After delays, the majority of repechages were completed late Wednesday at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Aon Maadi Rowing Championships on Lake Ruataniwha.
However, day four on Thursday was almost a complete white-out.
At the hold-point early on Thursday morning, sixteen Southland crews were safely through to semi-finals.
However, those semi-finals were not completed and will have to be fitted in with the initial A and B finals on Friday. Some crews will face tough turnarounds from quarter-finals to semi-finals, and then onto either A and B Finals; all in just two days.
For events with over 49 entries, E Finals were raced amongst repechages on Wednesday. James Hargest College’s Lachlan Thwaites finished third in the E Final of the boys under 17 single and was followed home by Southland Boys' High School’s Shaun Nimo in fifth, and Callum O’Connor in eighth.
The two Invercargill schools were present in another E Final. In the boys under 16 double, Boys' High’s Max Webb and Shaun Wilks placed fifth and Casey Thwaites and Archie Cameron were sixth for Hargest. Gore’s Ezekiel Faamoe-Ioane was set to race the boys under 16 single E Final late on Thursday.
Three southern under 16 singles raced the quarterfinals late Thursday in hopes of joining those ranks. James Hargest College’s Max Nally, Gore High School’s Reece Soper and Southland Boys High School’s Mitchell Thompson and Tom Cotter face a late night after a day of waiting.
Southland Girls' High’s Shakira Mirfin continues her medal challenge as the sole Southland representative in both the top girls under 16 and under 17 single semi-finals. Mirfin’s under 16 double with Anna Rikiti was the last scheduled race on Thursday, so it will be a big two days for Mirfin.
Aparima College’s Alexis Halder and Taleaha King also had to wait all day Thursday to race the E Final of the girls under-16 double.
Wakatipu High School has two under-15 doubles in the semi-finals in Oliver Herron and Oliver Bisley and Enzo Wilson and Lucas Erskine. Hamish Turnbull and Caleb Tawhai of Southland Boys’ and Gore’s Kuziah Mason-Robin and Max Balloch will also race those semi-finals on Friday.
While still under 17, Southland Girls' High School’s Kate Cochrane joins under 18 rower Roisin Laphen in one of the prestige events, the girls under 18 double semi-finals on Friday.
Boys’ High boys Cotter and Thompson will race under 16 double semi-finals, where only first to fourth placings will retain medal hopes.
In another prestige event, Wakatipu’s Lucia King-Smith, Bella Jolly, Amelia Hide, Sophie Thompson are in the semi-finals of the girls under 18 quad. The crew has a good medal chance with both Jolly and Thompson former South Island under 18 representatives.
Southland’s strongest showing may be in the boys under 18 double where three crews have made semi-finals. Verdon College’s Tyrone Cox and Xavier Wright are ranked 14th going into the event just behind Hargest’s Caleb Turnbull and Jake Haywood. Zach Mirfin and Hayden Milne progressed direct to the semis from the heats as the seventh ranked crew.
C and D finalists were also forced to wait out the southerly winds on Thursday.
Wright, Turnbull and Mirfin were to race the boys under 18 single C and D finals yesterday. Weather delays may mean these races are raced alongside the semi-finals on Friday or even abandoned to ensure medal races can be held.
Southlander Ella Fry, now racing for St Hilda’s, has progressed to finals in all three of her under 17 events. Fry was an A & B finalist at under 16 level last year for Southland Girls High and will be hoping to emulate those placings.
Interestingly, Fry’s St Hilda’s crew contains the granddaughter of Waihopai Club stalwart Peter Sinclair, who is a regatta official at this week’s event, alongside several other Southland Rowing Association volunteers, and are amongst the 200-odd volunteers it takes to run the event.