 teams each taking 1st place in their respective competitions. This repeat success for the third consecutive year highlights the effective coaching and athlete dedication at the South West Sydney Academy of Sport. The Boys 2 and Girls 2 teams also showed strong performances, securing 5th and 4th places, respectively. These results underscore the depth of talent within the academy and our consistent focus on developing all our athletes to reach their full potential. Each program carries with them a unique characteristic, and Volleyball sure know how to level up on the court, as well as the supporters stands. With music pumping and chants making their debut, Bolton Park Indoor Stadium could not have been more exciting.  

Netball: The Bingara Gorge Netball teams also showcased their skill and teamwork with impressive finishes in their respective pools. SWSAS 1 took a proud 3rd place in Pool A, while SWSAS 2 finished 8th in Pool B. The Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards to Saige Tautalafua from Pool A and Rowina Mataiti from Pool B highlight the standout performers, reflecting the high level of play and dedication amongst our athletes. Special thanks are also due to our Netball Umpires—Lexi Vardy, Adelaide Bell, and Karlia Warwick—whose expertise and control over the court played a crucial role in facilitating a fair and competitive environment throughout the games.  

Triathlon: Our Simec Tahmoor Coking Coal Triathlon squad, saw every athlete showcase exceptional athleticism and endurance. In the A Final, Joshua Persen secured 5th place, while Zoe Bruce finished 5th in the B Final. The Junior Mixed Team Relay comprising Zoe Bruce, Will Robinson, Halle Potter, and Sam Bayada finished 3rd, while the Youth Team Relay teams secured 5th and 7th places respectively. Throughout the event, several noteworthy occurrences shaped the course of competitions. Races faced a one-hour delay on both days due to the significant variance between cold air and water temperatures. Notably, Alyssa, Phoenix, Matt, and Lachlan all attained their draft legal license this year, allowing them to compete at a higher level. However, an unexpected turn of events unfolded during the heats on Saturday morning, where athletes' times determined their placement in the subsequent afternoon finals. Unfortunately, Lachlan and several other athletes in his heat miscounted their laps, resulting in automatic placement in the C final. Despite this setback, Zoe's team delivered an impressive performance, clinching 3rd place in the Junior Relay on Sunday morning. 

Throughout the Academy Games weekend, coaches Caitlin, Harry, Bodhi, Cody, and Charlotte expressed immense pride in the SWSAS triathlon squad's performances and growth. Caitlin highlighted the squad's focus on skill development and bike ownership, emphasising the athletes' application of these skills during competitive races. Harry, transitioning from athlete to assistant coach, lauded the squad's improvements and resilience in the face of adverse conditions, foreseeing promising futures for the team. Bodhi commended the athletes' collective effort and improvement, particularly noting the success of first-time draft legal racers and seasoned athletes like Zoe and Josh. Cody celebrated the squad's learning opportunities and remarkable results, especially for athletes competing in their first drafting races. Charlotte echoed the sentiment of pride, emphasising the athletes' determination, confidence, and maturity displayed throughout the weekend, both in competition and in supporting their peers across different sports. 

The 2024 Regional Academy Games in Wagga Wagga served as a testament to the talent and dedication of young athletes from the South West Sydney Academy of Sport. Their outstanding performances, coupled with dedicated coaches' support and the host city's hospitality, made this event memorable and rewarding for all involved. Congratulations to SWSAS and all participating athletes for their achievements and sportsmanship at this prestigious event. 

Following three years at Wagga Wagga, we now look ahead to April 2025, with the Northern Inland Academy of Sport winning the rights to host the 2025, 2026 and 2027 editions of the Regional Academy Games in Tamworth. 




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