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A record breaking year for Australia’s student-athletes

16 May 2024
Freestyle skier Jakara Anthony is now the most decorated Australian mogul skier of all time alongside achieving fantastic results in her university studies.

UniSport Australia (UniSport) celebrated fantastic contributions and performances in at its annual Sport Awards.  

Headlined by Athlete of the Year winners Cara Feain-Ryan (University of Queensland, Athletics) and Reece Holder (Queensland University of Technology, Athletics), the evening saw nine awards presented for outstanding achievements across a wide range of summer and winter sports. 

Cara Feain-Ryan, who studies speech pathology at the University of Queensland won the gold medal in the 3000m Steeplechase event at the FISU World University Summer Games in Chengdu, China.

While freestyle skier and Olympic gold medallist Jakara Anthony came away with yet another accolade to add to her already impressive list of honours, taking home Most outstanding performance by a student-athlete. 

Curtis McGrath, who won the “Most Outstanding Performance by a Student-Athlete with a Disability” award studies Aviation Management at Griffith University as well in excelling in Canoe Sprint.

Hosting guests from the university sector including student athletes, UniSport Life Members and industry partners, the 2024 UniSport Gala dinner was a celebration of the success of the industry from the previous year. 

Student-Athlete of the year, Reece Holder broke the FISU 400m record at the Chengdu FISU World University Games. He studies Urban Development at Queensland University of Technology.

Chief Executive Officer of UniSport Australia Mark Sinderberry said he was delighted to see the community come together to celebrate their achievements. “Our athletes and Universities once again showed that Australia is home to some of the most exciting talent in the world with stunning performance in both National and International competitions in 2023. With student engagement and enjoyment while participating in National University sport events increasing, and more records being broken year on year, it’s important for us to take a moment to celebrate the achievements of every individual, team, University and community.” 

Full winner list

Most Outstanding Performance by a Student-Athlete with a Disability 
Curtis McGrath – canoe sprint – Bachelor of Aviation Management, Griffith University 
Most Outstanding Performance by an Indigenous Student-Athlete 
Emily Watts – cycling – Bachelor of Education (Health and Physical Education), University of Sydney 
Most Outstanding Performance by a Student-Athlete 
Jakara Anthony – freestyle skiing – Bachelor of Business, Deakin University 
Student-Athlete of the Year (Female) 
Cara Feain-Ryan – athletics – Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours), The University of Queensland
Student-Athlete of the Year (Male) 
Reece Holder – athletics – Bachelor of Urban Development, Queensland University of Technology 
Most outstanding University sport project or program 
Women in Sport Leadership Retreat, Monash University 
Most outstanding University sport project or program 
RMIT Sports Media Program, RMIT University
Most outstanding contribution by a student volunteer 
Adila Abdul Halim – swimming – PHD in Astrophysics, The University of Adelaide 
Club leadership award 
La Trobe University Football Club (AFL), La Trobe University
Official of the Year 
Jessica Musson – netball – Bachelor of Business, University of South Australia 
Team of the Year 
USYD 3X3 Basketball Men, University of Sydney