Wits athletes excelled in the 2015 USSA tournament in various sport codes
While most students were on the midyear break, Wits athletes were competing in the 2015 inter-varsity tournament organised by University Sports South Africa (USSA).
Wits excelled both on the court and on the field in seven different codes including basketball, hockey, rugby, netball, badminton, squash and gymnastics.
The Wits women’s teams were some of the top achievers in netball, basketball and hockey.
The Wits hockey girls, coached by former South African women’s team striker Pietie Coetzee-Turner, beat out the other universities including the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in the final where they won 3-0. This secured them a promotion to the A section of next year’s tournament where they will face tough competitors including Stellenbosch University.
The men’s hockey side didn’t fare as well, when they lost their vital 3rd game of the tournament to Nelson Mandela Municipality University (NMMU) 9-1, and could no longer reach the play-offs. This also means that the men’s Hockey team may not make the cut-off for next year’s Varsity Hockey series.
The Wits Netball team made a great comeback and won the B section of the USSA’s. They went on to beat three teams during the round robin section. Attempting to regain their winning streak they went on to beat Durban University of Technology (DUT), but unfortunately lost in the following match to Central University of Technology (CUT Bloemfontein).
Wits women’s Basketball team had to defend the gold they won at the University of Pretoria in last year’s tournament. But Vaal University of Technology (VUT), proved to be their undoing, losing 58-65 and giving them the Silver position.
The men’s basketball team beat UKZN 75-41 but were the recipients of a debated forfeiture ruling after allegedly arriving late for a game. This resulted in them ending the tournament in 9th place.
It wasn’t just the ladies that performed during the winter USSA program, with the Wits Rugby team finishing in 5th position after facing old rivals UKZN and University of Western Cape (UWC) on the sports field.
Although Wits lost during their opening game, they regrouped to defeat UKZN 54-0. This turned out to be a grudge match after Wits was beaten by UKZN in the Varsity Shield final in April. In their final game, Wits finally beat UWC 32-7.
2015 was one of the best USSA’s as far as Wits rugby XV, according to Wits Rugby manager Al Leonard.
In gymnastics the Wits team placed third overall and came home with great results including 12 medals. Among them are Ruan Prestorius who placed first in the novice mini-trampoline while Vhuwavho Matibe brought home the gold in the level 2 rhythmic section.
On the badminton court Witsies Matthew Michel and Tashlin Hamid excelled and were selected for the national squad, while the team placed 5th overall in the A section.
Witsies not only took part in the USSA’s but also played host to the Squash programme where they claimed four victories. But unfortunately came up short against heavyweights, NMMU, UJ, and UCT.