Inverness College UHI students honoured in Sporting Blues Awards

The University of the Highlands and Islands and the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) have recognised five Inverness College UHI students in their Sporting Blues Awards.

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Douglas Carchrie

The annual awards acknowledge the sporting excellence of the university partnership’s students and alumni.

The 2020 winners from Inverness College UHI are:

  • Stephen Mackay (athletics), Full Blues Award
  • Faye McInnes (archery), Full Blues Award
  • Abbie McNally (athletics), Full Blues Award
  • Douglas Carchrie (mountain biking), Half Blues Award
  • Rhys Langlands (climbing), Half Blues Award

Florence Jansen, HISA President, said: “It is incredibly rewarding to showcase exceptional sporting achievements like that of our 2020 winners and we hope their success inspires more students to participate in sports. HISA is proud to be able to celebrate our students who have excelled outwith their studies, and we are especially proud of the positive change our students’ commitments have brought to their development and future careers.”

Dr Iain Morrison, Dean of Students at the University of the Highlands and Islands, added: “These honours have been awarded to some truly exceptional people, who are somehow able to combine their studies and other commitments with elite-level performance and competition in their sporting discipline. We are proud of each one of them and hope that their success will inspire their fellow students to similar heights, as well as further establishing the University of the Highlands and Islands as a great place to study for those participating in sport.”

Former Inverness College UHI student and Scottish Rugby star Jade Konkel also received an Honorary Blue, awarded to athletes connected with the University who have made outstanding contributions to Scottish, British or world sport. Jade studied HNC Social Care at Inverness College UHI in 2012. She played for Hillhead Jordanhill, where she became Scottish Rugby’s first full-time female player in 2016, before playing in the Top 8 French Championship, later moving to English Premiership Club, Harlequins.

The 2020 Inverness College UHI winners:

Stephen Mackay: Full Blues Award

Stephen is an HND Soft Tissue Therapy student at Inverness College UHI. He started competing in track and field at the age of 18. He achieved personal bests in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m last year, breaking the Inverness Harriers 1500m club record which has stood for 36 years. He has won multiple national medals and competed in two British Championships and World Championship trial events this year.

Stephen said: “The university has provided invaluable support to me this year through its Elite Athletes Fund. All my lecturers have also been flexible around my workload, allowing me to go to competitions and attend training camps whilst still achieving my academic aims.”

His long-term goal is to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Faye McInnes: Full Blues Award

Faye is a 3rd year BSc (Hons) Sport and Fitness student at Inverness College UHI. She started competing in archery field events at the age of 6. As well as representing the University in target shooting, Faye has won the Scottish Field Archery Championships, The Scottish Indoor Field Archery Championships, The Highland Open and the Scottish Indoor University Championships over the past year. She has also represented Scotland at the European Field Championships, shooting three personal bests, and finishing 8th overall. As well as competing in the sport, she’s also a level 2 field coach and helps coach beginners at Inverness Field Archery Club.

She said: “I would love to raise awareness of archery within the university and get a full team together to go and compete in the University league matches.”

Abbie McNally: Full Blues Award

Abbie completed the HNC in Coaching and Developing Sport at Inverness College UHI this year. Abbie is a para-athlete and member of Inverness Harriers, specialising in the 100m, 200m and long jump. She first got involved in the sport after competing in a Highland Disability Sport athletics competition in May 2015. She landed silver medals in the 100m (with a personal best) and 200m at the World Para Junior Champs in Switzerland last August. She also took gold in the 200m and bronze in the 100m at the British Under-20 Championships in Bedford last September.

Douglas Carchrie: Half Blues Award

Douglas Carchrie graduated from our BSc (Hons) Geography at Inverness College UHI this year. He has been mountain biking competitively since 2007, initially competing in the cross-country discipline before moving to enduro racing. He’s represented the University at the Scottish Student Enduro Championships for the past two years, taking 2nd place both times. He also qualified to race in the Enduro World Series in 2019, competing against the best riders in the world.

Rhys Langlands: Half Blues Award

Rhys is a 3rd year BSc (Hons) Sport and Fitness student at Inverness College UHI. He’s been addicted to climbing ever since he was introduced to the sport at the age of 3 by his dad. He attended his first competition at the age of 9 and has been competing in sport climbing, bouldering and speed climbing ever since.

He said: “I spend most of my time at weekend competing and rock climbing and the rest of my week training at home and at the local climbing wall.