18 Mar 2015
Ruyton Rowers Triumphant with Historic Victory at 2015 Head of Schoolgirls Regatta.
The final day of the Victorian rowing season ended with the full Ruyton rowing squad assembled at the banks of the Barwon River for the 31st Head of Schoolgirls Regatta.
Each and every girl in the squad of 56 rowed their hearts out on the final day of competition.
Never before has Ruyton won the ultra-competitive Year 10 Division 1 Quad Scull. It's a super-tough task, as all of the quad scull schools are present, before some move off into the eight as seniors.
As Junior State Champions the crew of Bella A, Alannah H, Emily M, Eleanor P and Elise S carried the pressure that goes with that title into this regatta and into the final as the fastest qualifiers. Furthermore 500m into the race they found themselves substantially behind in second place. Nonetheless the crew stayed calm throughout the unfolding crisis and stroke by stroke clawed their way back into contention, moving into the lead and holding on for a famous victory! Celebrations, however, were put on hold as all three senior quads were still to race their finals. The Senior thirds finished with a silver medal and the Senior seconds received a bronze.
All eyes were now focused on the Senior firsts crew of Matilda A, Beth C, Alana G, Jean M and Charlotte W. Could they become the first Ruyton crew (Ruyton started rowing 24 years ago) to win the coveted Senior Division 1 Quad Scull title? The form guide suggested perhaps they could, however they had arrived at the final through an unconventional pathway. Unlike the other Victorian schools competing weekly on the local circuit, our crew had raced little in Term 1, choosing only to compete at the NSW State Championships, which they won in emphatic style against classy opposition. If they were to become the first Ruyton crew to achieve this task they would have to beat a rival who was undefeated in Victoria for the entire season.
Following an unfavourable training row on the eve of the final, the crew found themselves up at 5.45am on race-day (while their opponents slept in) for a disciplined training session to remind them that no one was just going to hand them the trophy. It would prove to be the wake-up call they had to have. The session became their best row of the season with a flurry of emotions at both ends of the scale within a 12 hour period, less than 24 hours prior to the most important rowing race of their lives.
Four hours before the start each crew member received an inspiring and truthful text message from Kim Crow. Who else would you choose for a spot of advice on race day …
And so it goes: a story of a cox in her first season, a rower who turned 15 just before the new year, a highly regarded athlete in her first season with the crew and two elder stateswomen who endured the disappointments of last season forming a bond together that would see them attack the race with a maturity beyond their years, as they rated 31 strokes per minute, some five points lower than their opponents, to win with clear water separating them from the rest of the field.
For many years I have dreamed of this moment and proudly, here we are!
Mr Matt Wilson
Director of Rowing
Ruyton Girls Claim Four Medals and Four Personal Bests at the 2015 National Junior Track and Field Championships in Sydney
Eight Ruyton girls represented Victoria with distinction at the 2015 National Junior Track and Field Championships in Sydney 11 to 15 March. Over the five-day carnival, these eight girls amassed four personal bests and four medal winning performances.
Allegra B (High Jump) and Paris P (3000m), competing at these Championships for the first time, looked as though they had always competed at this level. Allegra B cleared 1.49 metres in the Under 15 High Jump to finish 7th and Paris P ran an eight second personal best (10.37.38) to finish 10th in the Under 18 3000m.
Charlotte W returned to form in the Under 14 1500m with a well-timed race to finish 8th overall (4.57.43). Jessica H tried hard to recapture ground after a slow start in the 800m heat but was unable to progress to the final. It is expected that Jessica will return to the Nationals next year as a very competitive 1500m runner.
After being checked in the 1500m heat, Natalie R recovered well to progress through to the Under 20 1500m final. Unfortunately, Natalie suffered a calf strain midway through the final and was unable to finish. This result will not hamper Natalie who has proven to be one of the more resilient athletes at this level.
Meredith R competed in the 400m hurdles for the first time at these National Championships. Competing out of her age group, Meredith ran a personal best (68.61) to narrowly miss the final. Meredith then turned her attention to the Field where she threw a personal best of 10.25 metres for the Shot Put to finish 14th overall. She will now turn focus on the National Heptathlon Championship to be held in Brisbane in two weeks time.
Midway through the carnival, Ruyton was due for some spectacular performances. Phillipa H and Sarah B, sensing the occasion, performed on cue. They produced four World Class medal winning performances between them. Phillipa was leading the Under 18 Pole Vault before an electrical storm stalled the event. The weather was so severe, the event was cancelled and Phillipa was determined the winner. She returned to the track the following day to compete in the Under 20 age group finishing 3rd overall with a clearance of 3.85m. Phillipa’s two World Youth qualifying performances during the season and her win in the Under 18 Championships confirm her selection in the Australian Youth Track and Field team to compete in World Under 18 Championships in Colombia later this year.
Sarah B looked to be in rare form when she cruised through her heat of the 400ms in a time of 55.78 seconds. In the final, Sarah’s performance was electrifying as she ran 54.38 to decimate the field. This time is both a World Youth qualifier and a significant personal best.
Sarah B, along with Natalie R and Audrey C (as the joint Captains of Ruyton Cross Country) will now turn their attention to Cross Country as Ruyton attempts to continue its 12 year unbeaten run in all State Cross Country events.
Mr Stephen Ellinghaus
Athletics Head Coach
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