Rower lands US scholarship

Parekura Kellow, centre, accepts her scholarship with rowing mentor Olympian Allan Tong, left, and Wentworth principal Bruce Tong.

A Wentworth rower’s skill on the water has earned her a four year scholarship at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, United States.

Year 13 student Parekura ‘PK’ Kellow signed the scholarship documents at Wentworth College on November 14, coinciding with ‘signing day’ in the US where thousands of athletes accept their offers.

While moving continents just after finishing school may be intimidating for some, PK could not be more excited.

“I’m keen to get over there as soon as I can,” PK says.

PK also received an offer from Syracuse University in New York.

She was able to visit the two universities earlier this year as part of her recruitment.

Spotters from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which encompasses hundreds of US Colleges, keep an eye on athletes – sometimes over a few years – to find talent for American colleges.

PK says the strict regulations of the NCAA has taken some getting used to.

“After signing, recruiters from other colleges can’t say more than ‘hello’ to me, and I can’t say how much my scholarship is worth to anyone,” she says.

While it was PK’s successful year of rowing competitions with both Wentworth and the North Shore Rowing Club that caught spotters’ attention (HM April 17) she also had to prove her academic ability.
She sat two SAT examinations, scoring 1110 – well above the 700 marks required.

The signing was a special occasion for Wentworth principal Bruce Tong, who suggested PK should give rowing a go when she was in Year 7.

Bruce introduced rowing to the school around 10 years ago with the help of his father, Allan, who rowed in the 1956 Olympics, as well as the first Maadi Cup in 1947.

Allan, as well as PK’s mother Parekura Herewini and Wentworth’s Head of College Phillip Lee, also attended the signing.

PK’s next goal is to row for New Zealand at the Olympics.

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