New Year, new Varsity series

3 male cross country runners

Leeds Varsity is back. Our 9th annual Cross Country Varsity kick started the 2018 series and saw each university claim a point in the race for the title.

Each January we take on local rivals Leeds Beckett in our first Varsity event of the year. With two separate races, a 9.5km male race, and a 6.2km female race, there are a total of 2 points up for grabs. Over the years the event has seen some impressive names compete for those all-important Varsity points; Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Gordon Benson, Non Stanford and Tom Bishop to name a few.

Women's cross country team gather for team photo in a field

Similar to parkrun Varsity, students, staff, alumni and members of the public are welcomed to take part in this event with the top six female  and top twelve male students then gaining points for their respective universities.

This year it was Leeds Beckett (LBU) Women who came out on top in the first race of the day. Helen Warburton of LBU crossed the line in first postion, closely followed by Beth Garland from UoL Cross Country.

Over in the men’s event it was the Leeds Gryphons who claimed the overall men’s title with Sam Dickinson, Josh Woodcock-Shaw and Nathan Marsh taking 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions respectively, however Alex Lee of LBU secured the top spot.

 

The University of Leeds Cross Country coach, Greg Hull said:

“It’s always great to kick-off the Varsity series with the cross country races, seeing not just our students, but staff and members of the public taking part in an inevitably great event. Both teams put in a fantastic effort on the day and the women weren’t far away from making it a 2 point lead. Thanks to everyone who ran, set up the course, the officials and spectators for braving the cold winds and mud to help us put on a great event and also raise £190 for Hope Pastures Charity

Well done to everyone who was involved in the day. Head to the Varsity website or follow the Varsity Facebook and Twitter to find out more about the series. Up next will be American Football Varsity so keep a look out for more information.

Tackle mental health at Mantality retreat

American football and rugby league players together in a line

Mental Health is a continued hot topic at the University of Leeds recently, with Rugby League and American Football clubs leading on a mental health campaign “Talking Tackles It”.

In a continued effort to help raise awareness and opportunity to discuss this topic, Leeds Sport has worked alongside Leeds Rhinos player Stevie Ward to offer a rare opportunity for a handful of male students. Although best known for his performances on the pitch, off the pitch he works to promote greater discussion around the issue of male mental health through his online platform Mantality.

Taking the online platform a step further Mantality has now put together its first retreat alongside high performance coach Craig White.

 

Logo for new mantality
   

The retreat will be held at Weetwood Hall, starting on Friday the 26th Jan at 8:30am and finish at 7pm on Sunday the 28th Jan.

In this 3-Day Retreat, we will be creating the perfect environment for you to finally step into your power as a man. We will be sharing knowledge, experience, insight, and tools to enable you to cut free from your limiting beliefs, cultivate more presence in your life, and move forwards into a life fuelled with passion, a life on your own terms, a life you really want.

 

How to Apply

There are five spaces available on the retreat for University of Leeds students which have been funded by The Footsteps Fund. Those wishing to apply are asked to express their interest in an email to Eamonn Laird at e.h.laird@leeds.ac.uk as soon as possible. Questions to consider include:

What is your motivation for going on the retreat?

Why do you feel attending will benefit you?

How do you think you will be able to take what you learn and impact those around you in a positive way?

For any other information please contact Eamonn Laird on the address above.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fight their way to bronze at UKBJJA

Martial Arts

Brazillian Jiu Jitsu took bronze at their first competition of the year with five gold, three silver and two bronze individual placings.

On the 25th November, the Brazillian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) society competed in a UK Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association (UKBJJA) competition at Warwick University. BJJ is a grappling combat sport where competitors aim to control and then submit each other. Matches start from the feet with both competitors aiming to takedown, control and submit their opponent on the floor. Matches run for a minimum of five minutes and can only end earlier if one competitor manages to make the other tap/submit- whether this be through a joint lock or choke. Submissions are positions in which an opponent is forced to tap/submit otherwise could suffer a bone breakage or passing out unconscious. Otherwise, a point’s decision will be given to the competitor who won more advantageous and controlling positions.

The UKBJJA are a national organisation that put together BJJ Competitions for Universities to stake their claim as the best Brazillian Jiu Jitsu society in the UK. Last weekend was our first competition of this academic year and University of Leeds successfully came third out of all the universities that competed.

Divisions are separated by weight and experience. There are beginner (up to two years), intermediate (up to three years) and advanced (plus three years). All matches are either gi or no gi. In gi matches, competitors are required to wear a gi (martial arts suit that looks like pyjamas) which has a larger focus on grips. No gi events are faster moving. Matches are set up in a tournament scenario, where competitors will need to have up to five matches to take gold.

