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2283 athletes from 120 schools will take to the waters this week for the 2018 Aon Maadi Cup. Run by the NZSSRA and Rowing NZ, the Aon Maadi Cup is the national championships for school rowing and being New Zealand's largest rowing regatta, it's the most prestigious event on the school rowing calendar. Rowing NZ are proud to announce that the 2018 regatta is once again sponsored by Aon, long-time supporters of Kiwi sports men and women.
The regatta hosts alternate between the North and South Island, this year hosted by South Island Rowing at the Meridian Rowing Centre, Lake Ruataniwha. Yesterday the Twizel Township and Mayor Graham Smith welcomed schools to the region and regatta after an athlete parade ending in the town centre.
Today 136 races took place between 8am and 5pm after slight lift in temperature from the previous two training days, making for comfortable racing conditions.
14 crews competed for a spot in the final for the Dawn Cup, awarded to the winning crew in the girl’s under 18 coxed four. St Peters School (Cambridge) and Wanganui Collegiate School both won their heat moving into the final on Friday, with all other crews facing a repechage. The Dawn Cup was donated by Noel Lynch at a Maadi regatta held on the Wairoa River in 1980, and the cup’s name is a tribute to its first race where due to darkness, finals were scheduled for a Sunday morning at 6.30am. Originally won by Queen Charlotte College, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School have gone on to win the cup 14 times.
Hamilton Boys’ High School comfortably won their heat in the boy’s under 18 coxed four, nine seconds ahead of second place Auckland Grammar School. Heat two was considerably closer with Westlake Boys’ High School finishing three seconds ahead of second place Christ’s College. Heat three saw Christchurch Boys’ High School placing first and a second crew from Christ’s College placing second. All first and second places in heats move forward to the A final on Friday with remaining crews moving to repechages. All crews in the A final will be completing for the Springbok Shield – a wooden shield made of South African wood and a replica of a South African award called, unsurprisingly, the Kiwi Shield – made from a variety of New Zealand wood. Hamilton Boy’s High School have won the award a record 15 times, starting in the award’s first ever regatta in 1965 where crews raced each other in Oriental Bay, Wellington.
The girl’s under 17 single sculls is the largest event in the regatta, with 64 entries. Eva Hofman from Bayfield High School (Otago) won her heat with seven seconds to spare, a double feat considering this year’s regatta is the first time Bayfield have entered the event. Eva will progress to the next round with Rebecca Leigh from St Peters School (Cambridge), recent Aon North Island Secondary School champion, who also won her heat. Shakira Mirfin from Southland Girls’ High School, who at the recent South Island Secondary School Championships won the girl’s under 16 single sculls, girl’s under 16 double sculls and placed second in the girl’s under 17 single sculls, won her heat by a clear 8 seconds. Winners from five other heats will move forward to the quarter final, with the A final on Friday afternoon. The winner from the A final will receive not only a gold medal but a new skiff from Aon and Laszlo Boats for their school, under a new initiative called the Aon Maadi Cup Legacy, as will the boy’s under 17 single sculls.
The boy’s under 16 coxed four heat winners was an all North Island affair, with Sacred Heart College (Auckland), Hamilton Boys’ High School, Westlake Boys’ High School and St Paul’s Collegiate all taking a win in their respective heats. All will progress directly to the semi-final.
Dunstan High School lead the way into the girl’s under 15 quadruple sculls event with the crew of Hanna Scarlet, MacKenzie Ealson, Paige Furrie, Hariet Scherp and coxswain Grace Furrie, clocking the fastest overall time from the heats. The school’s second crew also won their heat, meaning both will progress to the quarter finals.
Winners of the two heats in the boy’s under 15 coxed eight dominated the field, with Shirley Boys’ High School winning their heat by 8 seconds and Hamilton Boys’ High School winning their heat by 10 seconds. Both crews progress straight to the A final on Friday, making for a classic North vs. South showdown. A similar showdown will also be seen in the girl’s under 16 coxed eight with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School winning their heat by 8 seconds, with their North Island counterparts from Epsom Girls’ Grammar School also winning their heat by 8 seconds, both progressing to contest the A final on Friday.
Westlake Boys’ High School, Hamilton Boys’ High School and Christchurch Boys’ High School all have something in common – winning their hears in the boy’s under 18 coxless pair with plenty of time to spare. St Kentigern also won their heat, with all four crews moving to the A final on Friday.
Racing continues tomorrow with heats and the beginning of the repechages round.