Port Outriggers gain national title17 May, 2012
Port Macquarie outriggers have capped their most successful season with a second consecutive gold medal at the National Outrigger Titles on the Sunshine Coast.
Paddling in the open mixed division, the Port Macquarie Maroro crew followed its 10km short course victory on Saturday with a courageous third placing in Sundayâ€™s 16km long course against 32 of the best mixed crews from around Australia.
A medal in the prestigious long course looked unlikely when the crew of Lauren Grant, Garth Norris, Wes Byrnes, Dave Bouldin, Karen Newman and Fiona Baker found itself in sixth place midway through the race.However, with a combination of grit and superior steering and surfing skills, the Port team passed three rivals on the final leg to sneak into the placings.
A Maroro womenâ€™s crew of Sue Blackmore, Lyn Lovering, Kim Roberts, Karan Bland, Kerry Owens and Chay Harihi also took on the countryâ€™s best and finished 13th in the 14km womenâ€™s long course.
Coach Lauren Grant said she was enormously proud of the clubâ€™s achievements on the weekend.
â€œWe were delighted to win the short course open mixed title in a relatively small field, but the spirit we showed to claw our way back in a hotly contested long course was probably the most satisfying aspect of the weekend,â€ she said.
â€œTo finish the season with two medals at the National titles is a fitting reward for the effort that these guys have put in all season.
â€œOur womenâ€™s team also fought hard and performed well against the cream of Australiaâ€™s female paddlers.
â€œWe have certainly improved as a club this season and that will be our challenge again next summer,â€ Grant said.
The weekendâ€™s results follow victories for Port Macquarie at the NSW titles and the coveted Gold Coast Cup over the past month.