All together the University of Leeds took 5 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 2 bronze, with medals coming from the intermediate and beginner divisions. Everyone who competed fought their hearts out, with some of our competitors having to pull out of their brackets due to injury.

The medal winners included Nathan Wanjau, who in only his second competition won three gold medals, one in the beginner no gi category, another in the beginner gi category and his third in the beginner Absolute Openweight division in which he had to fight opponents of any and all sizes. Alannah Russell took gold in her weight categroy and bronze in the Absolute Openweight female division. Chinyere ‘Lily’ Chilliredclaw Wokocha also claimed gold in the beginner Absolute Openweight no gi women’s division, alongside silver and bronze in gi women’s division. Finally, Sean Maguiness competed in the Intermediate division and came away with double silver in both gi and no gi under 69kg division.

If you’d like to find out more about the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu society here at Leeds, please visit their page or head to their Facebook group

Gryphons Crowned Women’s Dry-Slope Champions

For the first time in recent history, University of Leeds Snowriders were announced as this years Women’s British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Dry Slope Champions with stand out performances from Sports Scholar Gillian Finnerty and team mate Jenny Davies.

In the women’s snowboard event, Finnerty retained her gold medal title in the big air competition, with a huge 180° to seal the win. She then took a second gold in the slopestyle for an impressive 4th year running. In the Snowboard Cross (SBX) and Giant Slalom (GS), Finnerty picked up two silvers, missing out in the GS by just 0.2 seconds. Fellow Leeds Gryphon Lucy Wyatt made a great first impression claiming 18th in the GS in her first ever snowboarding competition. Finally the team picked up 4th in the team duals having been knocked out in the semi finals by eventual winners Loughborough.

Over in the men’s event, snowboarder and freestyle captain Oliver Chapman was impressive on the jump in the big air event but narrowly missed out on the finals after falling on his 540° attempt in the semis.

In the women’s ski event it was Jenny Davies who shone claiming two golds in the ski slalom and again in the ski giant slalom. Last year Davies was on track for first position but ended up straddling a gate in her second run so this year she was back with a vengeance and put a big distance between herself and second place to claim the gold she deserved.

As for the men’s ski event, Chris Guest put in a good display finishing 33rd in Ski Slalom and 49th in Ski GS. President and freestyle skier James Hough was performing well in the big air but the incredibly high standard of the group prevented him reaching the top eight to go through to the finals. It was Team GB athletes who claimed first and second in men’s ski disciplines. Click here for a list of full results from the weekend.

A huge congratulations to Gillian, Jenny and the rest of the team who headed to BUCS dry slope. Looking forward to seeing your achievements in the rest of the season!

Gryphons Unite to Tackle Mental Health

American football and rugby league players together in a line

Thank you to Mark Webster for donating his time for photography: www.markwebsterphotography.com

In light of men’s mental health awareness the University of Leeds Rugby League and American Football clubs have teamed up to raise money for the James Burke Foundation and CALM. Both charities work to raise awareness of male mental health and provide support services, with the James Burke Foundation being set up in memory of a University of Leeds student.

“In April of this year we lost a teammate named James Burke to suicide. This affected not only the club but everyone who knew him. We wanted to do something to make a difference and raise awareness of mental health to make sure this never affected another club in our university again. After speaking to American Football we found out they were in a similar situation so with both clubs having been affected by mental health and suicide we decided to pull together and make a collective effort to change the stigma that comes with mental health.

We want to encourage both men and women to speak out and know that its ok, to not be ok”

Andrew Marks, Rugby League

Kyle, who was a teammate of James has written a blog about what happened and you can read it on our Leeds Sport blog.

You can support the clubs throughout November to help raise funds and awareness of mental health by getting involved in one of the many exciting events:

  • Clean Shave

    Whats in store?

    To kick off the month of events the guys from Boris&Co are coming to University Square in LUU (opposite Santander) to give out free cutthroat shaves from a professional barber (worth £25).

    So if you’re planning to do Movember, or just haven’t had a shave for a while then come along and get a clean shave and throw a few coins into the donation buckets to support the mental health charities.

    ———————
    Where? Opposite Santander, LUU
    When? 1st November, 10am – 4pm, drop in whenever
    Cost? Throw a few coins into the buckets to support the charities Boris &Co logo

  • Pizza & Pool

    Whats in store?
    Come and enjoy some free pizza and pool in the Loft (above Blackwells, opposite the Parkinson Building). it’s a great place to chill out with some mates and have a chat.

