School row­ers take top spot

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By EMMA DAWE

CROMWELL Col­lege may not be tra­di­tion­ally re­garded as a pow­er­house when it comes to row­ing, but a group of its pupils are prov­ing when it comes to be­ing the best in the coun­try, it makes no dif­fer­ence how big your school is.

The school’s un­der-16 coxed four have only been to­gether as a team since last year, but al­ready they’re be­ing recog­nised as a force to be reck­oned with in the na­tional row­ing scene.

And the team, made up of Josh Drum­mond, Brad Thomp­son, Ethan Ed­munds-Scott, Jared Maclach­lan and cox’n Nick Drum­mond, was recog­nised for last year’s out­stand­ing achieve­ment in the sport by be­ing named the supreme win­ner at the Cromwell Sportsper­son of the Year Awards, on Satur­day night.

Ear­lier in the night the team was named Cromwell team of the year, while school-mate An­nal­yse Shaw, 18, was named Ju­nior Sportsper­son of the Year for her hockey suc­cess.

Fel­low Cromwell Col­lege pupil and top ju­nior wood­chop­per Brad Pako won a $500 Cromwell Sport Club youth as­sis­tance grant to help him with his trav­el­ling ex­penses.

The row­ers, who are coached by Maude O’Con­nell, only took up the sport three years ago when O’Con­nell put the word out that she was in­ter­ested in putting to­gether a team.

It was the first time there had been a Cromwell row­ing squad.

The row­ers spent the next two years learn­ing the sport and were mixed and matched with other row­ers, be­fore the crew was cho­sen last year and started row­ing to­gether se­ri­ously.

And their hard work and early morn­ing train­ing ses­sions have paid off, as the crew had an out­stand­ing 2009 sea­son, which in­cluded win­ning the South­land re­gatta and fin­ish­ing sec­ond at the South Is­land cham­pi­onships.

The sea­son was capped off by qual­i­fy­ing for the ‘‘A’’ fi­nal of the New Zealand sec­ondary schools’ cham­pi­onships (the Maadi Cup) at Lake Ru­atani­wha.

The crew fin­ished sev­enth in the fi­nal, but its per­for­mance was se­verely im­peded by an­other crew which had been forced to race in the same lane as Cromwell and ended up get­ting in the Cromwell boat’s way. The crew tried to lodge a protest, but was told its protest was in­valid as they had al­ready left the wa­ter.

O’Con­nell said the ex­pe­ri­ence had been dev­as­tat­ing for the young row­ers, but was all part of their learn­ing curve. She was proud of the boys and said they had shown true com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to their sport.

‘‘They’re com­ing up against these huge row­ing schools like Auck­land Gram­mar and Hamil­ton Boys and they’re hold­ing their own against them.’’

The crew’s aim is to win this year’s Maadi Cup and they hope to row for New Zealand in the fu­ture.

Win­ners: The Cromwell Col­lege un­der-16 coxed row­ing crew with their spoils from be­ing named the supreme win­ner at the Cromwell Sportsper­son of the Year Awards on Satur­day night. From left: Josh Drum­mond, 15, Brad Thomp­son, 16, cox’n Nick Drum­mond, 13, Ethan Ed­munds-Scott, 15 and Jared Maclach­lan, 16.

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