University of Birmingham Sport

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Investec Women’s Hockey National League Team – Meet the Players

As they near the end of a strong season, in which the University of Birmingham National League hockey team are still fighting fit for their place in the Premier Division, we caught up with the ladies to find out a bit more about them – how they got into the sport, why they love it, and why you should too – as well as unveiling a few weird and wonderful pre-game rituals!

Holly Hunt

Course : Sports Science – Third Year

Playing Position: Midfield or Forward

Clubs Represented: Bowdon Hightown and now University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: U18 European Bronze Medal 2015, 2xU21 European Bronze Medals 2014/2017, National School Champions 2015, National Indoor Champions 2015 and European

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? I moved to a new school in year 5 and was encouraged by my friends to join them at the lunchtime club. I love being part of a team and playing alongside some of my closest friends. I also really enjoy the speed of the game and the intensity at which it is played at.

How has the University supported you to this level? Being a scholar at the university has allowed me to access the fantastic S&C facilities in the sports centre, as well as providing me with nutrition and psych support if needed. I have been able to develop my training further as a result of these resources.

What is your greatest achievement so far? Being selected to be part of the Senior GB/England Squad.

Any pre-game rituals or superstitions? Always have a cup of tea and banana pre game.

Any top tips for students thinking about getting into hockey at UoB? Look into doing the intramural matches and training with your course friends!

 

Harriet Mitchell 

Course: Biochemistry – Third Year

Position: Defender

Clubs Represented: University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: BUCs gold x2, GB and England U21

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? School, the team aspect of it.

How has the University supported you to this level? UBS Scholarships have made Physio and S&C possible.

What is your greatest achievement so far? U21 & U18 European Bronze.

 

Livy Paige

Course: Economics – Third Year

Position: Midfield

Clubs Represented: Reading, University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: GB and England senior team

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? Family friends introduced me to it, I love playing in a team with my best mates.

How has the University supported you to this level? Consistent training with some of the top players and coaches in the country. The scholarship staff have been great and we have excellent access to s and c, physio etc.

What is your greatest achievement so far? My first senior England tournament in NZ.

 

Joey Turnbull 

Course: Graduate- Studied SPECS

Position: Forward

Clubs Represented: Maidstone HC, Stourport HC, University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: EHL Cup, Promotion to National Prem, Prem play-offs 2 years running

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? Through parents and school – love the social, don’t love the running!

How has the University supported you to this level? Access to great facilities and coaches

What is your greatest achievement so far? Gaining promotion to Prem and maintaining that for numerous years.

Any top tips for students thinking about getting into hockey at UoB? Do it, nobody regrets it!

 

Lydia Macdonell  

Course: BA Geography – Third Year

Position: Forward/Attacking Midfield

Clubs Represented: University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: England U21 European Broze medal

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? I played it at school and instantly loved it.

How has the University supported you to this level? Provided the opportunity to gain proper access to gym and S&C programmes.

What is your greatest achievement so far? European England senior indoor European Bronze.

Any pre-game rituals or superstitions? I wash my hair and plait it the night before a game and then I straighten it in the morning.

 

Catherine Ledesma 

Course: Sports and Exercise Sciences – First Year

Position: Forward

Clubs Represented: Wimbledon hockey club, Oxted hockey club, University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: Investec Conference East champions 2017, England U16/U18 team

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? My mum plays so introduced me to it. I love the team atmosphere and scoring goals.

How has the University supported you to this level? Great strength and conditioning support as well as it being a high performance environment with lots of elite players.

What is your greatest achievement so far? Captaining my England U18 team in several games.

Any pre-game rituals or superstitions? Must have a tissue in my right sock when I play.

 

Katelyn Aitchison

Course: Medicine – Fifth Year

Position: Forward

Clubs Represented: Surbiton, University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: 4 consecutive BUCS golds and 1 silver

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? I started playing hockey at primary school aged 8, but it really took off for me when I went to secondary school. I loved the camaraderie within the team and the quick pace and tactics.

How has the University supported you to this level? The University has been fantastic. We’ve been very lucky to receive the team scholarship for a number of years which has provided us with abundant access to physio, nutrition and S&C facilities to name a few. The coaching staff have also been very understanding with regards to managing my studies along with the Hockey which has made it easier and more enjoyable to keep up throughout my time at Birmingham.

