Wanaka’s loss is Warren Wil­son’s gain

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS - MAR­JORIE COOK

Tal­ented Wanaka cross coun­try moun­tain biker Paul Wright is al­ready lead­ing the way for his new United States var­sity cy­cle team, the Warren Wil­son Owls.

One week into start­ing his year at Warren Wil­son Col­lege, he’d won a first and sec­ond place in col­le­giate com­pe­ti­tion.

It is thought Wright is just the sec­ond Mount Aspiring Col­lege stu­dent to take up a US sports schol­ar­ship. Rower Sasha Bruce won a spot at the Uni­ver­sity of Ore­gon in 2011.

Warren Wil­son is among the 10 best col­le­giate moun­tain bike schools in the US. The head coach is Matthew Wil­liams.

‘‘I was aware of some other ath­letes go­ing over­seas and do­ing sports while study­ing so I fig­ured I’ll give it a crack. I googled good moun­tain bike uni­ver­si­ties in Amer­ica and sent them a CV. They re­sponded and here I am.

‘‘There were two I was in­ter­ested in but this coach at Warren Wil­son was re­ally re­ally keen.

‘‘Yes, it is cool and I would rec­om­mend it as there are so many races and every­thing is cov­ered,’’ Wright said.

The New Zealand un­der-19 moun­tain­bike rep­re­sen­ta­tive honed his skills on Cen­tral Otago tracks and roads and has com­peted on the ju­nior world cup circuit for the last two years.

‘‘The road and moun­tain bike rid­ing is very good in the area. I have cho­sen chem­istry and eco­nomics classes and hope to pur­sue a ca­reer in one of the two but am still un­de­cided.

‘‘Hope­fully I can be­come a full time pro­fes­sional ath­lete, also pos­si­bly Olympics and Com­mon­wealth Games,’’ Wright said.

He comes home to Wanaka for a hol­i­day in De­cem­ber.

‘‘I’ll try to get to as many [club] road races as pos­si­ble around Christ­mas time. I am still not sure if I will race in the NZ cup se­ries, na­tion­als and Ocea­nias yet.

‘‘It all de­pends if [those moun­tain­bike races are] manda­tory to be se­lected for worlds,’’ he said.

FAIRFAX NZ

Paul Wright, 18, at home in Hawea Flat.

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