Sawtell girls strike gold
By DAVID MOASE
SAWTELL trio Kayla Russell, Bonnie Hancock and Courtney Hancock didn't have to wait long to grab gold at the Westpac NSW Surf Life Saving Championships at Cronulla yesterday.
The golden girls hit the water just after 9am on the first day of the championships and raced away with the under-19 board relay final.
Bonnie Hancock led off the relay and despite being hit by a big wave soon after the start had the North Coast girls in the leading pair at the first change.
Russell took over for the team in the black and white caps and started level with her Manly rival but soon powered to the lead.
The Bishop Druitt College student stretched that advantage paddling around the buoys and then caught a wave back to the beach that put gold within the team's grasp. It was then up to Courtney Hancock to hold the advantage, something she achieved comfortably ? and more.
As she crossed the finish line, Sawtell's nearest rivals were struggling about 80 metres behind.
"The other girls set it up for me, they're great paddlers," Courtney said.
The Sawtell girls had earlier decided to knock back their strong chance of winning the open board relay to concentrate on the under-19 event and to save their strength for what promises to be a taxing schedule over the next two days.
n Read Sports Monday for the latest news from the NSW Championships.