Central Otago a powerhouse

Big splash . . . Dunstan High School’s Sophie Smith celebrates winning gold in the under-18 girls...
Big splash . . . Dunstan High School’s Sophie Smith celebrates winning gold in the under-18 girls single sculls at the Maadi Cup last Saturday at Lake Karapiro. PHOTO: SHARRON BENNETT
Central Otago rowing is debunking the idea you have to be a big city school to succeed on the national sporting stage.

The region experienced a highly successful regatta at last week’s Maadi Cup national schools rowing championships at Lake Karapiro.

All four of the region’s major secondary schools won medals and all up accounted for 13, while a handful of special awards went to the region’s schools too.

Not bad for a region with a population of about 23,000.

Dunstan High School won the Presidents Scull, awarded to the overall sculling champion.

The school won eight medals in total in a dominant display across the girls grades.

Meanwhile, its coach, Simon Smith, was awarded the Bill Eaddy Cup for the best coach of junior crews.

It was yet another success for the Dunstan programme, which has maintained its success in the girls grades over the past five years.

Paige Furrie and Mackenzie Ealson have proven a very slick duo through the years and claimed a dominant gold in the under-18 double sculls.

They also joined the school’s two Sophie Smiths — one of who moved this year from Dunedin — and cox Billy Grant to win gold in the under-18 quadruple sculls.

Each Sophie Smith won multiple medals too — the Dunedin one claiming gold in the under-18 single sculls.

Depth has been the school’s strength though, and beyond that group there was plenty of other top talent on show.

Cromwell College’s Mathew King on the way to claiming bronze in the under-16 boys single sculls....
Cromwell College’s Mathew King on the way to claiming bronze in the under-16 boys single sculls. Photo: Sharron Bennett
Wakatipu High School’s Charlotte Muir also received a special award.

She won the Simon Briggs Cup for coxing the most crews in A finals.

That came after leading four crews to the medal races in her first Maadi Cup.

Included in those was a bronze medal in the under-15 boys octuple sculls.

The school also claimed additional medals in both the boys and girls under-16 double sculls through Sam McAtamney and Marley King Smith, and Neve Bates and Olivia Key respectively.

Meanwhile Mount Aspiring College showed its increasing prowess as well.

The school has been building its girls crews in recent years and made four A finals in the under-17 and under-18 grades.

Pipi Horan, Emily Findlay, Bella Sarginson, Neve Faed and cox Thomas Mitchell claimed gold in the under-17 quadruple sculls in a blistering time of 7min 11sec.

Horan and Findlay also just missed out on a medal in the double sculls.

Mathew King also ensured Cromwell College got among the medals for the first time, claiming bronze in the under-16 single sculls.

It was King’s first Maadi Cup, having begun as a novice in the 2018-19 summer, before last year’s season was cut short.

He had also performed well at the national championships in February, finishing fifth in the intermediate single sculls.

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