Elizabeth Morland and Matthew Behan were presented with their awards for winning the IUAA Women’s and Men’s University Athlete of the Year.
The presentation took place at the Bank of Ireland in The Street in the Henry Grattan building on Tuesday with Branch Manager Jaqueline Ewing making the presentations to the two athletes.
Athletics Academy Director Enda Fitzpatrick, DCU Athletics Club President Mickey Whelan, and Chairman of the club Cian McBride also in attendance.
Morland set new competition records for the Combined Events at the Indoor Intervarsity’s held at Athlone IT in February, winning the competition in the process.
Meanwhile, Behan followed suit, breaking the competition record for both the 60m hurdles in Athlone, running under eight seconds.
He continued his form to the outdoors in April at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast, where he broke the 110m Hurdles competition record, adding the outdoor title to his indoor one for the year.
Both athletes also received recognition for their achievements from Athletics Ireland during the week, with Morland winning the University Athlete of the year and Behan winning the U23 Athlete of year, where all four nominations were DCU Athletes.
Behan was honoured to have won the award for Male University Athlete of the Year, saying “I’m absolutely delighted, and I just want to thank everyone behind me, cause it’s not just me, even though I’m the one out on the track.”
The Sports Science and Health student is grateful for the support he has, telling The College View, “The support team behind me, my parents, my coaches, everyone in the institute of sport and even down to my training partners.”
Morland was also very grateful to have received her award, saying, “I’m absolutely delighted, universities have so many strong athletes across Ireland, and to win and to get all the titles last year, it’s definitely an honour and especially to do it for DCU because we have such a strong team, it’s great.”
Fitzpatrick was full of praise for the pair of athletes, saying, “Two very deserving recipients for the award for University Athlete of the year.
“Matthew is a 110m hurdler and has had a superb year. Broke records indoors, broke records outdoors. Definitely knocking on the door for Tokyo 2020, that’s his main ambition now.
“Elizabeth Morland from Cushinstown in Meath, (will be) the first Irish girl to go over 6000 points probably in the heptathlon.
“If you put all of her personal bests together right now in the seven individual events, she would have a qualifying score for the Olympic games.”
Morland, who is an Education and Training student at DCU Institute of Education has her sights set on the next couple of years.
“Future goals would be European U23s next year, it’s definitely going to be a strong field with younger athletes coming up and the older athletes ahead of me so that’ll definitely be an aim”, she said.
“Of course, Tokyo 2020, it’s going to be a big ask. The Heptathlon is so strong across the world, but hopefully I can get there. It’ll be hard, but I’ll try my best.”
Similarly, Behan has his future goals in place, including Tokyo 2020. “Yeah definitely, it’s kind of become a bit real now that we’re at the halfway point in between two championships, so, I’ve fully transitioned into senior championships now.
“I’m hoping now for a European indoors with a couple of changes this year, bring down my indoor time and aim for that championships but the sights are definitely on the world universities in the summer, see where we go from there.”
Image Credit: Ian Brennan