November 26 2019; Liam Petterson
For only the second time ever, the Outstanding Sporting Achievement of the Year Award at the annual Blues and Sport Awards was shared between two student-athletes.
Catriona Bisset (Master of Architecture and Diploma of Languages) and Jaryd Clifford (Bachelor of Arts) were among 171 University student-athletes recognised for their 2019 sporting achievements at the Blues and Sport Awards.
Both are also among a strong contingent of University of Melbourne student-athletes vying for spots on the 2020 Australian Olympic and Paralympic Teams.
Catriona Bisset had a remarkable 2019, rising from relative unknown to become the fastest-ever Australian woman in the 800m. The Architecture student ran 1:58:78 to win a silver medal and set the national record while representing Australia in the IAAF Diamond League in London. She bagged gold medals in the 800m at the World University Games in Italy, Nationals Div 1 on the Gold Coast, and at both the Australian and Oceania Athletics Championships.
Jaryd Clifford shaved 0.11 seconds off his own world record when he ran the 1500m (T13) in 3:47.78 to win gold at the World Para Athletics Championships in Doha. He then became a dual-world champion after winning the 5000m (T13) just days later. His November gold-rush came off the back of an impressive run of form, where he consistently ranked in the top-10 of able-bodied runners in Australia despite his vision impairment.
Sport Performance Coordinator Tom Lutwyche believed the tie was justified.
“The awards committee could not split the achievements of Jaryd and Catriona, both were of a world class nature this year,” he said.
“It takes considerable dedication when trying to balance study with high-performance sport, and Jaryd and Catriona are both excellent examples of how to manage this.”
Blues awards were presented to 122 student-athletes based on their performances representing the University, while 64 student-athletes received an International Representation award in recognition of their selection on the international stage.
Alumnus and 6-time Full Blue recipient Dr Mitch Anderson (Cycling) delivered an inspiring keynote speech recounting his time at the University while also revealing his love of testing the limits of the human body and mind. Dr Anderson broke the 12 and 24-hour cycling records and has completed 30 Iron Man triathlons, as well as having graduated from four degrees across 14 years of study at the University of Melbourne.
Provost Mark Considine presented Blues recipients with their awards, followed by Professor Emeritus James Angus who presented the International Representation awards and major awards.
Both University Sport Captains, Alice Wu (Bachelor of Commerce) and Noam Tidhar (Master of Engineering), received full blues for their gold-medal winning performances in badminton and judo respectively.
See here for all our award winners, and see below for our major awards which recognise outstanding performances by student-athletes, officials and teams representing the University in 2019:
Outstanding Sporting Achievement of the Year
Joint winners: Catriona Bisset (Master of Architecture and Diploma of Languages) and Jaryd Clifford (Bachelor of Arts)
Jaryd Clifford set the world record and won gold in the T13 1500m at the World Para Athletics Championships in Doha in November. He then capped off an outstanding year by winning the 5000m at the same event.
Catriona Bisset ran 1:58:78 to win a silver medal and break the 43-year-old women’s 800m national record while representing Australia in the IAAF Diamond League in London.
Catriona Bisset (Athletics), Jemima Montag (Athletics), Phoebe Georgakas (Rowing), Sam Williamson (Swimming), Bradley Chick (Football), Jaryd Clifford (Athletics)
Female Athlete of the Year
Catriona Bisset (Master of Architecture and Diploma of Languages)
Catriona broke the 2-minute barrier in winning gold at University Nationals Div 1, breaking the UniSport record by over 8 seconds, while also storming to victory at the World University Games in Italy.
Her remarkable year also featured gold medals at both the Australian and Oceania Athletics Championships, on top of claiming the national record for the women’s 800m which had stood for 43 years.
Outside of her pet event the 800m, she was also part of the gold medal winning 4x400m team at Nationals Div 1 and scored a silver medal in the mixed 2x400m event at the World Relays in Japan.
Catriona Bisset (Athletics), Alice Wu (Badminton), Annie Devereaux (Fencing), Jordan Cransberg (Basketball and Netball)
Male Athlete of the Year
Robbie Morrison (Bachelor of Agriculture)
Robbie was the premier male skier at Nationals Snow. Ahead of multiple international level skiers, Robbie won a Gold Medal in the Alpine Super G, a silver in the Alpine Giant Slalom (missing Gold by less than 1 second) and then he blew the field away in his pet event the Ski Cross.
Noam Tidhar (Judo), Robbie Morrison (Skiing), Shawn Ingle (Rugby), Jose Martinez-Rebollar (Volleyball)
Team of the Year
Women’s Touch Football
The women’s touch football team went undefeated throughout the tournament, boasting an average winning margin of 7 touch downs per game during the pool matches, before bringing home the gold medal with a score of 6-3 over a strong Griffith team.
This was despite losing two key players to injury in the week before the competition, which tested the team’s depth and balance.
Touch Football isn’t a mainstream sport in Victoria, which is what makes their Gold Medal even more remarkable. The team was the first from a university outside the stronghold states of New South Wales and Queensland to win a touch football National Championship in the history of Uni Nationals or Uni Games.
Women’s Badminton, Men’s Fencing, Women’s Fencing, Women’s Touch Football, Men’s Volleyball, Women’s Table Tennis, Women’s Australian Rules
Coach of the Year
Grantley Bernard (Women's Basketball)
In balancing an under-strength women’s basketball team, Grantley was able to achieve some key results as the team earned a silver medal at Div 2 and promotion to Div 1. Injuries to players pre-and-during the Div 1 tournament did not derail the team as Grantley was able to steer them through to an unexpected Gold Medal game, narrowly falling short of a National Championship.
Grantley had high expectations of his players, and contributed significant time and energy in recruiting and training the side, keeping a professional approach throughout.
Junaid Hossein (Tennis), Grantley Bernard (Basketball), Karen Meredith (Netball), Tim Heathcote (Touch Football), Kira Price and Martha Cantwell (Australian Rules)
Team Manager of the Year
Alice Wu (Bachelor of Commerce)
In addition to leading the badminton squad to a win over Monash in the Big Blue, Alice organised comprehensive trials, training plans, on and off-court sessions, and fundraising for the badminton contingent.
She also arranged an alumnus and Commonwealth Games athlete to give the squad a pre-departure talk, which paid off with the women’s team winning the National Championship.
Alice showed wonderful initiative, was an excellent communicator, and represented the University with pride and a big smile on her face.
Alice Wu (Badminton), Femke Russell (Australian Rules), Jasper Maccuspie (Fencing), Nathan Van Der Heiden (Table Tennis)