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A 50-strong team of student-athletes is primed to represent The University of Queensland in three sports at the first UniSport Nationals Div 2 event on the Gold Coast.

UQ Div 2 team captain Michaela Shuttleworth (photo: Emily Davies)

The inaugural Nationals Div 1 and 2 events – formerly known as Uni Games – will feature a promotion and relegation format to crown Australia’s champion universities.

Team UQ will compete in basketball, touch football and volleyball from 1 to 5 July, with women’s volleyball player Michaela Shuttleworth selected as Div 2 team captain.

Shuttleworth told UQ Contact Magazine the Nationals’ new structure would help improve team morale as the competition became more serious.

“There’s already a sense of pride when we wear our UQ team colours,” she said.

“But being able to lead these teams into a more prestigious event motivates me more to perform well and inspire others.

“This year is the first time in four years that UQ has entered a women’s indoor volleyball team, so I’m hoping we can get the team into Div 1 for next year’s competition.”

Touch footballer Dean Bichel said UQ’s men’s team was confident of gaining promotion.

“Previous Uni Games campaigns have been disappointing for UQ men’s touch, with guys unavailable and injuries to key players during the tournament,” he said.

“We’re hoping to build a winning culture by retaining seasoned campaigners such as Ben Seeney and Connor Clancy, as well as blooding new players to take over the reins as many of our senior core are finishing their degrees in 2018.”

Nationals Div 2 finals will be streamed live on Thursday 5 July via UniSport’s website and social media channels.

Event highlights will be broadcast on Fox Sports throughout September and October.

Nationals Div 1 from 22 to 27 September will consist of 33 sports, with team events open only to the top 10 universities as ranked by UniSport.

Team UQ has qualified for 24 Div 1 sports following top-10 results at the 2017 Australian Uni Games.

Selected individual sports, such as athletics, golf, rowing and swimming, are included at the Div 1 level.

More than 10,000 student-athletes are expected to compete in the events in 2018.

A number of standalone Nationals competitions will be held throughout the year, including snow, T20 cricket and triathlon events.

Media: Jamie Mitchell, UQ Sport, JamieM@uqsport.com.au, 0423 785 752.