On a crisp November morning at Iffley Road, the nervous but excited freshers made the journey to Cambridge to compete at the 2023 Fresher’s Varsity Match. Travelling with two trophies on board the coach, and the strong will to retain them, there was a big day ahead for the freshers. We made the journey to Wilberforce Road, took the traditional pre-varsity photos, and our freshers donned OUAC vests for the first time.
There was a strong start with success in many of the earlier events, with wins in both 400 hurdles and hammer, followed by a very strong performance from Sofia Stefani leading to an 800m victory on the women’s team. Laura Anene then started her very successful day with long jump, followed soon after by a triple jump win and personal best (in November!). Grace Cardwell heroicly decided to add the 100m hurdles to her already extensive list of events to gain some crucial points for the women’s team, with Quinn Pidgeon following in her footsteps. He volunteered to attempt the high hurdles with minimal practice, but still performed very impressively in the race. The sprinters were against very stiff competition, however helped display an excellent demonstration of composure, remaining relaxed, controlled, and fast in very cold conditions.
Throughout the day the throwers had been grouped at the far side of the track, churning out result after result with some exceptional throws mixed in there. Cayen Wang and Willem Jump were each asked to do a majority of the throws, with Wang winning both the javelin, hammer and shot put, whilst Jump managed a substantial win in the hammer. Perhaps the most notable feat of the day was a 52.45m javelin throw from Damon Zuber, who’d spent most of the day stuck on trains after delays on his travels to Wilberforce Road.
Despite their best efforts, the men didn’t quite manage to pip the tabs to the post, however, the women’s team retained the trophy after a draw, a very substantial feat for an away fixture, leaving lots to be excited for about the upcoming season!