Welcoming x4 Ivy League Athletics Teams To Compete On Our Track
Last week we had a once in a lifetime exchange visit from 4 Ivy League Universities to re-start a partnership which dates back to 1962.
The University of Birmingham has a strong relationship that dates back nearly 70 years with 4 of the most prestigious Ivy League Universities: Harvard, Yale, Penn & Cornell.
On a 4-year cycle, this includes visits to Birmingham from pairs of universities at a time, staying with Birmingham student-athletes for 3-4 days during which we compete against them in an Athletics Match, host a formal dinner and organise some tourist experiences for their students and staff.
Athletes and staff from the American Universities were all on campus on Saturday 24 June for a historic Athletics Match at the University of Birmingham Track in a double-header match against our very own UoB Athletics Club.
This spectacularly coincided with a University Open Day, displaying the very best that Sport has to offer here at Birmingham with parents and prospective students able to witness first-and our vibrant community of student – athletes engaged in an exchange that is unique to Birmingham.
In the match itself, Birmingham were victorious over the combined Harvard & Yale team retaining the Bob Ashwood Cup for another 4 years!
Unfortunately the Penn & Cornell team, edged out the Birmingham team in the final few events by a mere 8 points to keep the Professor Michael Hayes Trophy stateside.
We were absolutely delighted that Professor Hayes, now 93 years old, who founded the exchange whilst an academic here at Birmingham in the 1960’s was able to come over from his Limerick home, to attend the weekend’s festivities – speaking with great fondness of the exchange with all student-athletes, coaches and alumni in attendance.
The exchange was formally kicked off with a Welcome Reception in Lapworth Museum, hosted by Stephen Jarvis and supporting words from Yale Director of Athletics, David Shoehalter and our own Birmingham Athletics Presidents, Imogen Shepperd and Josh Woods.
‘We absolutely love coming to Birmingham, you guys always give our team such a great reception. It’s been too long since our great schools have been able to do this exchange and we can’t wait to have you visit us again next year.’
Professor Micheal Hayes also had these words for all the athletes, at the end of Athletics Match on Saturday:
‘Sport is one of the strongest vehicles for learning and setting you up for the next stage of life. And I believe, that your coaches are some of the greatest educators in this pursuit; I firmly believe this. Thank you to all your coaches for continuing to support this fantastic exchange – as I know you will look back on this week for many years to come with immense fondness’
Finally, on Saturday evening we hosted a banquet at Staff House, for all our incoming Penn & Cornell visitors (who arrived on Saturday for the Match). This banquet for 220 attendees fully funded by the Athletics Club, saw our student hosts sitting with the 60 strong American visitors as well as VIP guests from previous exchanges and 3 tables of Birmingham Athletics Club alumni, who all competed in the exchange back in the 1980’s.
This is only one of many incredible events that our Athletics team get involved in- there have been endless achievements across the year. Want to find out more about our largest sport club? Explore via the button below.
Photo creds: Nathan Styles Porter, Didi Okoh and Zach Bridgeland.