Oamaru rowers will be asked to create their own spotlight as LAMT (Life After Mark Taylor) kicks in at the Maadi Cup next week.
Ten rowers, all boys, are off to Lake Karapiro to the most prestigious event in New Zealand secondary schools sport.
There is no Taylor – the magnificent Waitaki Boys’ High School rower who charged to glory in the premier single sculls last year, and is now forging his senior representative career – so the time is ripe for others to step up.
There is some genuine talent across the two Oamaru schools, Waitaki Boys’ and St Kevin’s College, heading north.
Many eyes will be on the St Kevin’s double of Logan Docherty and Max Smith to see if their steady improvement can translate into success on the big stage.
“They’ve just improved so much over the season, especially considering Logan is in his first year rowing,” coach Owen Gould said.
“They’ve just grown and grown. And not just in regattas – they show it in training and other activities.
“Technically, they take everything on board and have developed so much.”
Both boys, Smith in the under-17 grade and Docherty in under-16, should also be strong contenders in single scull events.
“Logan, especially, should be right up there, I’d imagine,” Gould said.
The leading Waitaki Boys’ rowers are James Scott and Angus Harper, who will chase an A final in the under-18 double.
Scott could also do well in the single.
Jack Smith and Brady McNeill are strong contenders to make a final in the under-17 double.
The Maadi Cup was a massive event, and Oamaru rowers could be proud if they made B or C finals, Gould said.
“Some of the under-16 and under-17 fields are really large. You’re talking 50 entrants.”
The sheer scale of the regatta could be overwhelming for newcomers, Gould said.
“It can be, definitely. You just get them away from the course as often as possible and try to keep them on track.”