The girl who topped engineering at a boys school

The top engineering HSC student at Randwick Boys' High School is a champion athlete. And a girl.

Scarlett Pye, 17, was a student at the neighbouring Randwick Girls' High when she desperately wanted to study engineering but her school did not offer it. Rather than miss out, the state 400m hurdles champion joined a class of about 20 boys to study it for the HSC.

She excelled and topped the subject in years 11 and 12 and is confident it will be her best subject when HSC results are released on Thursday morning.

"I love building and designing things and I have some cousins who are engineers and so it is something I always thought I would love to do," Scarlett said.

"The boys in my class were great and all very supportive."

She hopes to study at civil engineering and surveying at the University of NSW or aeronautical engineering at Sydney University.

But Scarlett, who has been the state 400m hurdles champion for three years and is the national silver medallist, also has her sights on the Olympics, either Tokyo in 2020 or Paris in 2024. She is used to juggling training with her studies.

She competed in the NSW All Schools championship the day before she sat her first HSC exam but she says training kept her calm during year 12.

Studying for the HSC and training several times a week, as well as travelling for meets, made studying "very difficult" but she never dreamed of giving it away.

"If I keep training and competing like I am now, I definitely have a good chance of making it to the Olympics," she said.

"I think if I didn't keep running, I would have been totally overwhelmed by the HSC if I didn't have that balance."

Scarlett is coached by her father and is a member of the Asics West Track and Field Club at Auburn. She said without the support of her family and her teachers and principals at both schools, she could not have managed to do so well.

The principal of Randwick Girls, Lucy Andre, said Scarlett had always been an exceptional role model at the school.

"Scarlett displays a lot of leadership qualities and she is never scared of a new challenge," Ms Andre said.

"She is an excellent role model of the girls in this school."

This story The girl who topped engineering at a boys school first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.