Alumni letter from the Women's Captain

Martha Bevan, Women’s Captain 2021-22

18 Dec 2021

A letter from the Woman's Captain to all CUAC Alumni

After two strong wins against O*ford in July, it’s fair to say that Martha Stevens left me with some rather large shoes to fill. When handing the role over to me, she made it clear that no one knew what this year would be like. It could be all back to normal, but it could also be another year of lockdowns and online circuits. But it seems luck has been on our side, at least for the time being (I write this as Boris has just announced Plan B, perhaps I spoke too soon). Recruitment went ahead as it had pre-Covid: we had a raft of sign-ups at the Freshers’ Fair, hosted a Taster Day, and organised our annual Autumn Cuppers. So far, so good – the next challenge was the Freshers’ Varsity Match, to be held at our very own Wilberforce Road.

The team was an exciting mix of people with years of athletics experience and complete beginners. However, everyone performed splendidly, and I was particularly heartened to see how quickly the team bonded, cheering each other on from start to finish. Cambridge impressed in the sprints, with both of our scoring athletes and a non-scorer finishing ahead of all O*ford scorers in the 100m. The winner of the 100m, Victoria Ubenyi, later returned to win the 200m and 4x100m. Similarly, Cambridge recorded a 1-2 in the 400m, with a gap of 6 seconds between Jess O’Flaherty, the winner, and the first OUAC athlete.
Meanwhile, we produced dominant performances in the heavy throws with athletes placing first and second across all three disciplines. Leonie Brunning, Madelyn Haden, and Grace Izinyon all set half Blues standards, and it goes without saying that I’m excited to see what they can do with more training behind them!

However, the prize for Female Athlete of the Match rightly went to Leonie Brunning, who, having competed in the high jump, long jump, triple jump, shot putt, and javelin, won four of her five events, set a Blues standard, and accumulated a total of 23 points. She can hurdle too – so it’s safe to say that this won’t be the last you hear of this up-and-coming multi-eventer. The day came to a close with two wins in the relays, which pushed us to an overall victory of 104 points to O*ford’s 82. It also involved me losing my voice, but none of that matters when you have a nice, shiny trophy and bragging rights over the Other Place.

I’m proud of everyone who competed, from those who were called up to do events at the last minute to those who took the plunge on a cold Autumn day to do their very first athletics competition. However, I can’t finish my account of the day without mentioning the rest of CUAC – the squad leaders, committee members, and other athletes – who came down to the track to support me the team, armed with blankets, food, and bucket-loads of motivation.

Looking forward, this is, without a doubt, what I’m most excited about for the year. Freshers’ Varsity reminded me of what I love about CUAC – the team spirit, the chance to develop from beginner to Blues, and the support everyone has for each other. I am confident that VFEAR will be another opportunity to show the Light Blues that not only do we have the best athletes, but that our athletes work together to make the best team.