Courtney Hancock . . . the rewards for hard work are already paying off for the star of the surf.
Courtney Hancock . . . the rewards for hard work are already paying off for the star of the surf.

Hard work pays off for Courtney

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

A MASSIVE year of hard work and great results has paid off again for Sawtell surf lifesaver Courtney Hancock when she was named as one of two of North Coast Academy of Sport's 2005 Athletes of the year.

Hancock tied with Cudgen swimmer Sara Marson for the award but despite her incredible success last season, she admits that being announced as the winner on Saturday came as a complete shock.

"I was so surprised because I was sitting there and there were so many great athletes from each sport at the presentation," she said.

"I was looking around and thinking 'He's pretty good at tennis, he might have a go at winning the award'."

It may have been a surprise to Hancock but those who've followed her results from last season closely would say they would struggle to find a more worthy recipient.

At last year's State titles, she won gold medals in both the Under 17 surf race and ironwoman races.

Hancock was then elected as the junior captain of the NSW surf life saving team.

In March she won the Australian Under 17 Ironwoman title while finishing fifth in the board final and 10th in the surf swim final as well as touring with the NSW Country team to New Zealand for a three carnival series where she won a number of ironwoman events.

The Athlete of the Year gong is a bonus award on top of the honours that Hancock has received through her chosen sport and she admits that since Saturday evening's award ceremony her already strong motivation has been given an extra boost.

"It felt pretty good getting it and I thought 'OK, I'm going to train a little bit harder' and it gives you a bit more confidence," Hancock said.

There's no time for rest in the foreseeable future for the John Paul College student as she will be be competing at the State titles in three weeks time and the nationals a fortnight after that.

Normally a break from her hours of training ensues after the national titles but this year there'll barely be any rest as Hancock chases a new goal.

"I usually go on a break for about four months and just do a bit of running," she said.

"I'll maybe only have a month off and keep training because I want to go in the Coolangatta Gold this year. That's pretty hard on your body so you have to train pretty hard for that."

Hancock's ultimate goal is to grab a spot in the Nutri Grain Ironman Series which she may have already grabbed if it weren't for a case of bad timing.

"At the start of the year they had a trial and I worked to go in that but I was sick," she said.

"I was very disappointed with that but I've got another year so that's what I'm really working towards, the Nutri Grain is the big one."



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