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Despite the disappointment of missing the podium there were a number of encouraging performances for Central Coast at the 2017 Interbranch Championship at Stockton last weekend.

The Coast team finished the two-day competition with 976 points trailing Sydney Northern Beaches, Sydney and Hunter in the overall standings.

The team was boosted by the inclusion of Jemma Smith back on hand after Australian duty and she relished the chance to be a leader despite her own tender years.

“It’s always great to be able to come back and race for the Central Coast, definitely one of the highlights of my year to be part of the team and Interbranch.

“I really had to sit down and refocus on the week but I am really glad I got the chance to compete,” Smith said.

Though only 18-years-of-age herself, Jemma is excited about the youngsters coming through.

“It is a bit strange looking down and seeing the O on my arm before I race and to not be youngster but I love training with the younger kids not only from my own club but across the Central Coast and to hopefully lead by example.

“There were quite a few from Umina who had the chance to pull on the Central Coast cap for the first time here this weekend, and it’s great to be a part of that.”

Smith made the most of her time wearing the cap winning the Open Ski race, 2nd in the Ironwoman and 3rd in the Board Race.

Other highlights for Central Coast athletes included the Terrigal pairing of Zak Van Dartel and Keaton Pollington who won the Open Surf Race and U15 Board Race respectively.

NSW Director of Surf Sport, Don van Keimpema, thanked the Stockton club and the Hunter Branch for hosting the Championships this year, and congratulated all the athletes, team managers, coaches and officials for their efforts.

“We’re hoping to build this event to be one of the premier events in the state. The team environment we had this weekend was absolutely fantastic,” he said.

NSW selectors will convene later this week to finalise the team that will contest the 2018 Interstate Championships in South Australia with an announcement expected in the coming days.

Additionally following the conclusion of the event, the venue for the 2018 Interbranch Championship was officially confirmed as Black Head SLSC on the Lower North Coast to be held next December. 


Friday 15 December 2017