What is your greatest achievement so far? Potentially being one of the most decorated BUCS hockey players in UOB history considering how long I’ve been here!

Any pre-game rituals or superstitions? I always have some pre-game sweets in the changing rooms, especially Squashies.

Any top tips for students thinking about getting into hockey at UoB? Definitely come and get involved! The quality of hockey is phenomenal for university level. I often end up spending most of the game fan-girling my own team! I’ve made the best memories playing for this team over the last 6 years, progressed in my own game and made friends for life.

 

Delyth Thomas 

Course: Biological Science – Second Year

Position: Defender

Clubs Represented: University of Birmingham, Brecon Hockey Club

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? Got into hockey through Mum and school. I enjoy the speed, physicality and skill that hockey involves. 

How has the University supported you to this level? The support at the University is exceptional, we are very lucky to have so much support from physios and the strength and conditioning coaches.

What is your greatest achievement so far? Representing Senior Wales women GB EDP.

 

Lauren Hunt 

Course: Geology and Physical Geography – First Year

Position: Midfield

Clubs Represented: Bowdon Hightown, University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: U18 European Bronze for England

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? Started playing at school and love playing amongst my friends.

How has the University supported you to this level? Lots of support alongside hockey such as S&C, nutritional and psychological support.

What is your greatest achievement so far? Playing for England U21.

Any top tips for students thinking about getting into hockey at UoB? Get involved!

 

Flora Peel 

Course: LLB Law – Third Year

Position: Midfield

Clubs Represented: Olton, Beeston, University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: BUCS Gold X 2, European Bronze, School/ Club nationals, GB Development

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? Got into it through school and playing regular club hockey. Love the team environment and being a part of something so special.

How has the University supported you to this level? On and off the pitch- through physios and the medical team (I had a bad injury in my first year), nutritional and psychological advice in and out of competitions, constant support on match days and support to get to training days.

What is your greatest achievement so far? BUCS Gold is always pretty amazing!

Any top tips for students thinking about getting into hockey at UoB? Make sure to get in contact beforehand and attend the sports fair to hear about trials.

 

Rosie Henderson

Course: Medicine

Position: Midfield

Clubs Represented: Pegasus, University of Birmingham

Medals/Achievements: Irish U18

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? My mum played hockey so she encouraged me to start and I love the team spirit aspect about the sport.

How has the University supported you to this level? They have offered S&C, physio and sport workshops.

What is your greatest achievement so far? Representing Ireland U18 in the Europeans.

 

Alice Wills

Course: History of Art

Position: Screen/Defence

Clubs Represented: Holcombe and University of Birmingham

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? I started when I was 8 playing at a local club and I love the sport because I’ve made lots of friends and I love being a part of a team.

How has the University supported you to this level? We have a team scholarship, which means we get a sports mentor, access to physios and S & C sessions.

What is your greatest achievement so far? U21 World Cup in Chile and winning a bronze medal at the Senior Indoor Europeans II.

 

Amy Costello 

Course: Sport and Exercise Science – Second Year

Position: Defence

Clubs Represented: Cala Edinburgh Hockey club, Inverleith Hockey club, University of Birmingham

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? Through school – I love being part of a team.

How has the University supported you to this level? Through play with really good players and having access to such high quality facilities and great coaches.

What is your greatest achievement so far? Being capped for GB, selection for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games for Scotland.

Any pre-game rituals or superstitions? My left sock on my right foot and right sock on my left, always have my ribbons on my bag!

Any top tips for students thinking about getting into hockey at UoB? Get involved, you can be any level and allows you to meet new people.

 

Amelia Andrew

Course: Medicine – Third Year

Position: Defender

Clubs Represented: Firebrands, University of Birmingham

How did you get into hockey and what do you love about it? Being forced to make up the numbers when my brother’s team were short. I was the super sub. I love the people I play with, I wouldn’t have any friends without them…!

How has the University supported you to this level? They’ve always been really helpful in supporting me with hockey and academic studies. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play hockey to this standard anywhere else, and for that I’m very grateful.

What is your greatest achievement so far? Winning player of the season for a men’s hockey team.

Any top tips for students thinking about getting into hockey at UoB? Do it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I can’t imagine being at UoB without hockey.

 

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