Home Varsity victory is main aim for St Mary's
SMUC Athletic Union President Pietro Palladino helps Sports Gazette preview the University sports season.
Five editions of West London Varsity without a win and a best finish in the BUCS standings of 45th in that time, St Mary’s is a university that focuses on sporting excellence, but faces the challenge of competing against bigger institutions.
The Athletic Union President for 2013/14, Pietro Palladino, is proud of the way St Mary’s competes against bigger universities, but thinks this year could be one to strive for even greater achievements.
“As a University we always tend to punch above our weight, especially when considering our size,” he said.
“We do have lots of elite equipment, facilities and personnel here, so I believe we can aim for the late-thirties in BUCS this year.”
With the season under way there have already been encouraging results posted by St Mary’s teams, and Pietro hopes that these signal a positive year ahead.
“The Rugby Union boys are back in the Premier League and to have won two out of two which is particularly pleasing,” he said.
“The girls are also growing as a team, having added a second side this year and the men’s Volleyball team look strong this season.”
Pietro is also keen to stress that weekly BUCS fixtures aren’t the only way to represent the university.
“There is a whole load of events throughout the year including athletics meets, surfing events, snow sports, golfing and equestrian,” he said.
“If anyone at the University is particularly good at a unique sport, let me know and you could represent St. Mary’s.”
The big event, and the big target, for this year though, is West London Varsity.
As previously stated, St Mary’s haven’t won the event in its five stagings, with their best result a tie two years ago on home soil, and this year it’s in Strawberry Hill once again.
“We came very close to winning last time at home, so I’m hoping we can go one better and beat them this time,” Pietro said.
“Home advantage counts for a lot and records are there to be broken!”Home advantage counts for a lot and records are there to be broken!”
Weightlifting and futsal have both been added to the roster of sports for the first time in 2014, and this will only add to what is already clearly Pietro’s favourite day of the year.
“It’s lots of different sporting competitions in one day, which is something everybody loves,” he said.
“Players, staff and students always get involved and support everyone that’s competing and we are a very proud university, we love representing St. Mary’s, and always want to win.”
Despite all the positivity surrounding the day, the fact remains that Brunel have held the trophy for five consecutive years, can this change?
“Being about three times the size of us, they certainly have an advantage in that respect, but they don’t have the same levels of passion, desire and belief that we do,” Pietro said.
“If we can instil that into our teams now, come 5pm on March 26th, we will all be celebrating.”
Following St Mary’s couldn’t be easier. Weekly fixtures will be put up every Monday morning outside Pietro’s office on the first floor of the Student’s Union building, and fixtures and results will appear on the SMSU Facebook page.