UNSW's 2021 Uni Nationals Athletics team, Instagram - UNSW Athletics
UNSW's 2021 Uni Nationals Athletics team, Instagram - UNSW Athletics
Among those athletes include Australian para-record holders James Tirado and Paralympian Tamsin Colley, fifth place in the 2022 Australian women’s 400 metre hurdles, Gen Cowie, and men’s 400m finalist Liam Webb.

All four of whom are vying for national selection at the Oceania Championships, mid-year in Mackay.

But for 21-year-old Douglas, and her teammates, wearing the UNSW uniform is far more than just a chance to advance credentials.

“I think all of the UNSW EAP athletes in the athletics club, and scholars, are just so thankful,” said Douglas, "and they wear the uniform with pride.”

“I came through with one of my good friends, pole vaulter Anastasia Williams, and we were both good, but we weren't Olympians. (So) being given the opportunity by UNSW was just lovely for both of us. 

“I'm always quite proud and also thankful to just be in that uniform and having the uni tell you that you're good enough at zoning to give you a scholarship is always just so (wonderful) to hear.”

Among those who also competed at the recent national titles were under 20 triple jumper Alexandra York and long jumper Kobi Sharp, the two field athletes selected for the Gold Coast.

And with the event being held in Queensland this year presents an opportunity the team was not afforded in Sydney, in recent years. 

“It's been hard to get that team dynamic when it's in Sydney and everyone staying by themselves at home,” said Douglas, who is also the UNSW team manager as well as competing.

“It'll be nice (having) everyone getting to know each other and spending some quality time together.”

In her final year of an exercise physiology degree, Douglas is also President of the UNSW Athletics Club which has doubled in numbers since last year, emerging from two tumultuous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, while the squad of 14 may pale in comparison to powerhouses like Sydney University and University of Melbourne, in spirit and in talent, UNSW is a “force to be reckoned with”.

“Last year with six women, and I was one of them and couldn't compete (due to injury), so five women, and we were fourth (of 25 universities) on the ladder,” Douglas said, “which is incredibly crazy.”

Just half a point from University of Melbourne in third. 

“And I think the guys did really well as well … in the top ten with again, a really tiny team.

“We don't have the numbers, but what we lack in numbers, we definitely make up for in talent,” she said.

These Uni Nationals will be extra special for Douglas being her last.

“2020 was cancelled for COVID obviously, then 2021, I was devastated I couldn't compete,” breaking her right foot at the Australia Track and Field Championships in the lead-up.  

“I'm very, very excited to be running in 2022, especially the relays.

“I will run the full hurdles because it's my event. But the relays are where (you have) the most fun and where you feel like you make the most difference I think.

“I've always felt like I've got something to give back to UNSW. They gave me the Ben Lexcen for my first two years of uni, and I'm still on scholarship now … I’ve always really loved being given the opportunity to compete for UNSW.”

2022 UNSW Uni Nationals Athletics Team, 19-21 April, Gold Coast
Alexandra York, Triple Jump, Long Jump & sprinter
Genevieve Cowie, 400m Hurdles
Jessica Guo, 1500m runner 
Ben Muston, 800m runner
Liam Webb, 400m runner
James Tirado, Para-100m sprinter (competing in open men's next week)
Timothy Churchill, Javelin
Noah Krecklenberg, middle-distance runner
Kobi Sharp, Long Jump
Sophia Cibei, 100m Hurdles
Luke McKay, Sprinter
Susie Douglas, 400m Hurdles
Max Holmes, 400m runner
Tamsin Colley, Para-100m & 200m sprinter