Five faculty students receive prestigious Blues Awards for sport

02 October 2017

Keegan Pitcher is the recipient of para-athlete sportsperson of the year.
Keegan Pitcher (right) is the recipient of para-athlete sportsperson of the year.

Five students of the Faculty of Education and Social Work have received Blues Awards for their outstanding achievements in sport.

At a ceremony held on Friday night, Emma Bavelaar, Hayley Carter, Keegan Pitcher, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson and Samantha Harrison were announced as winners among a selection of top students from other faculties of the University of Auckland.  

While the five students are currently studying in different areas, they were all awarded for their achievements in sport. Keegan Pitcher also took out the major award for para-athlete sportsperson of the year.

Keegan, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Physical Education and holds the New Zealand record for 200m and 400m track says he felt proud to win a blues award in a category he cares so much about.

“I feel honoured and very proud to be winning a Blues Award. When I started my running career just over 12 months ago I never thought I would be capable of progressing so quickly.

“I think sport is important for society, especially in para-sports, as it can make the athlete feel like they fit in and give them something to concentrate on besides their disability. This then shows that just because you have a disability, it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same as someone able-bodied.”

Hayley, who is currently studying the new Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education and represented New Zealand at the 2017 Junior Women's Softball World Championship in Florida was surprised with her win.  

“I feel quite honoured as I didn't think I would get one! One of my lectures told me to apply and so I did. I'm really happy with this as it is my first year here at the University of Auckland.

Hayley believes playing sport offers many benefits. “I think sport is really important as it has so many benefits for your well-being. The social interaction is amazing! I've met my best friends though different sports, while getting fit and being active. Sport gives you so much without you even realising it.”

More information on the winners and their achievements can found below.

 

Faculty of Education and Social Work Blues Awards winners

Name

Which Activity  

Reason for winning

Award Category

Programme they're studying

Emma Bavelaar Underwater Hockey Part of the New Zealand U23 team which placed 1st at the Fourth World Age Group Underwater Hockey Championship in Tasmania. Sports Bachelor of Education (Teaching)
Hayley Carter Softball Represented New Zealand at the 2017 Junior Women's Softball World Championship in Florida. Sports Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education
Keegan Owen Pitcher Para Athletics - Track (T36 classification) Won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m track (T36 classification) at the 2017 Oceania Championships in Fiji. Won bronze in the 400m and 800m track (T36 classification) at the 2017 World Para Athletic Championships in London. Currently holds the New Zealand record in 200m and 400m (T36 classification). Para-athlete sportsperson of the year
Bachelor of Physical Education
Michaela Sokolich - Beatson Netball Captained the New Zealand U21 netball team which won gold at the 2017 Youth World Cup in Botswana. Member of the SKYCITY Mystics netball team. Sports Bachelor of Physical Education
Samantha Harrison Hockey Member of the Black Sticks hockey team which placed 3rd in the World League semi-final, qualifying for the World Cup. Sports Bachelor of Education (Teaching)