Epworth paddlers dominate Drak Challenge

2015-01-27 00:00

WHEN it comes to paddling, the girls from Epworth in Pietermaritzburg are a respected force on the water.

The sport is booming at the school and these days, at races such as the Dusi, it’s a foregone conclusion when the leading women contenders are asked what school they come from.

Epworth always features and this past weekend’s two-day Drak Challenge, just outside Underberg, might well have been called the Epworth Challenge, such was the dominance of the school’s canoeists.

Three of the school’s past pupils were in the top 10. Winner Abby Adie, who added a fifth title to her wins in 2010/11 and 2013/14, Jordan Peek, who was fourth, and Tamika Haw, ninth.

Eleven current Epworth pupils took on this year’s challenge and, while the seasoned campaigners were vying for overall honours in the senior race, Epworth’s juniors were making their own statement, ensuring the seed of paddling continues to mature within their ranks.

The Drak also served as selection for the KwaZulu-Natal trials ahead of the K1 river championships, and Epworth Grade 11 pupils Cana Peek and Donna Hutton bagged the top two spots in the U18 age group.

Not to be outdone, Grade 10 pupil Christie Mackenzie was the first U16 paddler home.

Besides doing the business in their age group, Peek and Hutton gave a clear indication of their precocious talent by finishing fifth and eighth overall in the women’s main race.

Looking ahead to the three-day Dusi from February 19 to February 21, there’s no doubt Epworth will be well represented on the water and the women’s title could still belong to the school, as Adie is a firm favourite for this year’s K2 race.

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