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Illawarra’s reputation as a beach sprinting powerhouse was enhanced at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships at Blacksmiths Beach last weekend.

In an encouraging sign it was two of the area’s smallest clubs who produced gold medallists with Bellambi’s Brandon Morkos (U14 Male Sprint) and Towradgi’s Lola Sossai (U12 Female Flags) standing on top of the podium after their respective events.

“I’m delighted to get that win as it’s a great way to end my time in juniors. Now it’s time to move on and come back next year I can hopefully get that gold again,” said Brandon Markos.

“I was actually pretty nervous before that race with the rain starting to come down but it disappeared right before the start so that was good. It was a good track to run on as it’s copped a lot of rain over the last few days.

“It was a good race for the smaller clubs (Bateman’s Bay Geordie Kemp claimed bronze) and shows that we can match it with our bigger rivals,” he said.

Helensburgh-Stanwell Park finished the weekend with two bronze medals courtesy of Jack Bridges (U14 Male Beach Flags), and Maddison Agnew (U12 Female Beach Sprint).

Competing in her first ever State Titles, Emma Trudgett (Kiama Downs) finished with a bronze medal in the U9 Female Beach Flags.

Other Illawarra athletes to medal include Tobias Delaney (Wollongong City) who finished third in the U12 Male Beach Flags, and Reyne Fennell who powered home to silver in the U13 Male 1KM Beach Run.

The best performing club in the water was Bulli SLSC. Grac e Crittenden surged home on a wave to nab silver in the U10 Board Race while the team of Imogen James, Jazz Munro, Chelsea Jones, and Sarah Locke teamed up to earn bronze in the U11 Female Board Rescue.

There was more success for Bulli in the U13 Mixed Cameron Relay when the team powered home to finish a very close second behind eventual winners Wanda, while Lucas Ottaway finished with an individual bronze in the U13 Male Surf Race.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon felt that despite the challenges of the weather and the conditions it was a highly successful competition for the young athletes.

“I would like to congratulate everyone for what was an extremely successful State Age Championships. It was certainly played in the right spirit, and all the Nippers, their families, and their clubs can look back with pride on what has been a fantastic surf sport season.

“Some of our older Nipper competitors will now go on to get their first taste of national level racing at next month’s Australian Championships while our younger ones can look forward to an exciting finish with their club season,” Mr Pidgeon said.

2017 Age Championship Club Point Score:

• Manly LSC 349

• Wanda SLSC 201

• Elouera SLSC 194

• Cooks Hill SLSC 192

• Swansea Belmont SLSC 135

• North Curl Curl SLSC 107

• North Bondi SLSC 94

• Coogee SLSC 94

• Cronulla SLSC 90

• South Maroubra SLSC 89


Wednesday 8 March 2017