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High Performance Academy students


Taylor Gaffney
MA Sports Broadcast Journalism

I am from the USA and basketball has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am so honoured and grateful to have been given the opportunity to bring both my academic and athletic talents to Solent University. My goal is to excel both on and off the court, while building relationships and staying focused towards achieving my goals. I'm extremely excited to come to Solent to study and play basketball in the UK, and I cannot wait to represent Team Solent Kestrels.


Charlotte Videlo
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy

I am looking forward to starting my degree at Solent and being able to use the excellent training facilities. I have represented Great Britain in a range of dinghies at international level and am part of the British Youth Sailing Team. I am currently sailing an ILCA 6 (formerly known as the Laser Radial) and am in the top three of the women's U19s in the country. My ambition is to represent Great Britain at a senior level.


Kemel Archer
MA Sport Management

I am truly blessed to be back in the UK. I was born but not raised here, so this is an exciting chapter in my life, being able to come back and complete my master's at Solent University, while playing for Team Solent Kestrels.


Gregoire Durand
BSc (Hons) Business Management with Finance

I am profoundly thankful for the opportunity to study at Solent University, and I look forward to representing Solent both athletically and academically. Basketball has afforded me numerous opportunities and has opened doors for me to continue my education while playing. After spending a year studying and playing in Texas, I am grateful to be awarded another scholarship by Solent University. I look forward to improving on and off the courts, while representing the University to the best of my ability.


Andrew Knight
BSc (Hons) Sport Coaching

I am a national-level under-23 shot putter who has been involved in athletics for over seven years. I am currently ranked ninth in the country in the senior rankings. I have medalled at multiple under-15, -17 and -20 national competitions, such as English schools and national championships, with the hope of medalling at the British championships next year, and achieving the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard.


Alexander Vaughan
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology

I am very grateful to have been offered a scholarship at Solent and look forward to representing the University as a basketball player. I've been playing basketball since the age of 13 and have been representing the Canterbury Academy for three years. I aim to excel in both basketball and my chosen degree, so as to achieve my future goals. In order to do this, I will ensure I constantly challenge myself to improve on and off the court.


Saffie Jarju
BA (Hons) Criminal Investigation with Psychology

I have been hooked on basketball since I was 13, after a training day at John Madejski Academy. Since then I have played for WEABL, Reading Rockets U14s to Division 1, five years for the South region, and was selected twice for the England camps. When I started university, I joined the BUCS Solent team and Division 1 Solent Kestrels. I am so excited and thankful to receive this scholarship and can't wait for the season to begin.


Abdul-Quadir Oladipupo
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy

I am really excited to see what year two at Solent has in store for me. I can't wait to be back on the course, competing with my team-mates again. I am very enthusiastic about representing Solent University as a basketball player. I feel blessed to be where I am today because of basketball - it has given me the opportunity to be passionate, and for that I am forever thankful. I can't wait to get to work and achieve my goals with my fellow team-mates.


Tyler Johnson
MSc Sport Science and Performance Coaching

I've been playing basketball since I was 12 years old. It has allowed me to play all over England and in America. I've played for the NASSA, Stoke-on-Trent Knights, Team Newcastle Knights,a nd had some brief experience with the London Lions. Currently I play BUCS Prem for UEL and D2 for NASSA. I look forward to coming to Solent University for my degree and to represent Team Solent Kestrels, and to continue my pursuit of a professional basketball career.


Hannah Peachy
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy

I am delighted to have been offered a sports scholarship at Solent University to study, alongside representing the University at football, and I am excited to get started. During my time at Swindon Town, I had the opportunity to play abroad in Sweden, where I captained my team to win the cup at Dallas and Barcelona. I was scouted for Swindon Town's Centre of Excellence at the age of nine and progressed right through to under 16s.


Wilma Harrysson
BSc (Hons) Sport Management

I'm happy and excited to join Solent University for my degree, and am very thankful and feel privileged to represent Team Solent Kestrels. I am a basketball player from Sweden and have played since 2011. Memories, new friends and a fun time are things I have experienced in basketball. I look forward to making some new memories with the Kestrels and having an amazing time here.


Caitlin Peters
BSc (Hons) Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science

I'm really looking forward to starting my degree at Solent University. Although not a sports-specific degree, I'm excited to further expand my knowledge by studying and fun and interesting degree, as well as representing the University in some cycling races. I'm an international cyclist, competing in both the road and time trial disciplines, and have won over 20 National Championship titles in various disciplines. One of my proudest achievements was winning the National Hill Climb Championships in 2019.


