INNER REEF CLUB supports our prospects at the National Titles

~ Warwick Everingham

With the Australian Titles only a couple of weeks away, now is an ideal time to let you know of some of our prospects. I would also like to take the opportunity to make this a call to all of our supporters to fill those remaining INNER REEF tickets. The Inner Reef Club is an initiative designed to raise funds to directly support our younger members. In that regard it does assists to get some teams to the national titles. It has been well received so far but there are still a number of slots to be filled so I take the opportunity to ask you all to please support the Inner Reef Club.

122 club members are travelling north to represent Coogee at the Australian Surf Life Saving Titles at Kirra Beach in Queensland. 11 of these are officials or IRB crew, and 35 are parents. The rest, 76, are competitors and of these, 40 are juniors or cadets. While our masters will do very well, and we can be totally proud of our state champion patrol competition and champion lifesavers, and let’s not forget the boaties and our open beach relay team. But in keeping with my call to support the INNER REEF CLUB, I wanted to focus here on the young teams and individuals.

U15 R&R - Ruby Cuthbert, Estelle Davies, Jess Griffiths, Georgia Murphy, Eliza Twoomey. Chris Gately has started with some of these girls last season so they are not inexperienced but R&R does take a while to get a handle on. They have done pretty well so far. They are still Minnows yet, like our u14 sprinters, they have been competing in the U15’s event. They came third in the U14 and U15 events at Branch.

U17 R&R - Bronte Franklin, Maddie Gately, Tia Haes, Gen Luscombe, Xanthe Murphy, Emma Phibbs. The U17 girls have been competing at R&R last year and this. So they have some good experience. Last season they struggled with the swim at State but a year on and a year stronger we expect they can go well. Already this year they have competed in both the u17 and the u19 events so they not shy to have a go. They won the U17 mixed at Wanda and also the Open Womens. They were third placed at the branch titles and just out of the medals at State.

U17 Board Relay - Jamie Bargenda, Clayton Canterella, Ben Thornton. These lads are the first board relay team to make a state final in a decade or two. They are willing and they train hard but compete in a field that is very tough and has a huge element of luck involved. It will be hard work but we gotta keep an eye on them for sure.

U15 Girls Beach Relay team - Alice Morgan, Jess Thornton, Eliza Cotis, Olivia Karas,  Gabby Fagan. This is a new field for us entirely, a girls beach relay team. And we have worked hard to get them here. In their first run together they finished second at the state titles to Cronulla who have won the nationals for the last few years so we figure they can do well.  The thing is, of the five girls, four of them are still Minnows so will run again as U15’s again next season. They are anchored by the amazing Jessica Thornton who will be well backed in the sprint.

U15 Boys Beach Relay team  - Lachie Small, Tasman Short, Luke Bond,  Ben Kite, Jake Irvine. We have had U15 boys running for a few years now. Only a few seasons back we picked up a silver and this team is a great chance to also come back with a medal. Luke Bond might just as well be paddling a board but he has been clearly a real good sprint prospect for us and will run the first leg to Tasman Short. Tas is another lad form the Minnows who I ran into on patrol and asked if he could run. Sure can he said and so he has been our first leg but will move to second at Kirra. Tas also picked up a medal in the flags at The branch titles. Ben Kite and Lachie Small have been alternated in running the third leg and will do so again at the nationals. Jake Irvine came to us this year as a swimmer who could also run. He has had a go at both during the year but in April he will take them on as our anchor and best sprint leg in the U/15's.

The other U15 Boys Beach Relay team - Will Todd, Billy Ryan, Hugh France, Jack Kofod, Will Harrison. Well, this team are all Minnows and are running this year in prep for next season when they will still all be U15’s. These lads reflect the effort put in this season working with the Minnows. We had numerous coaches from the junior club, all trained up in surf sports coaching and working alongside our senior runners who also acted as coaches for various teams. Unfortunately for Coogee, the beach relays were all cancelled at the State Age Titles and these were our favoured events. We woulda smashed em!! At least our Under 14 boys and girls will be getting a run. The work done with the Minnows on the beach needs to be duplicated in other areas next season. The Minnows beach teams have been a good starting point and a great learning effort for us this year. Should also mention Billy Ryan will have a run in the 2K race and may do well. Will Harrison, while still very young will also go well in the sprint.

U17 Boys Beach Relay Team - Tom Fagan, Ben McDonald, Sean O'Byrne, Jackson Deans-Harvey,   This team are under no pressure at all. They have already had a great season with a silver medal at State. This team were all under 15’s last year and struggled to get anywhere near any other team at all. They failed to make the final at the aussies. Only their first year into the U17’s they have surprised us all by going so well. And they have done this by turning up to every training session. The work has payed dividends, especially for young Tom Fagan who has become pretty much our best U17 runner this year and someone we have been looking to for additional runs with the under 19;' as required simply because he has been so strong.

The other U17 Boys Beach Relay Team - Justin Richardson, Tim Watts, Conor Docherty, Joey Michael. This team might struggle to get together as we believe Conor cannot make it to Queensland. Not to worry! We will back them up with either Jamie Bargenda or Ben Thornton. And these boys run well enough to help this team into the finals. Joey Michael will also compete individually in the surf board riding which is undoubtedly his strength. And Joey is a good chance to do well in that event.