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    Where? The Loft, above Blackwells, opposite the Parkinson Building
    When? Fridays in November 2-4pm
    Cost? Free

  • Move for Mental Health - 4th November, 9am

    Whats in store?
    Support the American Football and Rugby League clubs by getting involved in the Woodhouse Moor parkrun with them. This free fun 5k run (or walk) is a great way to start your weekend!

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    Where? Woodhouse Moor, Red Boots Statue opposite the Business School
    When? 4th November, 9am
    Cost? Free

  • Birthday Game

    Whats in store?
    Come and watch the University of Leeds Rugby League Club take on Leeds Beckett in this Varsity re-match at Bodington Playing Fields. Taking place on the birthday of James Burke there will be a minutes pause before the match in his memory.

    Our University cheerleaders will also be at the match with a half time routine and following the game there will be a post match party at Pyramid in LUU, details below.

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    Where? Sports Park Weetwood
    When? 8th November, 2pm KO
    Cost? Free

  • Pyramid Party

    Whats in store?

    Drinks, a raffle, and a player pledge auction to help raise money for both of the amazing causes that support men’s mental health awareness.
    As if that wasn’t enough, freestyle dance will be performing and the cocktails that each of these teams has designed; Cool Rummings and Pornstashe Martini will be on sale at the event and throughout the whole month of November, with a pound of each cocktail sold going to the charities. Non alcoholic drinks will also be available at the bar.
    This is the perfect place to start your Wednesday night and support these mental health charities.


  • Yorkshire Carnegie v Bristol

    Whats in store?

    Get down to Headingley to see Yorkshire Carnegie take on Bristol on Friday 17th November. As well as the rugby, there will be live music from Hyde Park Brass Band ahead of the game and at half time. Plus you’ll spot the boys bucket shaking around the ground raising money for our two fantastic causes. If you see them, throw a few pennies their way!


  • Movie Night

    Whats in store?
    Come and enjoy a film in the comfort of LUU, there’ll even be popcorn! American Football have chosen The Longest Yard, and Rugby League have chosen Cool Runnings. We’ll be heading to twitter to vote for the one you’d like to watch so check out @leeds_sport on Monday to get your votes in.

    ———————
    Where? Pyramid Theatre
    When? Friday 24th November, Bar Open 6pm, Film Starts 6.30pm
    Cost? Pay as you feel

  • Movember Fruity

    Whats in store?
    Everyone’s favourite Friday night out will have a Movember twist! The American Football and Rugby League club will be there with donation buckets so make sure you drop in a few coins to support the charities and get yourself to Terrace for some pre-fruity cocktails made by the clubs; Cool Rummings and Pornstache Martini. A pound from these goes towards the charities.

    ———————
    Where? Terrace and Stylus, LUU
    When? 24th November, 7pm
    Cost? £4.50 for Fruity and make sure you throw a few coins into the buckets to support the charities

If you would like to donate to the charities then you can give as much or as little as you like online below.

Check out everything that’s happening by following Leeds Sport and the Clubs on social media…

3 points away from Varsity History

Cheer leaders holding up UNI signs

Into its 13th year of the competition, Leeds Varsity 2017 was as competitive as in recent years, resulting in the Gryphon’s narrowly missing out with an overall score of 32 – 29 to Leeds Beckett University. The score reflects the closing of the gap between the two where just one or two fixtures could have clinched it for the University of Leeds.

Leeds Varsity, the ultimate university sporting competition see’s University of Leeds take on local rivals Leeds Beckett in a calendar of fixtures beginning in January and finishing with a grand finale in October. The October events kick started on the Saturday with parkrun Varsity in which 177 students, staff and alumni got out of bed at 9am to represent UoL and claim an easy victory over rivals Beckett who only managed a mere 36.

Following last year’s successful introduction, Varsity Netball returned with well over 300 spectators who cheered the University of Leeds as they took on the Beckett side who currently play in the BUCS league above. Despite a highly competitive game, Beckett came out on top to win the game 38-29.

2017 saw the introduction of another new Tuesday night event; Varsity Hockey where both the Men and Women’s first teams took to Sports Park Weetwood to battle it out for two all important Varsity points. With close results in both it was Beckett who claimed both points with the men winning 1-0 after a goal in the last five minutes. In the women’s game, the final score finished 3-1 to Beckett despite an impressive drag flick converted by the University of Leeds’ Katie Hopkisson.

The finale Wednesday was packed with intense competition and both universities battled hard against each other throughout the day. The Gryphon’s started the day off trailing 8-2 so had to work hard to try pull some points back. They dominated in the pool, effortlessly winning both the Men and Women’s Swimming gala and securing victories in both Men & Women’s Waterpolo making them undefeated for the 8th year running.

