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Celebrating an outstanding year of sport at Cardiff and Vale College

Photo shows (l-r) Netball Academy Captain Cira Griffiths, Football Academy Captain Willbrainer de Sousa, Basketball Academy Co-captain Trystan Mciver, Men’s Rugby Academy Captain Luke Jones and Women’s Rugby Academy Captain Megan Hunt

Cardiff and Vale College’s Sports Academies have celebrated their best-ever season at the CAVC 2024 Sport Awards.

The 2023-24 academic year has been an exceptional year for the CAVC Sports Academies. The number of learners involved in the sports academies is continuing to increase, the amount of silverware won has made this the College’s most successful sporting year ever, and the number of learners achieving regional and national honours is truly outstanding.

The Basketball Academy won five championships, including making history by becoming the first Welsh team to win the Association of Colleges Sports Championship in its 44-year history, and a league promotion. The Basketball Academy also won the third consecutive Welsh Colleges Championship and the College Basketball League South Conference.

The Academy also qualified for the CBL promotional playoffs, beating London Riverside in the play-off final to earn promotion to the top flight of the college basketball league. It also won the inaugural 3×3 Collegiate Championship. The Basketball Academy 3rd team also won the AOC Welsh League its third consecutive time winning this league.

Basketball Academy players Luca Basini James, Panos Nikolaidis, Onanefe Atufe, Jabba Macaraig, Josephe Jennings, Francesco Barberis and Mia Morgan represented Wales at U17 level, while Trystan Maciver and Paddy Whitestone played for Wales at U19 level. Onanefe Atufe also represented Great Britain at U18 level.

The 2023 to 2024 season has been CAVC Football Academy’s most successful so far.

The Men’s First Team were competing within their second season in the highest possible league in the UK, after what was a strong learning curve in Year 1. The Category One Men’s First Team defied all odds by winning the ECFA Premier League title.

This success followed becoming Welsh 7-a-Side Champions earlier on in the year, allowing the teams to compete in the National Championships up in Nottingham. The Men’s First Team also got to the Welsh Cup semi-final in Newtown and the National ECFA Cup quarter-finals, with over 100 colleges competing in this competition.

The Category 3/Development Team were also league champions, winning the Regional League undefeated, and also reaching the Regional Cup final – finishing runners-up.

The Women’s Team competed in the Welsh Championship 7-a-Side tournament and gave a good account of themselves by getting into the quarter-finals.

Football Academy players Finn Roberts, Will de Sousa, and Josh Stephens also for Welsh Schools or Welsh Colleges this season.

The CAVC Women’s Rugby Academy came second in the pilot WSC Women’s Competition East Group, and had a strong showing at the Rosslyn Park 7s tour in London, winning three out of four pool games and narrowly missing out on progressing due to points difference. The players also reached the finals of the Urdd 7s Competition.

Player Katie Sims was called up to the Welsh Rugby Pathway player group based at the East Wales Player Development Centre. Meanwhile, Niamh Padmore, Madeleine Jones,Rhoswen James, Lara Young, Lili Corrihons, Riley Stanger, Grace Sexton, Neave Rudkin,Megan Hunt, Elodie O’Carrol and Rya Caveill all played for Cardiff Rugby in their age grade.

The Men’s Rugby Academy also had an exceptional year. The First Team reached the semi-finals in the Conference A Cup and finished 4th in the Welsh Schools and Colleges League. The Academy were also chosen to represent Wales in the World Schools Festival in Thailand – a prestigious tournament in which they performed fantastically alongside leading rugby schools from across the world, including two top South African teams.

The Development Team just missed out on the Development League final with a toss of a coin to choose the winners over a draw game with Gower College. After Christmas, the Development Team were unbeaten and became the first college to win the Welsh Schools and Colleges Development Cup with a comfortable win over Gwent college.

Lewis Jones, Callum Donoghue-Proud, Luke Jones, Luke Caple, Tom Hughes, Fin Hart,Ben Bora and Ellis Richards all played for Cardiff Rugby U18s, while Matthew Culverhouse represented Bristol Bears in the Premiership U18s Academy League.

The CAVC Netball Academy has had a successful season in the college league – with the squad growing in numbers and the players competing hard all year, more than earning their place back in the league. Although they have had a few defeats along the way, the Netball Academy ended strong with a big win at home.

 The Netball Academy also competed in both the Urdd and Welsh Colleges, where they topped the pool in both and moved on to compete for the cup. Unfortunately, the team was narrowly beaten in the quarter-finals of both competitions, but to reach this level and compete against very well established teams is testament to the hard work and dedication the players have shown all season.

At the awards, David Williams won the award for Non-Academy Elite and Performance Student of the Year. David is the 2024 University Taekwondo World Champion in the under-72kg category. He has also won the British Championships twice, as well as winning the English and Welsh Championships on various occasions.

David has achieved all of this while completing the Level 1 and Level 2 Sports courses and is now just about to successfully complete the Extended Diploma in Sport course. Next year David will go on to Aberystwyth University.

Overall Student Athlete of the Year went to Basketball Academy Co-captain Lance Macaraig.

Lance has excelled at, for and on behalf of the College, over the course of the 2023 to 2024 academic year and basketball season. He has consistently shown an outstanding commitment to his studies and is an active member of the Scholars’ Programme. Lance also combined his passions for maths and basketball through his extended project: evaluating representation of minorities in sport, which included varied data and statistical analysis.

Cardiff and Vale College Principal Sharon James-Evans said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to our award winners and all of our Sport Academy players. The hard work and dedication that you have all put in this year to balance your study with your commitment to training and participating to your very best in your chosen sport, should be applauded and you’ve made us all very proud.

“I’d also like to thank and congratulate all of the fantastic academy coaching teams and wider College staff who have supported our players throughout the year.”

The CAVC Sport Academies are made up of students from across the College who are studying a range of vocational and academic courses. They provide a supportive and specialist environment that combines first-class coaching and sports facilities with the College’s wide portfolio of courses. Players can progress in their sporting careers while studying at the College and prepare for a future outside of sport as well.