Kristie Caplikas and Georgia Elphinston leave lasting legacy

All smiles: Kristie Caplikas and Georgia Elphinston with some of their medals from 2020.
All smiles: Kristie Caplikas and Georgia Elphinston with some of their medals from 2020.

Kristie Caplikas and Georgia Elphinston epitomise the concept of the student-athlete.

The recent Prairiewood High School graduates have excelled in the classroom as well as their sports of choice during their secondary schooling.

Despite juggling the HSC and a pandemic, the pair maintained their high standards in 2020 being presented the Minister's Award for Excellence in Student Achievement which recognises academic excellence, sports, cultural, community and leadership.

For the second straight year they were also recognised under the Australian Olympic Change-Maker program which rewards students who are demonstrating the Olympic spirit through leadership and driving positive change in their communities.

The duo put the school on the triathlon map, winning one gold, two silver and one bronze CHS medal with their school team.

Hannah Truong, Kristie Caplikas and Georgia Elphinston came second in the CHS team triathlon earlier this year.

Hannah Truong, Kristie Caplikas and Georgia Elphinston came second in the CHS team triathlon earlier this year.

Kristie, a member of the Marconi Cycling Club, also won individual gold and silver medals in NSW Triathlon events and has excelled at athletics, cross country, cycling and swimming, winning the school Sportswoman of the Year on five successive occasions.

Georgia, one of this year's school captains, has enjoyed plenty of individual success in the water, qualifying for seven events at CHS level and captained the Sydney South West Girl's Water Polo team. The 17-year-old is hoping to study paediatric speech pathology next year and last year qualified for her first swimming nationals. She has made state every year at school level since year 3 with her pet event being the butterfly.

"Everyone thinks buttterfly is the hardest so I was determined to do it and do it well," said Georgia, who balanced up to 13 training sessions a week with school work.

Kristie Caplikas on the bike.

Kristie Caplikas on the bike.

Kristie, 18, will combine her passion for cycling and astronomy next year when she studies an Advanced Bachelor of Science at the Australian National University in Canberra.

"This year has been a bit chaotic with training and online learning. It can be hard training for triathlons with lots of extra sessions but that is something I enjoy," she said.

Georgia Elphinston finishing the swim leg.

Georgia Elphinston finishing the swim leg.

Head Teacher of PDHPE Alison Pool said: "They both made a tremendous difference in their local school community. Georgia and Kristie have challenged and brought the best out in each other, especially in sport, and leave a tremendous legacy to all PHS students, setting a very high benchmark."