Cooks Hill Toast Of Hunter After Age Champs Success

Cooks Hill has reaffirmed their status as an emerging force at Nippers level after their meteoric rise continued in 2016 with a third place finish in the club championship at Ocean Beach – Umina last week.

Team Manager and club director of surf sports, Monique Williams said that while the result exceeded even their expectations, it was a just reward for everyone involved with the club. “Back in 2012 a club wide decision was made to develop a strategy to help us become a strong club within the Hunter Branch of Surf Life Saving,” Monique Williams said.

“A large part of this was focusing on our juniors and building up our numbers to ensure that we would continue to have a solid pathway right through to seniors and masters.”

“This focus has also helped other aspects of our club – such as producing more lifesavers and keeps up club spirit. We used to have a team of around 30 Nippers for State Age, now we’ve grown to 40-60 and at a local level it’s closer to 100,” she said.

There were a number of successful results for the Hunter based club over the course of the championships with the U13s enjoying a particularly successful weekend.

Fraya Konetschnick, Bella Williams, Thomas Sargeant, and Saxon Coates were part of the U13 water delegate, while Bella’s older sister Jade competed in the U14s and has recently been named the Hunter Representative for Junior Lifesaver of the Year.

All of these Nippers have been involved in lifesaving for several seasons and their passion for their club burns brightly.

“I really like the team spirit of Cooks Hills. Ever since U9s we’ve been focused on team events, and it’s great as it flows throughout the club,” said Jade Williams.

“I really enjoy the friendship of all ages. Everyone trains together from the young Nippers right through to Masters,” added younger sister Bella.

Thomas and Freya enjoy being part of the club environment, while Saxon says the opportunity to compete at a State Championships against the best lifesavers from around NSW is always a highlight.

“I really like all the training as it’s a great place to train and be part of,” said Thomas Sargeant.

“Cooks Hill is a fantastic club and I hope to be able to compete for them as long as possible and continue my development as an athlete,” said Freya Konetschnick.

“I love the challenge of competing against people from across the state. We normally only get to get to do that once a year so it’s a great chance to see how you’re going,” said Saxon Coates.

And all of these talented youngsters have an ambition to stay involved with their club for as long as possible – with the opportunity to begin patrolling their home beach looming on the horizon.

Their pride in their hometown club is perhaps most succinctly summed up by Jade Williams who is entering the final months of her Nippers career.

“I’m really happy to be named Hunter JLOTY winner in my final year of Nipper, but there’s a lot of expectations as we’ve done really well in the past. I just want to give a good account of myself and prove that Cooks Hill is a really strong club in a number of areas not just in sport,” she said.

Cooks Hill is a textbook example of how everyone working together to achieve a common goal can turn your fortunes around.

The journey to top three at the State Titles has been long with many twists and turns, but it is a story worth telling and with the State Champs returning to Hunter Waters in 2017 they will be out to ensure that their success continues for many seasons to come.

Photograph - Caves Beach competitors Jade Williams (U14s), Bella Williams (U13s), Fraya Konetschnick (13s),n Thomas Sergeant (U13s), Saxon Coates (U13s), and Monique Williams (Team Manager) are all smiles on the final day of the 2016 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships at Ocean Beach – Umina. b

Fri 11 Mar 2016