For the 7th year running, Surrey are Varsity champions! For those of you who aren’t aware of what Varsity is, it is Surrey’s biggest and best sporting event of the year. For the past 6 years, we competed against Kingston University, and this year was the first time we went head to head against Royal Holloway.


The day is action-packed and full of matches where you can watch a wide variety of Team Surrey sports compete, starting at 11am and finishing with the big Basketball match. After this, everyone continues the day-drinking into the night at Citrus, which has a crazy atmosphere after the day of success.


It is also one of the few occasions where drinking from 11am is completely acceptable, as long as you are cheering Surrey on in true blue and gold spirit. (It is also highly probable that you will end up getting face-painted at some point during the day, often because of the day-drinking).


Throughout the day, we caught up with various members of the competing teams, including one of the opposition.


Karate (President, VP and other members of the team and committee)


Are you guys Varsity virgins?

We all are. This is the first year we have competed; Kingston didn’t have a karate club. We’re really excited about the fact that we are here.


Is it a tough training regime for you all?

We train 3 times a week; it’s quite intense!


What have you loved about today?

We loved putting on a display for everyone, as we’re not sure a lot of people know what we’re really about. A lot of people confuse us with Taekwondo! So it’s good to show everyone what we’ve got.


Just to clarify for anyone who’s unsure, what is the difference between the two?

Taekwondo is Korean, Karate is Japanese. That’s the main difference! Taekwondo, from what I understand, is more about the legs, whereas karate is more of a balance of legs and hands.


What do you love in particular about your sport?

For me, when you’re walking onto the mat, it’s the atmosphere. When you’re fighting, you feel invincible. You’ve got so much support around you, and the team spirit is unbelievable. The people around you are so nice, it is really lovely. The people are what makes it special for all of us; when you’ve got such a good team, everyone is supporting you. We’re not a huge club, but we’ve got a really nice community. We started in 2012, so we are still quite small, but we grew a lot last year. Anyone is welcome to come along, and we hope to see some new faces!


Carlota Rodriguez (Women’s Lacrosse)



Who are you outside the court?

My name is Carlota, I’m Spanish and I lived in Madrid my whole life, until I moved to the UK when I was 17 years old to study here, at Surrey. I’m a second year International Hospitality Management student, who’s single and ready to pringle! I love cooking, eating good food, reading and painting. I love travelling as well, or even just going out and meeting up with friends.


What made you fall in love with this sport?

I’ve always been a very sporty and active person. I’ve done tennis, padel, surf, running, and also skiing and horse-riding. So in my first year here, I just went to the gym, but in my second year I decided I had to join a sports club. Many people had said that Lacrosse was very fun, so I tried it at Fresher’s Faire, and I really liked it! And then after a couple of training sessions, the girls were so nice that they made it even more enjoyable. In fact, I think I only missed one training session in the whole semester! I love that it requires running a lot, and a little bit of contact when checking with the sticks.


Are you a Varsity virgin?

Yes, I lost it this year! Last year I just came along to support friends and have a ‘few’ drinks.


Anyone special cheering for you?

Yes, many friends! My flatmates, my best friend, some other course mates, and all the men’s team who are all cheering and being very supportive.


Show me your love for Surrey?

Should I show my bum for that? #surreynotsorry


Stan Sexton (Men’s Volleyball)


Tell me about yourself outside the court?

I’m a second year undergrad studying Accounting and Finance which you would think meant I’d be good at managing my money, but it doesn’t; I’m pretty broke. Despite this, I pretty much live off pizza, beer and Netflix. If I’m not doing any of those things, I’m probably playing volleyball.


What made you fall in love with this sport?

I’ve only been playing volleyball for a few years but I do love playing it. It first started when I was on holiday and I played beach volleyball for the first time. I ended up going everyday and meeting the same people and we always had a great time drinking and playing. I’ve played volleyball ever since and it’s still as fun as it always has been.


Are you a Varsity virgin?

Nope, I sort of played in last year’s Varsity against Kingston. Kingston however didn’t have a team, and we ended up scheduling a league match against Essex University for the day of Varsity. Essex had a very strong squad and we lost, but we still took part in all the midday drinking that Varsity makes it acceptable to do.


Anyone special cheering for you?

Anyone cheering me on is special to be honest, it’s great to see the amount of people that supported us this year and I hope it continues to grow next year and the year after when I come back from placement.


Show me your love for Surrey?



Adam Adamou (Men’s Volleyball)

Are you a Varsity virgin?

This is actually my second year taking part in Varsity. But this year I played more of a key role than last year, so I enjoyed it a lot.


