St Luke’s and Shalom to battle again for supremacy

St Luke's Anglican School students Asia Heaps and Sienna Clarke with Shalom College's Emily Evans. Picture: SHANE JONES

By Shane Jones

St Luke’s Anglican School students hope testing themselves against the nation’s best can lead to further Head of the River triumph.

The school will compete at a school’s rowing event, looking to remain the best after winning the past seven times.

St Luke’s last claimed the title in 2019 before last year’s event was not held due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The school will field Sienna Clark, Phoebe Ellem, Tobias Reynolds and Dayne Mortimer in the mixed quad event that will decide the winner, with Megan O’Connor to be the cox.

“We hope to win again but we want everyone to have a good time and enjoy the weekend,” Clark said.

Clark was picked ahead of Asia Heaps for the spot.

“We’re supportive of each other no matter what,” Clark said.

Heaps said: “It doesn’t matter because either of us will go into the As and one of us into the mixed quad. We’ve discussed this and it doesn’t matter what happens.”

Both have prepared for the event, not only with a regatta two weeks ago but at the nationals earlier this year.

The duo, along with others, have kept up the training intensity and motivation from that event.

“It gave us the best experience and strived us to improve,” Clark said.

Win, lose or draw, the school is set up for the future with plenty of juniors, from the lower years of high school, stepping up to join.

“This year we’ve had the most in a while join,” Heaps said.

“Rowing is becoming a big thing for our school, so it’s really important we get the numbers.”

Looking to stop them is Shalom College, who were the previous dominant school in the competition, winning 20 in a row before St Luke’s took over.

Emily Evans will compete with the team alongside Gabriella Miners, Matthew Parker, Timothy Chaplin and Kodee Pole who is the cox.

“We’ve had a good start to the season, hopefully it can continue for the rest and we’re looking forward to what the rest of the year brings,” Evans said.

“We’re getting there (being competitive) and we’ve had a strong start.

“Maybe it will be our turn.”

Evans said the focus was to work together, drive hard, push through and see if the team could win.

But Shalom knows that St Luke’s will be tough to beat.

“They are pretty good, it is a challenging race, but we will see if we can beat them,” Evans said.

She said the team would be looking to build on the firsts and seconds it got at the last regatta, to try to get the same over the weekend.

The event starts on Saturday with the Head of the River to be crowned on Sunday.