While most of Stellenbosch University's students took a well-deserved holiday in July, various student-athletes represented Maties on the international and national sporting stage.
Four Maties – Gardeo Isaacs (athletics), Breyton Poole (athletics), Craig Walters (football) and Hein Kritzinger (sevens) – were part of Team South Africa at the World Student Games in Italy. Isaacs won silver in the 400m for men and Kritzinger won silver as a member of the rugby sevens team.
“It was my first international medal and it was beyond special. All my hard work, along with that of my coach, has paid off. I could not have done this on my own. The success has only made me hungry for more and I am looking forward to the next challenge," said Isaacs, the current SA 400m champion.
Poole was the youngest competitor in the high jump competition.
“It was an honour to represent Maties at the World Student Games and to end fourth in a top-quality field. It truly was a memorable experience and I'm excited about the next World Student Games. I'll be looking to get some revenge and to redeem myself."
The soccer team did not have a great time, but according to Walters the event was so much more than just a sporting event.
“It was the most amazing experience. I will never forget it. On the field it did not go well, but I learnt so much from this experience. It helped me grow as a player."
On the USSA scene Stellenbosch University hosted the cycling, hockey and rugby competitions. The Maties Cycling men's team won the USSA title for the fifth consecutive year. Maties Rugby and the men's hockey team won silver, while the hockey women took bronze.
The Maties surfers had a blast in the Southern Cape. Nina Harmse and Shaun Joubert won the individual titles and the Maties women took the team title as well. Maties finished second overall.
“This title is super special to me. I grew up surfing at Victoria Bay. Before I went to University this year, I'd watch the USSA surfing champs at Vic Bay every year. This year was the first time that I was part of the event. It was amazing to experience such a unique contest with a group of student surfers from all over the country. The medal is hanging in my flat in Stellenbosch right now and it's a really cool reminder of the awesome event that I was privileged to be a part of in my hometown," said Harmse.
While it was a first for Harmse, it was Joubert's last USSA for Maties.
“To win a USSA title while representing Maties Surfing and Stellenbosch University is truly an honour and a privilege. The ocean is a fickle beast, and to have been in sync with it and performed well enough to win the men's title every year I competed is something I'm very proud of," said Joubert.
“The USSA event is about so much more than winning though. Through this tournament and Maties Surfing I've met some of my best friends. It's always a highlight of my year when I get to go away for a weekend with friends, make new friends and meet interesting characters from other universities and walks of life. I'm forever grateful for my club and this university. I'm glad I could win another title for Maties with my last chance."
Maties Basketball teams also had a great USSA tournament. The women's team won its first ever medal when they took bronze against Kovsies. The men finished fifth, thus qualifying for the 2020 Varsity Basketball tournament.
Other USSA Results: Maties Gymnastics, Maties Netball and Maties Badminton finished second; Maties Squash finished fourth.