Under 16 Michaelhouse schoolboys Matt Millward and Jack Edmonds raced into the headlines on the weekend by winning the overall junior title at the VKB Liebenbergsvlei Canoe Marathon, in the process earning the national SA Schools K2 River Championships title.
The Pietermaritzburg pair finished in eighth position overall, and just ahead of their fellow Michaelhouse club mates Ross Leslie and Chase Leisegang, who were the first Under 18 crew home.
Racing on a low river, the juniors were always a factor in the top ten of the overall race with Millward and Edmonds, who stepped in as a partner to replace Sam Butcher who badly broke his ankle in a gym accident, opting for a conservative race plan.
They caught the older crew Leslie and Leisegang in the closing stages of the first leg, and banked a five second overnight lead.
On the flat final stage into Frankfort they stayed clear of the aggressive marathon racing tactics that played themselves out on the flat river, until they got a chance to work together with fellow Michaelhouse paddler Pierre van der Westhuyzen, who was partnering his older brother Jean, who is now racing for Australia.
That helped them pull away and coupled with a fast portage around the final weir, built the platform for an impressive win for the Under 16 combination, thirty seconds ahead of Leslie and Leisegang.
The talented pairing on Shongweni youngsters Lindokuhle Maphumulo and Sandile Mtolo were third home, completing a KZN clean sweep of the junior boys titles.
This was followed by the Epworth schoolgirls Shannon Parker-Dennison and Georgina Howard, who not only took the SA schools girls K2 River Marathon title for 2019, but impressively they were the first women’s boat home.
Second was another Pietermaritzburg crew in Girls High pupil Olivia Woodburn and Laila Maher from The Wykeham Collegiate, with Epworth paddlers Michelle Myberg and Amy Hulett completing the KZN stranglehold on the SA titles up for grabs at the two days event.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
SA SCHOOLS K2 RIVER CHAMPS
VKB LIEBENBERGSVLEI MARATHON
JUNIOR BOYS Day One Day Two Overall Times
1 Matthew Millward/Jack Edmonds 2:04:28.94 2:12:40.25 4:17:09.19
2 Ross Leslie/Chase Leisegang 2:04:33.65 2:13:09.34 4:17:43.00
3 Lindokuhle Maphumulo/Sandile Mtolo 2:06:32.78 2:17:37.27 4:24:10.06
4 Sandile Mbanjwa/Minenhle Fakazi 2:11:53.26 2:24:01.35 4:35:54.62
5 Mlungisi Hlongwane/Sanele Masango 2:17:02.06 2:22:20.49 4:39:22.55
6 Connor Erwee/Wongama Makasi 2:15:56.08 2:24:27.76 4:40:23.85
7 Murray Behn/Matthew Henderson 2:17:39.83 2:25:52.54 4:43:32.38
8 Oliver Bekker/Liam Bekker 2:22:28.59 2:27:31.31 4:49:59.91
9 Connor Leisegang/Jack De Swardt 2:19:22.39 2:30:40.74 4:50:03.13
10 Robert Pike/Craig Pike 2:24:03.09 2:30:41.68 4:54:44.78
1 Shannon Parker-Dennison/Georgina Howard 2:27:38.31 2:38:44.76 5:06:23.07
2 Olivia Woodburn/Laila Maher 2:34:02.02 2:46:14.95 5:20:16.98
3 Michelle Myberg/Amy Hulett 2:49:55.83 3:12:58.01 6:02:53.85