Oamaru schools in the medals

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Oamaru schools bagged five medals at Lake Ruataniwha over the weekend.

St Kevin’s College accounted for three of those, while Waitaki Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools won one each at the South Island Secondary Schools Rowing Championships.

The Waitaki Boys’ and Girls’ medal-winning crews brought home Oamaru’s two gold medals. Each won their respective under-18 novice coxed four races.

Kyala Fisilau stroked a crew which also included Sophie Spittle, Sophie Rohrbach, Evie Wilson and Breanna Kingan to win the girls race.

Club captain and coach Ivan Docherty said the girls had been among the top three all season but their first championship victory had eluded them until last weekend.

Waitaki Girls’ was neck-and-neck with Christchurch Girls’ High School, but Waitaki Girls’ dug deep and had a better sprint to bring home gold, beating Christchurch Girls’ by five seconds.

‘‘Just really pleasing to see they dominated from the first stroke,’’ Docherty said.

In the boys race, Lachlan Wright, Jett Rogers, Harrison Weir, Finn Strang and cox Harry Kelland took home gold. It was a highlight to see both the girls and boys fours gain personal best times, too, he said.

St Kevin’s duo Patrick Spillane and Nye Jones-Hogan impressed in the under-15 boys double sculls to claim silver.

Zeke Goodsir and Cody Marshall also won silver in the under-18 boys novice double sculls, while April Linares-Fonona and Amelia Wilkinson took bronze in the under-18 girls pair.

‘‘[I’m] very delighted for the athletes and the rowers on show. They once again stepped up,’’ Docherty said.

The school crews now turn their focus to Maadi Cup, where Covid-19 has forced a raft of changes to the annual competition. All the under-15 events have been scrapped and only athletes from years 11 to 13 can compete.

That affected all three of the Oamaru school crews, particularly the two gold medal- winning crews, as 50% of their rowers were no longer eligible.

Docherty said the rowers were resilient, full of character, and others would step into those boats for Maadi Cup.

‘‘We have two weeks to get those combinations firing and singing. We’ll put our best foot forward and we’ll see what happens.’’