Updated: Mar 22
Photo credit: RMIT Sports
Perhaps the highlight of the university sporting calendar is the UniSport Division 1 Nationals. This event is fast approaching, with 175 student-athletes from RMIT set to jet off to the Gold Coast on the 29th of September. RMIT is fielding 17 teams in sports ranging from AFL to golf to volleyball. The Div 1 Nationals run until the 3rd of October.
This is the second year of UniSport’s revamped event structure. To create a more professional sporting championship, the traditional Southern UniGames and Australian UniGames were replaced by the new Div 1 and Div 2 Nationals events for 2018. Teams have to be successful at Div 2 to qualify for Div 1 and have to maintain their success to retain their ranking in the top division.
In the lead up to Nationals, April Austen will be speaking to a number of RMIT’s teams to hear their expectations for the event and find out why they want to get involved in uni sport.
One of RMIT’s exciting prospects for success at Nationals is the men’s indoor volleyball team.
The team finished second at Div 2 Nationals last year to qualify for this year’s Division 1 event.
“This is the first time in a long time that RMIT has had an indoor volleyball team represented at the Division 1 Nationals, or Australian UniGames in the old format. It will be exciting to play against the best of the best,” team manager Adam De Bono said.
“Even though it’s a very tough competition, I’m expecting us to do pretty well. We’re striving for a medal.”
Adam is studying a Bachelor of Health, Physical Education and Sport (Secondary) and this will be his third time representing RMIT at the games.
Last year, Adam suffered a serious knee injury. This will be his comeback event.
“Nationals will be the first competition I have played since having a knee reconstruction last October. This has always been my end-goal for rehab. I’ve been waiting and looking forward to this competition for the last six months,” Adam said.
Photo credit: RMIT Sports
“Our team is a really exciting, great bunch of guys on and off the court. It should be a lot of fun. We all get along really well already.”
The nine-man team features six players from the silver medal team of last year. Most of them know each other outside of uni, with four of them playing in the top division of the Victorian Volleyball League and the other five in reserves.
Friendship is one of the biggest drawcards for getting involved in university sport, as it is a great way for students to meet people they have something in common with outside of their course.
Adam agreed that he had made “life-long friends” from his involvement.
“The best part of it is the friends you make. Not just within your team, but you become closer with people from your own course in other teams, people in other courses that you never would’ve spoken to before, and even people from other universities interstate,” he said.
The RMIT Redbacks won the Spirit Award at the 2018 Div 1 Nationals, which is given to the university voted to have the greatest spirit and sportsmanship throughout the tournament.
“Trying to support other RMIT teams as much as possible is a tradition for Redbacks athletes. The RMIT culture is so strong so it feels like you’ve always got supporters around,” Adam explained.
“We’re going to have the best time-out snacks any team has ever seen!”
“Our team is also starting a new tradition this year and for the future. We’re bringing fairy bread, honey joys, chocolate crackles and all those sorts of ‘kiddy’ snacks back. We’re going to have the best time-out snacks any team has ever seen!”