There was fierce competition elsewhere at The Edge with the University hosting the Basketball and Korfball. After some hard battled fixtures, the University came out on top in the Korfball with an impressive 13 – 4 victory. However, Beckett did the triple in the Basketball with victories in all three fixtures.

Indoor rowing, usually a certain victory for the Gryphons, ended up being voided as a fixture due to Beckett racing rowers in incorrect categories.

Over at the Gryphon Centre, the home teams took easy victories in the squash with 4-0 and 5-0 victories. It was a different story in the handball though, with Beckett securing wins in both the men and women’s games.

Meanwhile up at Sports Park Weetwood, it was evenly match in the women’s football with the Gryphons 3rd team taking a 2-1 victory, the 2nd team just missing out as a result of penalties, and the 1st team losing 2-1. In a dramatic extra time finish, the Women’s Lacrosse team edged the victory over their rivals 6-5. A comfortable win in both Men’s Hockey games added two points to the Gryphons tally.

Down the road at Beckett, the university netball teams put in a sterling performance with wins from the 3rd and 4th teams with the 2’s only just missing out 35-33. Beckett used the home turf advantage with a white wash of victories in all 6 tennis matches for the second year in a row. Playing away didn’t deter volleyball with 3-0 wins in both men and women’s fixtures.

The Varsity day culminated with the men’s rugby union finale at Headingley Carnegie Stadium. In an unusual year with the crowds separated behind the goal posts, the overall scores were nail bitingly close leaving the rugby union side going out on to the field trying to reduce the gap to just a single point. The boys put in a valiant effort but it was a physical, league above, Beckett side who pulled away with a 29 – 8 victory.

Claiming that final Varsity point settled the scores at 32 – 29. Congratulations to Leeds Beckett University for their overall victory and well done to all players, coaches, volunteers, staff and spectators for the huge commitment and dedication to Leeds Varsity 2017. Thank you also to RAG for raising an impressive £362 for a fantastic cause, State of Mind, and to our student media societies for their coverage of the game.

A full list of the results can be found here, and keep an eye out on our social media channels for photo’s and videos from the day.

 

Varsity Hockey Comes to University of Leeds

male hockey player dribbling the ball ready to be tackled by male opponent

Leeds Varsity are excited to announce a brand new event in the 2017 series. Varsity Hockey will see the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University battle it out for two Varsity points on the Tuesday evening the night before Wednesday’s Big Finale.

With both the women and men’s teams taking to the field, the event is set to be an evening of fierce competition. Given the clubs are two of our largest sports societies, the atmosphere is set to be electric. Even if you’re not familiar with the game, there will be commentary to keep you informed on the game and more importantly, the score.

To keep you entertained, there will be performances from LUU’s Freestyle Dance and Leeds Beckett Dancers on the night. Refreshments will be available from Dodsons catch Fish & Chips, our exclusive caterers for the evening, and drinks will be available from the view bar.

When? Tuesday 3rd October. Gates open 6pm. Women’s 1st XI pb 6.45pm, Men’s 1st XI pb 8pm.

Where? Sports Park Weetwood. Limited parking is available on a first come first served basis or the venue can be easily accessed by the number 1 or 6 bus from outside Parkinson steps for just £1 with your student card.

How much? FREE

If that’s not enough to convince you, hear from the club captain of the women’s hockey club herself, Molly Bret:

“We are extremely excited to be hosting the new hockey opener event this year! With all the hard work gone into planning the event we are sure it’s going to be a great evening and it would be great to see as many people there as possible. So please wear your uni colours, show your support and we will do our very best to grab hold of that much desired varsity point!”

To find out more about other Varsity events, head to the official Varsity Website or head to the Leeds Varsity social media channels; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Leeds Alumna Five-Time World Champion

Laura anderson competing at the aikido world championships

University of Leeds Alumna Laura Anderson (Dentistry, 2010) has this weekend become undisputed Aikido World Champion. Laura won her 5th world individual title while competing in Akita, Japan, a feat never before achieved in the history of the sport.

Laura began her Aikido career at the age of 12 at Wharfedale Aikido Club in Ilkley, as an active child Laura jumped at the chance to try a new sport and has never looked back.

Laura began her Dentistry degree at The University of Leeds in 2005 and was awarded an Elite Sport Scholarship to help support her in training and competing at an elite level alongside studying for a world class degree. She was also a member of the Women’s Hockey Club during her time at Leeds.