U19 Beach Relay Team - Jack Clarson, Jack Harrison, Joey Todd, Hugh Millar,  Maybe these guys are a little too old to be considered juniors. I’m pretty sure they are all just old enough to down a schooner or two and  probably will after their event. Nonetheless, I make mention of them because they will go close to victory. And most of them are old timers in this club having come to us from the Minnows. We all know Hugh Millar who is battling a groin injury so might not be able to run the sprint. Joey Todd has been instrumental ni getting many of our junior teams onto the beach this season and has also pulled out a few majorly impressive individual runs during the year. Jack Clarson is new to the club having come to us from the track after a lot of pestering by Joey Todd. Jack Harrison on the other hand is one of our most experienced even though he is just 17 years old. Jack is also our clubs newly crowned open beach sprint champion. Look for Jack in the U17 sprint and flags.

Will Mison. Will has to carry a very famous last name as the son of Tod Mison (who will be competing with our masters at Kirra). William, also still an u14 Minnow, will swim in the U15 race at aussies but this kid will have a go at anything as indicated by his fifth place in the 2K beach race at State. Tom Scullion came second in that race but unfortunately cannot get make it to the aussies. But what a time he is up for as he will also compete in the surf board riding. The tube race, board race and anything else race.

Will Mison will not be alone in the U15 2K beach race as he will be joined by U14 state 1500 and 800 metre track champ Billy Ryan. Billy is part of our u14 beach relay team where he is a valued team member, but he is also a gifted middle distance runner. Under age for this race so it might be a bit tough but Billy will definitely be one to watch for.

Ben Thornton -we have heard so much about Ben and he will give it his best go at aussies. Ben is the epitomy of what it is to be a lifesaver. Whether swim, board, ski or iron man he will represent our club to the best of his ability and if the waves work for him he might pick up a gong. Maybe Ben will have a crack at the 2K race and a run in a beach relay as well. This guy cannot be pinned down. He is just the very best athlete and proudly Coogee born and bred.

Jess Thornton– another great athlete coming off just the biggest string of victories on the beach and the track. They hand out medals here as well Jess so bring a big bag with you.

Jack Harrison– seriously serious about his running, Jack was drafted into the U19 relay because the rest of this team have so much respect for his ability. Also because they want to win and they figured Jack can give them an edge. The luck has not run well for Jack this season and he has had to settle for minor medals at branch and state so here’s hoping it works for him at the nationals in both the sprint and flags.

Joey Todd– I cannot tell you how amazing this guy is. We first came across Joey training with Brian Johnstone Sundays at Coogee Oval. He was in the Minnows so soon joined the beach sprinters in their training sessions. He ran a beach sprint or two. His mum and I decided he should come along to the national titles in Perth so we ran him in a relay at state where he picked up a medal and then totally bombed along with the rest of the team that season in Perth. It was the third year. The first two were great. Anyway, time moves on and Joey is pretty much now organising the whole shebang. So much so I have been able to take a good back seat to much of the coaching and mentoring. Joey spearheads our U19 relay and like a few others will be working to make the sprint final. He might also try the flags as he has recently discovered he ain’t bad at that either.

Will Harrison– younger bro of Jack, Will anchors the U14 relay team and is not far away from the older u15 runners. He will be a dark horse in the sprint and flags and other clubs will need to keep a wary eye on him since he gets along a bit for a little bloke!

Tom Fagan– Tom is the seasons surprise package for us. His dedication to training has seen him move up a few rungs on our best sprinter ladder. A place in the sprint final is not an unreality for Tom. He will prove a worthy opponent and is a great asset to the U17 team and the club in general.

Jake Irvine– I think I’ll swim. No I’ll have a run. Is there a pole vault or hammer throw? Jake would have a go at all of them and squeeze them into the same day if not the same hour. He is a strong athlete, a great relay anchor leg and I feel totally guilty for bagging him for beach events. So be it. Watching him train exhausts me, and as one of his coaches he totally stretches my knowledge, experience and capabilities. (Always a good thing). Jake is another who can make the sprint final where he will sweat blood to give his best.

Hugh Millar- Hugh comes to us this year form the catwalks of Milan where he has been sidelining as a male fashion model and beer taster. As such he missed 6 or 7 weeks of training this year. I know he has been working hard the last few weeks and we are hoping he will be close to best at least for the first leg of both the U19 and the Open beach relay. Will you also run the sprint Hugh? Last years second place in the u17’s was one of the best ever performances I have seen from any of our sprinters over many years. (except me of course). You cannot stumble at the start and still get a medal. Keep at it boy. I know the fashion gurus are angling for your svelte looks and moody catwalk style. But we need you on the beach. And get a haircut! No don’t bother. We’ll do it for you.

Joey Michael– last but not least, another several years now out of the Minnows, Joey is a Coogee guy with one navy and one sky blue eye. Maybe Joey should be paddling a board. Or he should still be running with our beachies. But he performs best on a surf board so that is where he will specialise in Queensland, in the U17 and Open board riding. His dad will get him out of bed at 4 in the morning, they will head to Kirra for a meeting to hear where the days events will take place and they will head off on their own (or maybe with Will Mison and Jamie Bargenda) to perform on the gold coasts best waves of the day. Joey is one to watch.

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