Outsiders? break Nudgee mould
By TONY WHITE
AFTER competing for Queensland's Nudgee College at the Head of the River on Saturday, best mates and promising oarsmen Rohan Hislop and Matt Cooper were happy to be back rowing for their home club at Sunday's Grafton Rowing Club regatta.
The two teenagers recently won sports scholarships to attend Nudgee College. They had just returned from a week's training camp with their new school.
The former Maclean High students are the first 'outsiders' to be awarded rowing scholarships at the Brisbane-based school noted for its rowing prowess.
Hislop, 16, and 15-year-old Cooper on Sunday turned out for Lower Clarence for the second day of the annual regattas on the Clarence River.
"The boys were really excited," Hislop's mother, Jenny Jacques, said.
"The school (Nudgee) have been very supportive allowing the boys to compete with their local club.
"They were very happy to be back with their family and will stay home until heading to College next year."
Hislop was discovered as a potential rower at a North Coast Academy of Sport talent identification program around 16 months ago.
Both lads have been rowing for only a short period, but have taken to the water with amazing aptitude.
Hislop and Cooper clashed in the men's intermediate single scull, with Hislop beating his friend by 4.48sec.
On a massive program, 83 events were staged on Sunday.
Clarence Valley teams won 37 individual and team races.
The majority of school rowers who competed at the Head of the River stayed on to contest a series of events.
Some of the highlights included Lower Clarence's Leah Saunders and Nicole Depiante winning divisions of the womens Under-15 single scull, Rachael See and Saxon Ramon, also from Lower, winning divisions of the women's intermediate single scull, Grafton's Hemphill brothers, Martin and Lewis, combining to win the mens handicap double scull final, Isaac Bolton and Liam Ryan (LC) winning divisions of the men's Under-15 single scull, Lower and Grafton High clean sweeping the womens Under-15 double scull, Nicole West (LC), Rhiannon Faulkner (LC) and Ashleigh Peppernell (South High) winning divisions of the womens Under-17 single scull, Brenton Ford (Grafton), Martin Hemphill (Grafton) and Luke McBeath (Grafton) winning divisions of the men's open single scull and Ford and Michael McCann (Grafton) winning divisions of the men's Under-17 single scull.
Considering the high calibre of opposition the locals perfor- mances were first rate.