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Poppy and Kayleigh Bristol feature

Kayleigh Armstrong (left) and Poppy Leitch (right) representing Bristol Ladies in the Premiership Final

TASS Talent Shines at University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is proud to support local student athletes as part of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), a partnership between talented athletes, educational institutions and national governing bodies (NGB). 

University of Exeter is a nominated TASS delivery site and as such provides core support services including strength and conditioning, performance lifestyle and physiotherapy support as well as offering sports psychology and nutritional support on a needs basis.

This year Exeter has supported TASS athletes from a range of sports including shooting, sailing, windsurfing, women’s rugby, volleyball, wheelchair basketball and disability football, with athletes competing in England age group squads as well as being on Olympic performance pathways.

Women’s Rugby players and University of Exeter current students Poppy Leitch, Cat McNaney and Jeanine Stephenson alongside prospective student Lagi Tuima all represented England U20s in a series of internationals in February and March against the Army and France. Poppy, also named in the England senior squad for 2016-2017 and selected to play for England Academy against Spain in July, captained the side to a 38-15 win against the Army and 2 losses against a strong France side 7-17 and 12-27. Reflecting on the series Poppy commented “It was an honour to be named as captain for the England U20s and I’ve really enjoyed being part of a squad of a fantastic group of girls. Having Exeter so well represented was great and although it was disappointing to lose against France I think we can be proud that we put out some good rugby. TASS, especially physio has been a great support for me this year and helped me overcome injury to be available for England selection”.

Emily Bale has had a fantastic year in rifle shooting and remains number 1 junior in Great Britain for the 3 x 20 event at the end of the season after taking the honours at the English Championships earlier in the year. On the world stage Emily continues working to qualify for the Junior World Cup following her best competition of the year at the International Shooting Competition of Hannover where she finished 26th out of 102 shooters and shot a new personal best in both the prone and air rifle event. She has also secured a place at Cardiff Metropolitan University in September to study Sports Management having completed her BTEC at Exeter College. Emily commented “I’ve really enjoyed being part of the TASS programme at Exeter over the past 2 years and have had the opportunity to attend workshops with other University of Exeter students as well as access the core TASS services”.

Ellie Cranch is now part of the England senior volleyball national squad and represented England against Scotland in May. Despite a strong start in the opening match, taking the 1st set, Scotland came back and won the next 2 sets to take the opening game 3-1. England came out fighting for the 2nd match and levelled the series with a 3-0 win closing out some crucial points in a very tight 1st and 2nd set. With the series down to a decider Scotland put in a strong performance from the off to take the set and win the series. Ellie commented “It was a great experience to have the opportunity to represent England seniors and I’m looking forward to working hard to continue to be involved in England Volleyball at senior level”

In his 1st year at University of Exeter, sailor Dan Budden has been committed to combining training down in Weymouth with studying for a degree in BSC Economics and Finance. He now heads off to Europe in August for a busy summer of sailing to compete in the 49er European Championships in Germany, the 49er European Junior Championships in Spain and the 49er World Championships in Portugal. Looking ahead to the summer season Dan commented “I’ve spent a lot of the year training down in Weymouth and using the TASS support to improve my fitness in the gym. It will be great to test this in the boat in the competitions over the summer”.

Windsurfers Matt Barton and James Hatcher completed the Exeter double at the British Universities Colleges Sport (BUCS) National Windsurfing Championships with Matt taking Gold and James the Silver. Upon graduation this year Matt is continuing with windsurfing full time and will be based at Weymouth on the RYA Talent Pathway in the Podium Potential Pathway Squad. James continues with his 2nd year of his MEng Mechanical Engineering at the University of Exeter while also preparing for the 2017 RS:X World Windsurfing Championships held in Japan in September. Matt commented “Winning BUCS Gold in my final year was a great way to cap off a fantastic 3 years at Exeter. The TASS support, particularly S&C has been invaluable in helping me progress in my windsurfing and I’m really looking forward to committing to it full time”.

We wish all of our TASS athletes the very best for the future in their sporting and academic endeavours and look forward to welcoming our new and continuing athletes for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Date: 11 July 2017