ISO: The Lowdown on Term 1

Warning: Please don’t be offended by anything written here. There is an obvious need for banter when it comes to ISO.

As all the halls and colleges kids may or may not know, the ISO calendar has been flipped upside down. Reasons include weather issues; giving firsties enough time to get into the craziest thing they will probably do in their ANU lives (and that’s really saying something), that is Inward Bound; injuries and scrapes due to dry grass in term 4 (seriously?); drainage problems on South; and no one showing up to tennis in October except Ursies and Burgmann.

However, all of these things could never dull the hype of ISO sports. We are looking at a cracking Term 1 and preparations are well underway. The first term will now have 4 sports: basketball, volleyball, tennis (finally, mixed), and road relay.

Basketball will be the first sport to kick the year off in Week 2. Let’s start by saying that it was upsets on top of upsets for the girls last year. Bruce took the gold out of nowhere with their new recruit Jo Guthridge who didn’t fail to stun the crowds for a single game. Surely the rest of the Bruce side, including top performer Arthy Anathapavan, are hoping to keep it up this year around as well. Burton and Garran (B&G) came a close second in a very tight grand final and it was a solid effort from them throughout the season. Jess Rasmussen was their key player alongside the nimble Annalise Corey- will they be back for revenge to get the gold this time or will they fall back into the second half of the ladder like the previous years?

Their win against Griffin in the semi-final was probably the biggest shock of the season, edging over them by a mere 2 points. Griffin will be led by Maddie Kibria for the second year running and Grace Shalders, who was their star player last season. They will be backed by the physical prowess of Annika Humphreys for a third year. They will be missing Shelley Dawson, Ingrid Olbrei (who has now joined forces with Johns) and this one will probably have the other colleges throwing a low-key party- Caela Welsh. She has no doubt been the ultimate superstar for Griffin, winning ISO and Griffin Sportswoman of the Year in 2015. Who will be able to replace Welsh? Probably no one because she is simply sublime, but that will be one thing to keep your eyes peeled for.

Johns and Burgmann both had disappointing seasons- Burgmann lost ex-ressie April Pascoe early on to injury, which led to their quick demise and Johns put up a tough fight for bronze against Griffin but lost by a massive 16 points, although they convincingly beat them in the group stages. Lucy Knox and dominant netballer Phoebe Foldi will be back to help Johns get ahead on the sports shield early on although they may still be missing Liv Hicks who was brought it home for them in 2014. Ursies will have Caitlin McLeod leading the top half again and she’s always a tough one to hold back. Fenner are also never one to be underestimated. We’re hoping to see last year’s coach and this year’s sports rep Monique Munro off the sidelines and on the courts.

Johns are always fighting for gold in both the men’s and women’s categories in basketball (and well, in everything) and Jelle Kroon will be back to lead his team for another attempt but will Griffin remain undefeated for the fourth year running? They will be missing the powerhouse that is Stephen Kenny but rumor has it that they have already found a worthy replacement.

Ball-handling maestros Andrew Nguyen, Dec Pratt, Hamish Jackson, Remy Szabo will all be there to hold onto the gold so there is no way Griffin can be underestimated. Unilodge came second to Griffin and they will be hoping to keep Dan Trevanion and Tom Commins, who racked up quite a few best and fairest points last year. Bruce will be looking to get to the grand final again this year after they fell short upon losing Errol Gracias to injury halfway through the season. B&G looked solid at the start of the season with the likes of lightning fast Colin Watson, who ISO predicts will be the standout player for his hall this year, and they will be striving to make it to the tight top 4 this time.

While basketball will run through till the end of the term, volleyball will on in the weekend of Week 3 and this is always a fairly unpredictable one. Johns took out gold for both the boys and girls competitions. There was not just one player that stood out from each of the teams- they all worked as a cohesive unit and that’s what really pulled them through to the top. Fenner and B&G boys were both incredible to watch last year- there was not one moment of their game where you weren’t on your toes. Patrick Sparks from Fenner led their team and did a damn good job at it as they came third while B&G took out silver. Unilodge are always promising contenders but controversy arose when their star player Percy Su apparently refused to play in their third place match against Fenner, letting them win by default. Will it be a similar story for Lodge again? Let’s hope not- nobody likes bad sports.

Unilodge girls however, fought it out to each the grand final and lost out narrowly to the mighty Johns team. Clarissa Tan who was key in their efforts, and won overall best and fairest for the sport, may or may not be missing from their team this year- you will just have to wait to find out. Burgmann had highly experienced ex-ressie Jacqui Jones lead their team and last year’s sports rep Alex Jowett playing setter and winning the bulk of their points for them. They won bronze over a powerful Griffin team, led by Emma Wisdom and Caela Welsh. Now that they’ve both graduated, Jess Hargreaves who was nominated for overall best and fairest in volleyball will be leading the charge and it is safe to say, the team is in very capable hands. They will be a team to watch out for.

Tennis starts in Week 4 and this is the first year that it will be a mixed competition, with the same structure as table tennis and badminton. There is not much knowledge of what to expect from the boys in the halls and colleges but we’re sure there must be quite a few Lleyton Hewitt’s hiding out there waiting to get out onto the South Oval courts. Ursies came out at the end of last year with some of the best tennis players ISO has ever seen. Rashmi Chary was at least semi-pro (and a very nice person) and Brigid Horneman-Wren really brought it in every game. Their entire squad was incredible to watch- not one player less amazing than the other. Sarah Pryke from Johns was also fantastic and Burgmann also had a very strong team overall. Megan Stevens and Shannon Hall, from Bruce and B&G respectively, also had solid teams alongside them and the boys from their colleges will probably be out to lift them even further. Fenner, Griffin and Unilodge always end up in the bottom 3 and hopefully they too will have male players who will help them put up a stronger fight in 2016.

Last but not least, road relay has moved up to Week 5 and this will probably be the starting point for IB trainings this year. B&G won gold, while Johns and Bruce followed in second and third respectively. IB predictions have already been made by ISO where Johns are predicted to take first place followed by Burgmann and then B&G. There isn’t much correlation between the winners of Road Relay and IB but I guess we’ll have to wait till Term 3 now to find out.

ISO have also predicted what the ladder will look at the end of Term 1 with Griffin coming out on top, with is questionable because although they might come out in the top 2 in both basketball and volleyball, they haven’t had a very good track record for tennis or road relay. Here’s what the predicted table looks like:

1.Griffin
2. Burgmann
3.Johns
4.B&G
5.Ursies
6.Unilodge
7.Bruce
8.Fenner

And with that, let the fight for the coveted ISO Sports Shield begin!