UK School Games 2016

Congratulations to Grosvenor pupils Holly Brannigan, Lucy Craig, Emma Kee, Bethany McDowell and Luke Wallace, each of whom were selected to participate at the elite-level, UK-wide ‘School Games’ 2016, held this year in Loughborough during the first week of September.

Perhaps Grosvenor’s standout performer at the Games was Year Twelve swimmer Victoria Catterson, whose selection to compete in the individual 100 metres and 200 metres freestyle events came as a result of her ranking as the number one female swimmer in Ireland at Under 16 level in these events – a huge achievement in itself. In her individual races Victoria swan superbly to pick up an outstanding silver medal in 200 metres before backing this up with another strong showing in the 200 metres, where she finished fifth.  Following these individual successes, however, Victoria was also chosen to compete in the mixed freestyle relay team, where she eclipsed even her 200 metre individual performance by securing a phenomenal gold medal to cap an outstanding meet for her.

Elsewhere Victoria’s medal-winning performances were emulated by Year Eleven table tennis stars Lucy Craig and Emma Kee, each of whom performed admirably to attain bronze medals as members of the Northern Ireland Girls’ Under 18 team. For both girls their medal was hugely well-deserved after battling through the group stages where they met various English regions, including eventual winners England South East. Despite a defeat against the eventual victors, Emma and Lucy secured qualification for the semi-final of the competition with victory in their two other group matches and, despite a narrow 4-3 defeat against England Midlands at the last-four stage of the event, a resounding 4-1 victory over Scotland during the 3rd/4th place play-off helped to secure them a medal that was richly deserved.

In rugby sevens, likewise, Year Fourteen pupil Bethany McDowell also performed admirably to help Ireland to a third place finish and, with it, a hard-earned bronze medal. Bethany, who plays as a back row forward for Malone Rugby Club, helped her team to an impressive six victories out of a total of seven fixtures during the competition, which followed a league format, with Ireland finishing on the podium behind eventual winners England South East and silver medalists England North.

In the fencing arena, meanwhile, Luke Wallace, Year Twelve, was selected to represent Northern Ireland in the Individual Foil and Team Foil events at the ECB Arena as a result of his ranking as the top performer in the Northern Ireland Junior Foil series, the number one fencer in the Under 17 All-Ireland rankings and the number nine fencer in the senior Irish rankings. Although Luke did not pick up a medal, the experience of competing against such elite-level performers can only stand him in good stead for his future fencing-related endeavors over the remainder of the season and beyond.

Last but not least, track and field athlete Holly Brannigan, Year Thirteen, was chosen to represent the Northern Ireland Athletics team in the 300 metres and 4 x 300 metres events following a season in which she secured a gold medal at the Ulster School’s Athletics Championships in May, followed by a bronze at the Irish School’s Championships in June. Against a high-class field Holly performed commendably to finish 7th at the School Games, running just outside of her personal best, although the experience of staying in the athletes’ village and attending the opening ceremony of the Games will no doubt have inspired her to maintain, and even improve, on her current high standards over the coming season.

Well done to all of Grosvenor’s elite-level performers whose selection to compete at the School Games in itself represents an incredible achievement. Many thanks to the various coaches throughout the school who have nurtured the talent of these performers and we now look forward to following their fortunes over the remainder of their time at the school.

Left to right: Grosvenor pupils Bethany McDowell, Victoria Catterson, Lucy Craig, Emma Kee, Luke Wallace and Holly Brannigan, pictured alongside Dr. Vasey, each of whom were selected to compete at the prestigious 'School Games 2016' in September.