by Craig Wright
The University of Stirling’s position as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence was further underlined last night as the institution claimed a hat-trick at the annual Scottish Student Sport Awards.
The event, held at Oriam in Edinburgh, saw Stirling take home three awards from three nominations – the university’s golf team for team of the year, Rio 2016 star Duncan Scott for male athlete of the year and swimming head coaches Ben Higson and Steven Tigg for coach of the year.
Having been amongst the university’s sporting standard bearers for a number of years, 2016/17 was an historic year for Stirling’s golfers. In addition to an unbeaten season in BUCS Scottish 1A, the team has experienced international success, having claimed European Championship success in Zagreb in the summer of 2016.
Indeed, their feats have even been noticed across the Atlantic, with the men’s team finishing second at the prestigious MacDonald Cup behind Harvard University, and the women’s side producing a high calibre performance to earn a respectable twelfth position.
Scott, fast becoming one of the mainstays of the British swimming squad, burst on to the scene at last summer’s Olympic Games in Brazil, claiming two silver medals as part of the British freestyle relay teams.
The 20-year-old has since gone on to prove his pedigree, breaking his own national record at the 2017 British Championships to win gold in the 100m freestyle, and will compete at this summer’s World Championships in Budapest.
Also travelling with the British squad to Budapest will be University of Stirling coaches Ben Higson and Steven Tigg, capping off a landmark year for the pair.
Having seen four members of the university swimming team selected for Rio 2016, Higson and Tigg (pictured at top) were subsequently awarded the coach of the year award at the 2016 Team Scotland Awards. With six swimmers from the university club named in Britain’s high performance squad for 2017, Higson and Tigg have continued their impressive record, with Ross Murdoch and Kathleen Dawson amongst their charges.
Commenting on the awards, Cathy Gallagher, Director of Sport at the University of Stirling, said:
“The suite of awards is testament to the dedication, talent and commitment of our students, coaches and clubs.
“As well as succeeding on the field of play, all the winners brilliantly represent the principles and philosophies of Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.
“The golf team has been leading the way at university level in Scotland, Britain and Europe for some time now and the mentoring, guidance and tutelage provided by High Performance Coach, Dean Robertson, is integral to the continued success and development of the students.
“Duncan’s achievements over the past year have been unrivalled in Scottish student sport and beyond. The role played by High Performance Swim Coaches, Ben Higson and Steven Tigg, has been widely lauded and they have proven themselves a formidable team. These latest accolades reflect another fantastic year for our world-class swimming programme.
“We are delighted to receive this recognition from Scottish Student Sport and congratulations to all the winners on the night.”
Speaking to Brig following the awards, sports president Rebecca Blair echoed Gallagher’s statements, saying:
“It’s such a fantastic achievement for more of our athletes and coaches to be recognised yet again.
“It’s a credit to sport here at Stirling as a whole, and is hopefully something we can continue to replicate in the coming years.”