Amelia Ross and Nicola Owen on board with new direction

NEW TALENT: Nicola Owen and Amelia Ross will compete at the state age surf lifesaving titles this weekend. Picture: Peter Stoop NCH SPORT – Nicola Owen and Amelia Ross will compete in the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Ttles at Ocean Beach this weekend – shows them with their boards on Merewether Beach — 24th Feb 2014 photo by Peter Stoop
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NCH SPORT – Nicola Owen and Amelia Ross will compete in the NSW Surf Life Saving Age Ttles at Ocean Beach this weekend – shows them with their boards on Merewether Beach — 24th Feb 2014 photo by Peter Stoop

MEREWETHER duo Amelia Ross and Nicola Owen are hoping hard work and some tips from top board paddling coach Ross Blatchford can help them snare a medal for their club.

Their club is competing at the NSW Surf Life Saving State Age Championship this weekend.

Amelia and Nicola represent the Merewether club’s work to develop junior talent and match them with traditionally strong Hunter clubs such as Swansea-Belmont and Redhead.

The under-13 pair were part of the Hunter team at the NSW interbranch titles.

It was a rare double selection in an age group for Merewether.

The club’s junior activities co-ordinator, Mark Owen, said the achievement came from greater development.

The biggest change has been luring Blatchford to guide the likes of Amelia and Nicola, who will attempt to medal in the under 13s board relay at Ocean Beach on the weekend.

“We’ve got a coach now teaching board skills a couple of times a week and we’ve tried to lift the profile of a competition squad,” Owen said. “It’s a slow process. It takes a couple of years to get there but we’ve certainly made some big gains.

“We’re trying to expand on that for next year, with coaching for some swimming and beach running.”

Amelia and Nicola were fourth in the under 13 girls board rescue at the NSW interbranch titles.

Amelia was also fourth in the individual surf race and fifth in the ironperson.

She warmed up for the state titles at the Hunter Branch Championship at Caves Beach two weeks ago when she won the ironperson and board race and finished second in the swim.

Nicola was second in the board and third in the swim while the pair finished second in the board rescue and were part of runner-up efforts in the board relay and beach relay.

The girls are part of a strong Hunter assault on the state age titles, which start on Friday.

Redhead’s Bailey Proud and Catherine Hill Bay’s Lachlan Stanford starred in the under 14 boys section at the Hunter titles; they won three gold medals each.

Fingal Bay’s Maya Stewart claimed the sprint double in the under 14 girls.

Zach Morris (Swansea-Belmont), Kyle Lehmann (Catherine Hill Bay) and Heath Hall-Muir (Cooks Hill) will lead the Hunter charge in the under 12 boys after gold medals at Caves Beach.

Bella Williams (Cooks Hill) claimed four victories in the surf at Hunter in the under 11 girls division while the Cooks Hill trio of Saxon Coates, Fletcher Myers and Tom Sargeant dominated the boys section.

Grace Hewitt (Fingal Beach) and Erin Petitt (Swansea-Belmont) were standouts in the under 10 girls.

Blake Gribble, Blake Cook and Mitch and Jake Morris from Swansea-Belmont took all before them in the under 9 boys while Newcastle’s Jade Archer won four gold medals.

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