In my final week's coverage of the 2020 Aon North Island Secondary School Rowing Championships which, due to Covid-19, unfortunately became the final event of the 2020 New Zealand season, I will feature the schools that row out of Union Boat Club - Cullinane College and Whanganui Girls College.
The North Island Secondary School Champs is a huge regatta, with 99 schools and 1984 competitors racing for a place in 52 A Finals and a chance of winning a medal.
The Cullinane College and Whanganui Girls College crews have trained together under coaches Bob Evans, Peer Neilson and Leigha Stormont, with Cullinane entering 10 crews, involving nine rowers and a coxswain and Girls College four crews, involving just three rowers.
All of those rowers made at least a B final, the outstanding achievement coming from Cullinane's Boys Under-18 Novice Quadruple Scull crew of Tayne Perkins-Waugh, Daniel Smith, Leif Henning, Calais Edwards and Shannan Hill (coxswain).
These first-year rowers formed a strong combination from early in the season and raced consistently well in the novice grade. They won their heat then had a hard semi-final for third place but put together a great final race where there was a particularly tough competition from second to fourth.
Cullinane was less than a second off silver, holding off fourth place by less than a second from the favoured strong Hamilton Boys High School.
It was delightful to see the boys and cox Shannon on the podium getting their medals with young rower-coach Leigha Stormont, who helped with the coaching after her season finished at the North Island Club Champs.
This crew have claimed what appears to be Cullinane's first medal at this level for several years and will be a great boost for the school and club.
Perkins-Waugh and Smith went on to win the C Final of the boys Novice Double Scull with Henning and Edwards also racing that event.
Edwards raced up a level in the Boys Under-18 Coxed Quadruple Scull with the experienced Neo Tichbon, Tomasi Connor and Tama Casserley, with Hill (cox) to claim a strong third in the B Final of that event.
Connor and Tichbon had a very good win in the B Final of the Boys Under-18 Double Scull, in a good time of 7.08.90 that would have placed them fifth in the A Final.
In fact, their semifinal was extremely close, with second to sixth places all within two seconds and would suggest they were unlucky not to make the A final.
Connor went on to get a good third in the B Final of the Boys Under-18 Single Scull with Tichbon fifth in the C Final.
Cullinane's two novice female rowers, Mira Pfannkuchen and Amelia Keenan, had a good second place in the B Final of the Girls Under-18 Novice Double Scull and with few other options, raced in the competitive Girls Under 17 Double Scull.
Whanganui Girls College's two Novice Girls, Ella Buening and Marlene Rofka, also raced in the Girls Under-18 Novice Double Scull, gaining 8th place in the B Final then racing in the very tough Girls Under-18 Double Scull for a second event.
Having only three rowers in total limited Aaliyah Grant's races, so she did well to place seventh in the B Final of the Girls Under-16 Single Scull. She also raced up in the Under-17 Single Scull heat.
Next week I'll look at what's ahead in the local and New Zealand rowing scene under Covid-19 level 3, where rowers are only allowed back on the water using their own single boat.