Why do you love Volleyball?

I love it because it’s a team inclusive sport; it’s unique and all its aspects are different. It’s exciting and with all the guys playing in the team – we’re all like a big family. That’s what I love the most.


What position do you play, and what does it involve?

I play as a middle hitter, and it’s always about expecting the unexpected. I always have to be quick in the air and one of the most aggressive hitters. So we have to try to score as many points as we can.


What makes it special for you?

Just that it is a sport that I love. Football is my main sport, but volleyball is different. And the way that the university team is run has always been very special to me. And yeah, I love playing this sport.


How long did it take you to become familiar and comfortable with the sport?

I would say volleyball takes a few years to become good at. It requires a lot of commitment. I started to play around the age of 16 and then in University I picked it up a lot more, which helped me become comfortable with the team. You got to put in a lot of hard work and dedication.


What would you like to say to people that don’t know much about volleyball?

Get involved. Try it! It’s the most fun thing to do for beginners. You got to start somewhere. Just get in a team with a group of friends and you are going to love the game.


How are you going to celebrate your win against Royal Holloway?

Well I actually have an exam at 9am tomorrow, but I will most likely make it to Rubix tonight, like the rest of the team. It’s a once in a year thing, so it should be done!



Briony Clarke (Cheerleading)


Tell me about yourself outside the court?

I’m Briony, a final year Business and Retail Management student and current Vice-Captain of the Cheerleading Squad. I love to binge watch crap TV on Netflix, chill and be with friends – I’m a pretty standard uni student!


What made you fall in love with this sport?

I never expected to love cheerleading, but I tried it at an Active Fresher’s Fayre session and just fell in love with it! It requires strength, discipline, teamwork and unique skills that I could not have picked up anywhere else. Your team is your family, and that is what makes me love this sport!


Are you a Varsity virgin?

Oh honey, no – this is not my first time at the rodeo!


Anyone special cheering for you?

All my Angels cheer for each other and there is no set of people I would rather be on the mat with!


Show me your love for Surrey?




Natalie Wu (Cheerleading)

Tell me about yourself outside the court?

I’m a second year Business Management student. I love Starbucks and Jägerbombs.


What made you fall in love with this sport?

I love the immense amount of love and trust that comes with Cheerleading! It’s like being part of a sisterhood. Plus, our kit is adorable!


Are you a Varsity virgin?

This was my first time competing at Varsity, but I was there cheering on Team Surrey last year.


Anyone special cheering for you?

Alex, Pookey, Stephen, Gleb. Thanks for the support guys!


Show me your love for Surrey?

Is it too late now to say Surreeeyyyy!


Royal Holloway Pole Fitness President and Social Secretary


Are you a Varsity Virgin?

Yeah we are.


Why do you love it?

President: I believe it is just different. It requires a lot of diverse types of strength that you don’t know you have.

Social Sec: I think it gives you a lot of confidence as well; it’s a good boost of self-esteem. It is an individual sport, but at the same time you motivate yourself with your teammates.

President: It’s definitely all about body positivity; I’ve seen women up to the age of 50 doing it and they are all flawless. And I’m honestly jealous of them. It’s a positive thing.


How long have you both been doing this?

President: A year now; it’s quite a new society at Royal Holloway.

Social Sec: I think because it’s a new society, it just needs to be made bigger and better.

President: We created this society because I remember the pole-dancing team wanting to make it accessible for everyone, as pole dancing is still a taboo thing.

Social Sec: Even I remember the first time I joined, I was like ‘oh this sounds a bit taboo’.


What do you think about it being considered ‘taboo’ in 2017?

President: We are focusing a lot on pole fitness. You don’t have to be sexy or provocative. Honestly at this point, in my pole journey, I have such an appreciation for strippers.


How long did it take you to become comfortable with pole fitness?

President: I wouldn’t say I am 100% comfortable now, to be honest. It’s just such a big part of my life, and I love it so much that I just do it for myself.

Social Sec: Yes, and it’s also the support of people around you that motivates you. And the fact that at the beginning you are like ‘no there is no way I can do this’. But you just got to remember that you must take it one step at a time.


Any final words that you want to say to those who don’t know anything about pole fitness?

Social Sec: I recommend they give it a go!

President: Yes, definitely!

Social Sec: And beat the stigma! And boys can do it too!

President: I have seen a few pros and they are like wow!


Some of Varsity 2o17 best moments

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Text, photography and post-production by Olivia Mitchell

Interviews conducted by Olivia Mitchell, Stan Bertheol and Elpida Komianou.