It takes a lot of hard work to make a final at the national secondary schools rowing champinships regatta so for Southland Girls' High School to have two under 16 (U16) girls coxed quads make it through to the A Final shows that the hours and dedication the girls, the coaching teams and the parents have put in have paid off with the girls reaching the ultimate stage of the "Maadi Cup" in their event.
With both crews winning their respective heats, quarterfinals and now, with placing first and fourth in the same semi-final yesterday, the girls have banked a place in tomorrows A Final.
The Southland Girls' number two crew of Kerri-Ann Sinclair, Georgia Smith, Rianna Maxwell and Maiah Hegarty (SLDG2) coxed by Irene Souness, was the fastest crew through heats and quarterfinals.
In yesterday's semi-final it the number one crew (SLDG1) of Moira MacDonald, Nakita Tupoutoa, Hannah McLoy and Hannah Lilley who were coxed by Rosie Finn to a win in the fastest time across both semi-finals.
Southland Girls' High School will be the only southern school with two crews in an A Final for the one event though James Hargest Colleges U17 boys squad came close after having three scullers in the U17 single semi-finals.
Cameron Perkins claimed a last ditch fourth place yesterday but fellow school mates Tom Elder and Noah Knol placed outside the top four and will compete in the B Final in the first race of A and B Finals today.
Wakatipu High School will have three A Finalists competing today after Zara McLeod, Cameron Murphy, Isabella Norton and Rowan Biggs with coxin Bianca Gibson managed to sneak into the girls U18 lightweight four medal race through repechages.
Wakatipu's highest hopes will be Jacob Flanagan and Dylan O'Connor in the boys U17 double where the duo will come up against southern counterparts Rowan Haveron and Dylan Milford of James Hargest in the only other event featuring two Southland affiliated school crews vying for the same medals.
The other Wakatipu crew looking to jump into medal contention is the U18 girls double of Monique Lynes and Jordan Murphy after placing third in yesterday's semi-finals.
Their U18 double counterparts, Jacqui Bell and Georgia Bewley will race the B final.
Sinclair, Smith, Maxwell of Southland Girls will team up with Michaela Townshend in U17 quad coxed by Irene Souness in what they hope will be their race to lose after being fastest qualifiers throughout the week.
Townshend will also take to the water late today in the U17 single: making it three A Final appearances for the focussed young rower.
Verdon College's two representatives at the regatta have performed admirably with a fourth place in the E final of the girls U17 single for Tina Wright, a third place in the U17 double C final for Wright and doubles partner Arian Mirfin. Mirfin will contest the B Final of the under 16 single today also.
Aparima College's Jack Mennie lined up alongside Southland Boy's Kahn Maere in the D Final of the U16 single (Event 46), placing x and y respectively in what can be described as the first steps for the western rowing programme out of the Riverton Rowing Club.
Yesterday's semi-finals saw 20 crews qualify for today and tomorrows A Finals in addition to the two already through.
A further 16 southern school crews will race for a top-half 9th to 16th placing's in B finals: which in itself is an achievement given many fields at the regatta have 40-plus crews entered.
Tomorrow's races will feature the glamour events of Maadi Cup, including the boys U18 single and double, which will feature Southland Boy's crews, Tim Yaxley and Yaxley and Josh Hayes and the double-title hopes, James Hargest's U17 boys four and quad.
- The Southland Times