Featured News Touch footy star’s scholarship first

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Tue, 14 Mar 2023

Touch footy star’s scholarship first

2023 JCU Elite Athlete Scholarship recipient Madeleine Wallace.
2023 JCU Elite Athlete Scholarship recipient Madeleine Wallace.

A Townsville student with a long list of representative honours in touch football is set to take her career to new heights thanks to a scholarship from James Cook University.

Madeleine Wallace, 17, is the first Medicine student to be named as a recipient of the JCU Elite Athlete Scholarship, which provides $30,000 to elite athletes from north Queensland to complete a university qualification.

Ms Wallace, who has represented touch teams for North Queensland, Queensland and the national youth squad over the past seven years, is thrilled to have received the scholarship as she plans a busy year balancing her representative career with her study commitments.

“It’s an enormous help,” she said.

“Obviously with studying Medicine, I’m not going to be able to work that much, and it’s so expensive to travel down south to compete.”

Playing as a middle on the field in Townsville’s A-grade touch competition, Ms Wallace said she had loved the game ever since she first put on a jersey as a six-year-old.

“There’s always something new to learn and different to do and that’s what I like about that game. It’s so dynamic,” she said.

“As a middle, you have to be fit and run constantly. I do a lot of my training under fatigue to replicate a game where you would be feeling that in the second half.”

Ms Wallace said one of the many highlights of her career was being selected for the national youth squad, which saw her attend two training camps at the Gold Coast last year and this year.

“Getting the opportunity to play with players from other states like New South Wales, who play a different style of touch to us, was awesome,” she said.

“I’ve learnt so much and I’ve definitely improved from those camps.”

Ms Wallace will use her scholarship funds to attend three major touch tournaments this year as she works to earn another call-up to the national squad.

“Having this scholarship is such an amazing help for me to be able to afford to travel to these major competitions,” she said.

“It means that I can continue to play at an elite level. My goal is to play in the Open Australian team one day.”

JCU Elite Athlete University Co-ordinator Wade Sinclair said Ms Wallace’s scholarship application was exceptional in both her academic and sporting achievements.

“What stood out with Madi was her success over a long period of time,” he said.

“To do that throughout high school, achieve such a great ATAR and then to venture into Medicine is a real achievement in itself.

“We’re excited by the prospect of having Madi continue to be successful not only in her studies but in her sporting career.”

JCU Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education, Professor Maree Dinan-Thompson said Ms Wallace was a star on and off the field.

“Madi is a true example of the University’s commitment to northern Queensland students who train and stay in their regions through supporting excellence in both sporting and academic endeavours,” Prof Dinan-Thompson said.