Morgan Greene
MA Sport Management

I am looking forward to furthering my education at Solent University, as well as playing for Team Solent Kestrels. I am from the United States where I played for California State University East Bay. Some of my achievements include two CCAA championships, first team All-CCAA and two-time CCAA Player of the Week. Solent will give me the opportunity to gain knowledge academically and to improve as an athlete in order to reach my goal to play pro and become a coach.


Lauren Dabbs
BA (Hons) Physical Education

I can't wait to start at Solent University and begin my degree. I am also excited to join the team and become a Kestrel. I have been playing basketball since a very young age. I have been in the Charnwood college programme for three years and have played for Loughborough Riders in the division one league in the last two years. I aim to improve myself both on and off the court and to push myself to become the best player and team-mate I can be. I'm grateful for the opportunity.


Gabrielle Ewing
MA Sport Management

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue playing the sport I love while furthering my education at Solent University. I am from Hawaii and have been playing soccer since I was five years old. I played attacking midfielder for Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, while receiving my bachelor's degree. My greatest athletic achievements thus far have been being named the GNAC Player of the Year in 2018, as well as reaching All-American honours in 2018 and 2019.


Molly Danielson
MA Sport Management

I am overwhelmed by the amazing opportunity to receive my postgraduate degree at Solent University and represent Team Solent Kestrels women's basketball! I'm from Portland, Oregon, and competed at the Division III level at Linfield University. I finished as a lead rebounder and third-leading scorer in Linfield programme history and was selected to represent the USA on the 2019 National D3 Team tour to Brazil. I look forward to building relationships with my Solent family and competing in a new country.


Earl Thompson
MA Sport Management

My name is Earl Thompson Jr, but I go by EJ. I am an international basketball player from the US Virgin Islands. I am currently here in Southampton playing basketball for Solent University, and am excited to be getting my master's degree in sport management - my experience here has been amazing so far! I play a multitude of positions and hopefully can bring a lot to the team, including experience and leadership.


Elias Poorman
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy

I have been playing basketball for over 10 years. Playing internationally from the age of 15, I have learnt how to beat recurring injuries, which has supported my ongoing interest in sports therapy and rehabilitation. I'm grateful to Solent University for offering me a scholarship to learn my preferred course and play high-level basketball. Since my great experience from by previous year in the D1 Juco Midland College, I have been playing for the Kestrels in NBL D1 and for the BUCS first team.


Sam Akano
BSc (Hons) Sport Management

I am grateful to be offered a scholarship by Solent University. I previously played for Myerscough College and we won the European Youth Basketball League (EABL) and became EABL champions with an undefeated season. I can't wait to get on the court this season, and to meet my new team-mates. My goal for this year is to improve in all aspects of being a student and an athlete. I am currently NBL D2 and play for the BUCS first team and the Kestrels.


Aiden Harris
BSc (Hons) Sports Performance Coaching

At 16 I joined a semi-professional football academy at Basingstoke Town FC, where I was lucky enough to be given opportunities to play for the men's first team. My previous teams include Team Solent, Badshot Lea FC, and currently Tadley Cavella FC. Recent achievements include helping Tadley to reach their best and furthest stage in the FA Cup. My future aspirations and goals are to become a professional football player and ideally coach alongside it at an elite level.


Jack Stearman
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

I have represented Wiltshire County since playing at a junior level, and have received numerous awards during my time there - one big moment was winning Wiltshire Player of the Year at just 16 years of age. During my time at Solent I aim to develop both my skills and overall game, and to hopefully play first-class cricket, if not better. Hopefully we can go one better, having reached the BUCS Trophy semi-final last year.


Tom South
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology

I've represented Hampshire Academy since I was 14. My biggest achievement has been representing South and West England, where I scored 50 off 23 balls. I'm excited about my second season playing for Solent, and I hope to prove myself and gain a professional contract in my time here.


Kai Walker
BSc (Hons) Sports Performance Coaching

I have been playing basketball since I was 15. I would like to thank Solent University for offering me a scholarship to study, as well as competing as a basketball player! Within these three years I hope to grow as a person on and off the court. I am ready for the challenges I will have to face, and ready to work hard! I have had experience in NBL D1 and D2 for the Kestrels, as well as the BUCS first team.


Zac Mahamed
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science

I am currently a Great Britain international athlete, having represented the country at World and European levels. My achievements to date include being international champion twice back-to-back, winning the England U20 national cross-country title, becoming British champion, and winning one team gold medal at European level. I am hoping to continue to develop my athletics, preparing for the European U23 Championships in Bergen and the senior European cross-country in Turing during the 2021 season.


