In my four years as a member of the Club, I cannot recall a more successful, positive and ambitious group of athletes than this year's team.
It started with Freshers' Week. A new committee led a superb recruiting drive on the beaches, track and trails of Devon, committing a record-high 121 members to EUAC and laying the foundations for a compelling year of athletics. Social Secretaries Freya Owen and Jack Fitsall pulled off an epic white tee social on the first Wednesday of the term, instantly gelling a team that would go on to achieve unprecedented success throughout the term. The importance of their work in building the team cannot be understated.
Cross Country. A huge cohort of members took to the trails of Cann Woods and the river crossings of Newnham Park in what would turn out to be the Club's valedictory tour of the South West United Services Cross Country League. Through hammer wind and tumbling rain, Cross Country Captain Jack Gavin led the men and women of the Cross Country brigade to both senior team titles, with Club Captain Steph McCall and international loanee Anders Grahl dominating the individual categories, Anders one race shy of eligibility for the Senior Men's title, Steph comfortably retaining her Senior Women's title. Credit is due to Phil Bridge too, for his victory in the Junior Men's category. Champions in one league and with admirable performances in the more challenging Westward League, we anticipate more success next term, culminating in a bombastic blitz of Brighton at the 2015 BUCS Cross Country Championships.
The track and field proved to be platforms for similar levels of success as the term progressed. After an under-strength team travelled down to Plymouth for the first Varsity of the season and narrowly lost to our fiercest rivals, Track and Field Captain Chris Churcher galvanised the group and led the team to a big points victory over Plymouth, Bristol, Gloucestershire and UWE at the Exeter Arena. A successful AU Olympics accompanied our track exploits with a victory for EUAC in the Mixed category, and the season closed with strong performances from Kelly McMahon, Becca Silk and Nicole Kendall at the Cardiff Indoor Grand Prix. Another trip to UWIC's indoor track beckons before the BUCS Indoor Championships held in Sheffield in February, and there is much cause for optimism for this team.
Away from the competitive, all-consuming beast that is the Athletics Club exists a gentler, kinder creature in the name of the Exeter University Jogging Club. Twice a week, Social Run Captains Hal Tucker and Josh Eve have dedicated their evenings to leading groups of (mainly female) runners around the streets of Exeter. The successful creation and execution of this new enterprise is arguably our most important success of the term, and the sustainment of a group of less competitive runners who want to keep fit and socialise is testament to the efforts and abilities of Josh and Hal.
Our term ended in glorious, raucous and gluttonous fashion at Starz, which played host to our annual Christmas Dinner. Costume principles were largely adhered to, presents were exchanged and fun was had by all. The evening epitomised the sense of togetherness and spirit that has engulfed the Club this season, with the departing Anders' rendition of 'Thank You For The Music' by his favourite band Abba leaving a lump in all of our throats. We bid goodbye to Anders, Rahel Weinkotter and Edwin Thia and thank them for their contributions to the Cross Country Team this term.
It leaves me only to say that the smiles in the above photo are worth my membership fee alone, and to wish you a Merry Christmas.