11 April 2013
University of the Sunshine Coast student Erica Fowler of Peregian Beach has set her sights high after receiving one of two USC Encouragement Foundation Rugby Scholarships on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Paramedic Science student aims to be a top-level rugby union player and has already participated in the Australian Women’s Sevens Pathway to Gold Rio Olympic Trials.
At the USC presentation ceremony, Tim Murray of Sunshine Coast Rugby Union said the scholarship could help Erica achieve success at Rio in 2016 as the sport joins the Olympic program.
“Australia’s chance of winning a gold medal in Rio lies with the (rugby sevens) women more than the men so there will be significant resources put into the women’s (team),” he said.
Luke Kimber, 18, who is studying a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science at the University, was also delighted to receive an USC Encouragement Foundation Rugby Scholarship worth $3,000 each year of a degree.
Luke, of Eudlo, graduated from St John’s College last year with an OP5 and captained St John’s First XV to the grand final of B division. He also co-captained the University Rugby Club’s Under 16-17 team to its grand final.
“Hopefully after my stint in the Stingrays Colts side, and once I’m old enough, I’ll move on to the premier side and make my mark there,” he said.
The USC Encouragement Foundation funds up to three scholarships a year to help talented rugby union players study at USC and be available to play for the Stingrays at the colts or open level.
Erica, believed to be the first female rugby sevens player in Australia to receive such a sport scholarship, graduated in 2010 from Matthew Flinders Anglican College where she was house captain, rugby captain, water polo captain and orchestra captain.
In the past two years, she has played for the Stingrays Women’s Sevens and the Noosa Dolphins Phinettes Women’s team and competed at the Noosa International Sevens and Byron Bay Sevens tournaments.
Erica said the scholarship would assist her financial and time juggle with sport, study and work.
— Julie Schomberg