Jack Higgins
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy

I'm a 400-metre runner who also runs 200 metres. My best achievements to date would be third at the national indoor U20 for 400 metres, running at the Loughborough international meet, and getting fourth in both indoor and outdoor 400 metres at U17 age group. I also run for Southampton AC in the British Athletic League and the Southern Athletic League during the summer. I look forward to the opportunity to compete in BUCS this year.

Lex Damit, Solent high performance athlete

Lex Damit
BSc (Hons) Applied Sports Science

I am a Luxembourgish U23 international athlete. My achievements include competing for Luxembourg at the European U18 Championships and finishing sixth at the U18 IAAF World Championships in Nairobi. I'm the current U23 Luxembourg record holder in decathlon with 7072 points. I hope to improve my performance with the help of the high-performance team.

Ariana Dowse, Solent high performance athlete

Ariana Dowse
BA (Hons) Accountancy and Finance

I’m a Hampshire Academy and Southern Vipers athlete, training at the Ageas Bowl. During my time at Solent I’m aiming to achieve a professional contract. Recent memorable moments include going to the House of Lords to receive the trophy for winning Division 1 with Hampshire Women - I took the most dismissals in the country during that competition. Plus, scoring my first senior century – 106* off 111 balls.

Jennie Roberts, Solent high performance athlete

Jenny Roberts
BA (Hons) Festival and Event Management

I'm a windsurfer and have recently transitioned to the new Olympic class of windsurf foiling. This is where we fly one metre above the water on a hydrofoil and travel at much faster speeds than the original windsurfer. The support from the High Performance Academy this past year has allowed me to develop my fitness away from university while in lockdown,and to finish the first year of my degree while spending as much time training on the water as possible.

Peter Langton, Solent high performance athlete

Peter Langton
BA (Hons) Sport Coaching and Sport Development

I've been playing boccia since 2009. I am a BC2 in my classification and am the captain of Team Solent Boccia, where we train and take part in national competitions as a club. Individually I am in the Scorpions Academy within the Boccia England set-up, where their higher pathway body, Boccia UK tracks my progress and has set me a target of competing in the 2024 Paralympics, which I hope will happen. During lockdown (the first one!) I slightly improved, but I can't wait to get back on the court and do what I do best!

Prince Singh, Solent high performance athlete

Prince Singh
BA (Hons) Business Management

This is my final year in the High Performance Academy. Unfortunately the first year was the pandemic for everyone; however in year two we managed to reach the BUCS Trophy semi-final. I feel we have a great team dynamic, and most importantly, we have a very good coach. Hopefully, going into my third year, we can continue to win games for Solent.

Gareth Schreuder, Solent high performance athlete

Gareth Schreuder
BA (Hons) Sport Coaching and Sport Development

I feel so privileged to be able to study at Solent, and I'm really excited for the final year ahead when I will look to make the most of all the University has to offer. I hope to make a big impact on the cricket at Solent again this year as club captain. My goal is to one day get a contract with one of the counties in England.

Ebuka Ekwegh, Solent high performance athlete

Ebuka Ekwegh
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy

After an interesting start to my time in Southampton, I'm pleased to have carried on into my third year, studying alongside playing basketball. In my remaining time at Solent I will be challenging myself each day - a process which reminds me of my college days in Bristol where you study and play basketball with the end goal of improving each year. I am captain of the men's BUCS first team going into my final year, with high hopes of a successful season.

Harry Barkaway, Solent high performance athlete

Harry Barkaway
BA (Hons) Football Business Management

I am currently playing for Andover Town FC and the Solent Men's BUCS first team. I'm looking to develop further this season off the back of competing well last season for Solent University FC.

Ryan Helmkay, Solent high performance athlete

Ryan Helmkay
BA (Hons) Football Studies

I have previously played in the youth system at Mansfield Town FC from the age of 13 to 18. I then played men's semi-professional football from the age of 16, representing the Nottinghamshire county teams multiple times. I am now representing Solent men's BUCS first team.

Nathan Blackie, Solent high performance athlete

Nathan Blackie
MA Sport Science and Performance Coaching

I am currently studying for my master's, having completed my undergraduate degree at Solent in 2020. I compete in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 metres in the T34 classification for athletes with cerebral palsy. I competed for Great Britain at the IWAS World Junior Games in 2014, finishing fifth in the 100 metres. I also competed for Scotland in the 2015 CPISRA World Games, winning five gold medals, then won three silver and two bronze medals at the 2018 edition in Barcelona. I have medalled twice at BUCS nationals.

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