World champion paddleboarder and elite surf lifesaving competitor Jordan Mercer has been named USC’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2017.
The talented endurance athlete and Education student received her trophy from USC’s Director of High Performance Sport Professor Brendan Burkett at today’s USC Sports Awards ceremony on campus at Sippy Downs.
Mercer, 23, of Marcus Beach, became the most decorated International Surfing Association competitor in history this year after earning her 9th and 10th individual world championship gold medals at the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard championships.
As well as individual wins in the Technical Paddleboard event in Hawaii and the 20km marathon paddleboard event in Denmark, Mercer was also part of the victorious Australian relay team in September.
Mercer said after recovering from injury earlier this year, she jumped at the chance to take part in USC’s High Performance Student Athlete program.
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be studying here and achieving my goals in sport,” she said. “It’s actually been a huge motivation to be surrounded by so many great athletes who have achieved so many incredible things across such a wide range of sports.
“I’m really humbled – this is very special,” she said about receiving the Sportsperson of the Year award.
The ceremony also featured a Q&A session with Sunshine Coast Lightning goal shooter Caitlin Bassett, who recently captained the Australian Diamonds in the hard-fought Quad Series.
Bassett and Mercer were among six USC students to receive Full Blue awards for ongoing outstanding achievement, with the other recipients being wakeskater Cody Murphy and swimmers Patarawadee Kittiya, Kareena Lee and Jack Brazier.
Half Blue awards for sporting excellence went to Ryan Edwards (football), Rebecca Goulding (rugby 7s), Kate Baguley (volleyball), Steven Elliott (wheelchair basketball), Lucinda Kelly (kayaking), Belinda Johnston (touch), Hannah Dodd (wheelchair basketball) and Julian Edwards (futsal).
Three students – champion swimmers Taylor McKeown and Chelsea Gubecka and cyclist Kyle Bridgwood – were honoured with Continued Excellence Awards.
USC’s Team of the Year award was presented to the men’s futsal team that won gold at the Northern Unigames and finished fourth at the Australian Unigames.
The USC Green Award – presented for excellence in volunteering or managing sport – went to student Jacqueline Gofton who was team manager for USC’s Cheer and Dance team that placed well at both the Northern Unigames and the Australian Unigames.
— Terry Walsh
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