Oamaru rowers did not get on the podium but they still delivered some decent performances at the Maadi Cup on Lake Ruataniwha last week.
New Zealand’s biggest secondary schools sports event is fiercely contested, and just to reach an A final or place highly in a B final is a top effort for rowers from small schools.
Oamaru rowers qualified for three A finals and five B finals.
The St Kevin’s College duo of Gemma Dowling and Connie Metcalfe posted the best result, finishing sixth in the A final of the girls under-18 novice double.
Schoolmate Hannah Cunningham was seventh in the A final of the girls under-16 single sculls after finishing second in her semifinal.
Denzil Edwards (Waitaki Boys’ High School) finished eighth in the A final of the boys under-16 single sculls, having placed second in his quarterfinal and third in his semifinal.
St Kevin’s rowers Logan Docherty (boys under-17 single sculls) and Eli Winders and Hamish McAtamney (boys under-18 novice double sculls) each placed second in B finals, effectively 10th overall.
Three other St Kevin’s crews made B finals: Sophie Brien and Rylee Bell were fourth in the girls under-18 coxless pair; Cunningham and Froukje Edzes were sixth in the girls under-17 double sculls; and Sophia Linares-Fontona and Yneke Edzes were seventh in the girls under-15 double sculls.
Girls coach Mike Lawrence said it was the first time in years St Kevin’s had crews reach A finals.
Bell and Brien were among the big improvers, improving each time they were on the water.
Lawrence, like Oamaru boys coach Owen Gould, had hoped for a podium finish or two but was satisfied with his crews’ efforts in Twizel.
“I’m disappointed with some of the results but I’m not disappointed in their performances or their effort,” Lawrence said.
“It’s incredibly strong competition up there. To get in the top 16 or so in the country is a heck of a good effort.”
Gould, who guided star pupil Mark Taylor to Maadi Cup glory two years ago, echoed those thoughts.
“As a coach, you always want to win medals, but I can’t say it was a disappointing week,” Gould said.
“We didn’t have anybody relegated through the heat and repechage system, and there were a lot of the 2240 rowers who were relegated by Wednesday.”
Gould was delighted with his novice double, Winders and McAtamney, especially as Winders had done little rowing while part of a shearing gang over summer.
“They just got considerably better over the week. An extra month training and they would have been on the podium.”
Edwards was not far off the pace, Gould said, while Docherty held his own against bigger rowers.
“Logan started the year right up there. But what was obvious in the finish at Maadi Cup was that it was the physically big boys who came through.