The penultimate day of racing at the New Zealand Secondary Schools' Rowing Championship (Maadi Cup) shone for Southland schools on Lake Ruataniwha.
James Hargest College's rowers were up early and fore runners in the boys' under-17 single. Cameron Perkins led the A final of the single through the 1000m halfway mark and pushed out to an open water lead only to be reeled back in the last 500m by Onslow College's Hayden Robertson. Perkins rallied to hold off Tom Mackintosh, of Lindisfarne College, for second place and the silver medal.
The dais-making effort was preceded by school mates Tom Elder and Noah Knol placing first and third in the B final of the under-17 single to take 9th and 11th overall in the 56-entry event.
Perkins will compete in another two A finals today, with Rowan Haveron and Dylan Milford, also from Hargest, in other A finals.
Hargest's other early finals result yesterday was a win in the B final of the under-15 girls' quad by Amanda Prouting, Eilish Davies, Ciccone Tweedie and Helene O'Neill, coxed by Holly McMahon. The four rowers will split into doubles today for racing in the B final of the under-15 double.
Wakatipu High School also had early morning B final success, with Joseph Swale and Ben Hull winning the under-15 double, again showing the development of rowing in the Wakatipu basin. The school's under-18 girls' squad provided a finalist in each of the A and B finals of the girls' under-18 double, coming away with 7th and 13th rankings.
Southland Girls' High School continued its growing heritage in the girls' under-17 quad and posted the first gold medal for a southern school at the Champs.
Michaela Townshend, Kerri-An Sinclair, Rianna Maxwell and Georgia Smith were coxed by Irene Souness to a clear water win in the under-17 quad over Glendowie College and Gisbourne Girls' High School. Townshend featured in the girls' under-17 single later in the day, placing a close fourth in a race which featured lead changes throughout.
Her remaining crew members will have another crack at gold in the under-16 quad today, alongside a further Southland Girls' High crew and Townshend herself will combine with Sinclair to try for more reward in the under-17 double late today.
Wakatipu High School were the next to stand on the top of the medal-dais yesterday after under-17 double title winners Dylan O'Connor and Jacob Flannagan followed their B final-winning counterparts, James Ramsay and Hayden Bewley, down the glass-like Ruataniwha course.
O'Connor and Flanagan had to fight for every inch for the win. There was only 1.8 second between them and second place getters and only four seconds covering the first four places. Hargest's Milford and Haveron were unable to match the Wakatipu leaders' pace and finished seven seconds back in fifth. In the next race, Wakatipu's Nina Champion won the under-17 girls' B final by clear water. Today's feature finals will include two Girls' High crews in the girls' under-16 quad, a further crew in the under-16 four and under-16 double.
Tim Yaxley will try to hold a tradition high for Southland Boys' High School in the boys' under-18 single and will then have another chance in the under-18 boys' double later today with Josh Hayes. James Hargest College's under-17 boys' squad will be looking to their ultimate goal of dual gold medals in the under-17 four and quad but will again have to match up to the already golden Wakatipu under-17 crew.
A Wakatipu crew will also feature in the under-18 novice four, in which they are defending champions. Today's racing will signal the end of the largest ever Maadi Cup.
- The Southland Times