This week it's the turn of Whanganui High School, which rows out of the Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club, to have the spotlight on it and highlight its achievements at the Aon North Island Rowing Championships on March 13-15 at Lake Karāpiro.
Due to Covid-19 this became the penultimate regatta of the season with the cancellation of the Aon Maadi Cup just a few days after.
However, it was a beauty of a regatta, with 99 schools participating and 1854 rowers/coxswains racing. The first two days of racing were a bit tricky for all, but can particularly affect novice and small boat rowers. However, the finals on Sunday, March 15 were raced in glorious conditions.
WHS, led by their director of sport, Lisa Murphy and supported by coaches Alan Greer, Grader Howells and Peter Smith, entered 30 rowers/coxswains in 23 events, making a total of 17 finals, including 8 A finals, 6 B finals (scratched 3) and 3 C finals.
Unfortunately, they didn't manage to convert any of those A finals to medals despite some good qualifying positions with their top two placings being fifth in both the Girls Under 18 Single Scull and Boys Under 17 Coxed Quadruple Scull boats.
Mikayla Manville appeared to have no other Under 18 Girls to race with, so only had the single to race. She made big gains in that event all year and had a very good semifinal for second place but the pace in the final stepped up again and Manville battled well for fifth.
Similarly, the Boys Under 17 Coxed Quad crew of Jordan Manville, James Clear, Michael Sturdee, Dominic Bennell and Campbell Monk (cox) had a very strong win in their heat and they fought bravely for fifth in the A final, but would have learnt a lot towards next season.
There was a bit of double pain for Manville and Clear as they finished sixth in a hotly contested Boys Under 17 Double Scull final with 43 entries, but should be very proud of contesting two A Finals.
The Under 15 Girls group has big futures with Victoria Soutar and Lana O'Connor making an outstanding three A Finals in their first year of competitive school rowing.
Soutar and O'Connor placed sixth in the Girls Under 15 Double scull (42 starters) and another sixth in the Girls Under 15 Quadruple Scull with Hannah Palmer, Portia Eastabrook and Lillie Taylor (cox).
They then teamed up with Awen Emmett, Reece Watson, Eliza Maxey, Jordie Sheridan and Lillie Taylor (cox) to place seventh in the Girls Under 15 Octaple (Year 8 scullers!).
Emmett, Watson, Maxey, Sheridan and Sarah Thomas (cox) also placed fourth in the B final of the Under 15 Girls Quad.
The Under 16 Girls Quadruple Scull of Georgina Ross, Messina Su'a, Perris Adam, Nikita McCarten and Sarah Thomas (cox) placed sixth out of 35 entries in the A final of this event and Ross and Su'a then placed seventh in the very competitive A final of the Girls Under 16 Double, which had 61 entries, so another two impressive A finals from these girls.
I can't cover all the results fully but special mention also to Nga Tawa Diocesan School's only rower, Kathryn Fleming, who placed fourth in the C final of the Girls Under 17 Single and raced up a grade with the Under 18 Girls also.
Overall, WHS should be encouraged by the growing numbers and number of finals and experience those rowers gained this season with the majority still eligible for 2021 Maadi Cup at Lake Karāpiro.