Laura anderson competing at the aikido world championships

In 2011 Laura won her first individual world title in London, followed by two more in Japan (2013) and Australia (2015). This put Laura in the record books as no competitor had ever won 3 world titles in the history of the sport.

This year the first World Sport Aikido Federation (WSAF) world championships took place in London. The WSAF is a world governing body for Aikido and has been set up to provide a platform for open and fair competition with a goal to encourage the amalgamation of all international competition. At this competition Laura won her 4th individual world title along with a mixed team gold and women’s team silver.

Just two weeks following this competition, to ensure Laura was undisputed champion of the world she travelled with the British Team to Akita, Japan to compete in the World Championships hosted by the Japanese Aikido Association (JAA). The majority of competitors at this event hadn’t competed in London as they have an affiliation to the JAA.

Laura ANderson receiving her gold medal

Laura made her way through the preliminaries and into the final where she won her 5th individual title and was crowned undisputed champion of the world. Laura remains the only person in the history of the sport to win more than two individual world titles, so to win five is an incredible feat.

 

 

 

In her career Laura has won 11 gold medals in total including a number of mixed and women’s team medals. A full list can be seen below;

Year  Location Event Medal
2011 London, UK Individual Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2013 Kawasaki, Japan Individual Gold
Women’s Team Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2015 Gold Coast, Australia Individual Gold
Women’s Team Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2017 London, UK Individual Gold
Mixed Team Gold
Women’s Team Silver
Akita, Japan Individual Gold

 

If you would like to try Aikido then get in touch with the University of Leeds Aikido Club or contact Leeds Central Aikido Club.

Leeds Varsity parkrun, be a part of the series

Leeds Varsity are excited to announce that following last years success, Varsity parkrun is back for 2017.

If you’ve always wanted to be involved with the greatest sporting event in the university calendar, you can! So how does it work?

Each runner and volunteer will score a point for their University, the University with the most points wins parkrun Varsity.

When? Saturday 30th September, 8.30am

Where? Woodhouse Moor

How? Register with parkrun then simply turn up on the Saturday morning wearing your University colours to take part. Staff, students and alumni are welcome. parkrun is a 5km run which you can take as slow or as fast as you like. If you are keen to get involved but can’t run, don’t worry, you can volunteer for your University and you’ll still count towards your universities total. There will be 3 funnels after you’ve finished, you simply need to make your way down the funnel allocated to your University and hand in your token.

Who wins? You will only score a point for your university if you register and wear your University colours. The University with the most participants (runners and volunteers) will be the parkrun Varsity champions!

Helpful Information for on the day

  • Register beforehand
  • Print off and bring your barcode
  • Leave bags and coats at the finish line not the start line
  • Get to the start line for 8:50am
  • Please listen carefully during the run briefing
  • It’s a run not a race, you’re an ambassador for your university. Please be considerate to other runners and park users
  • Wear your university’s colours, GREEN for Uni, PURPLE for Beckett.
  • Try to seed yourself on how fast you think you’ll be able to complete the run
  • Cross the finish line the third time it comes into sight
  • After crossing the finish line stay in order until given a finish token
  • Get your barcode and finish token scanned at your University-specific scanning station

Dream Test Debut for Alumni Toby Roland-Jones

cricket pitch at the university of leeds

University of Leeds alumni, Toby Roland-Jones, called up to the England cricket side for their latest test against South Africa, had his dream debut taking four wickets and scoring 25 runs with the bat.

Middlesex medium paced bowler, Toby Roland-Jones took an impressive four wickets in his opening 33 balls in his first Test cricket match. Within just six overs he had balanced the match heavily in England’s favour, who in the first innings set a score to chase of 353.

The wickets fell in close succession with South Africa’s Elgar caught behind off an edge followed by an LBW (leg before wicket) to send Kuhn back to the changing rooms. Amla, a triple centurion the last time he played a Test match at The Oval, was the third to fall at the hands of Roland-Jones, giving a simple catch to Jonny Bairstow. The fourth and final wicket came from another catch behind as Quinton de Kock sent the ball straight in to the hands of gully, leaving the South African innings was in tatters.

In an exceptional start to his international career, Roland-Jones not only performed with the ball, but also scored 25 runs in as many balls, including a 6, showing his true impact as a player.

Whilst at the University, Toby Roland-Jones played for the Leeds Bradford MCCU side which supports talented cricketers through their time at university.

Head of Sport Suzanne Glavin said:

“It’s fantastic to see another university alumni achieving so highly in the World of Sport. Congratulations to Toby on his incredible debut, we wish you plenty more success for the future and will certainly be keeping our eyes on your successes.”

To find out more about cricket at the University of Leeds and how you can get involved, head to our clubs page here.