2014 Brentwood International Regatta
The Brentwood College International Regatta is a superbly organized 1500 meter Junior event with 147 races over a two and half day period and is an annual favorite of Vashon’s junior crew. Against rowers representing 38 US and Canadian clubs, VIJC put in another very strong performance, medaling in 15 of the 23 races entered and securing an overall third place in the regatta. Many of the top VIJC rowers over the past decade have not won top honors at Brentwood, symbolic of the strength of the competition (this is the only regatta where Vashon faces western Canada’s top crews). Eighth grade novice rower Riley Lynch scored the most gold medals by winning four events.
Friday’s mid-day start of heat racing concluded with Vashon’s crew qualifying 10 boats in 14 races entered. Saturday morning two crews competed in early exciting final races: the Junior Men’s and Women’s A (Open) Varsity coxed quads. Mia Croonquist, Kalie Heffernan, Riley Lynch, Kirsten Girard, and coxswain Callie Andrews held off a late surge from a competing crew to win the gold.
The Men with Patrick Hanson, Jacob Plihal, Fletcher Call, Baxter Call and cox Olivia Mackie were not quite able to catch the lead boat and finished with a silver medal. Both of these crews faced rowers from an extremely capable Victoria City Rowing Club team.
Vashon completed the morning finals with a gold medal from the Women’s B (U16) Novice coxed quad (R. Lynch, Rhea Enzian, Katrina Heffernan, Madelyn McEachern, cox Andrews) and a bronze for the Men’s A Novice coxed quad (David Ngyuen, Josh Davis, Blake Jeffcoat, Cian Scheer, with coxswian Cody Clevenger). By 1 pm the wind whipped up from the east and turned the course into a patchwork of whitecaps and swells, causing a regatta suspension from which it failed to emerge for the rest of the day.
A 6 am start for Sunday was announced and the first race was a high-octane drama. The Men’s A single scull, with Jacob Plihal at the oars, had the added pressure of defending last year’s trophy win by present day UW rower Gus Magnuson. Jacob, at six foot eight, doesn’t fit easily into a single scull and, in fact, was racing in a shell belonging to Assistant Coach Tom Kicinski – different from the one he qualified in on Friday as he was in peril of sliding entirely out of the smaller shell. This race was Jacob’s third 1x race in his rowing career. He showed the same tenacity as in the qualifying heat when he took over the race in its midst and won the gold by a boat length.
With the postponement of Saturday’s races the regatta organizers used the only available technique they had for squeezing all of the events into a half day on Sunday: only heat races ran and then the relative time of the top three qualifying boats determined the medal winners. A consequence of this scoring system is that if you are not in a strong heat and are substantially ahead you have to have the mental toughness to imagine a competitor right on your stern and pour on the power anyway.
The Junior Women’s A four with Bryn Gilbert, Taegan Lynch, Shannon Lipe, Te’a Shafer, and cox Ally Clevenger was the first of several Vashon boats to succumb to this score keeping method, taking second place by falling less than two tenths of a second shy of the winning time of another heat. Their silver medal was matched by the Men’s (Plihal and B. Call) and Women’s (Croonquist and Girard) doubles. The Women’s B double (R. Lynch and Enzian) and Novice eight (R. Lynch, Enzian, McEachern, Virginia Miller, Katrina Heffernan, Lili Helsby, Tabitha Illerbrunn, Adriana Yarkin with cox Andrews) both won gold medals. This win by the 8+ was a first for Vashon at Brentwood and capped off Riley Lynch’s amazing weekend. The medal tally was completed with a gritty silver medal performance by the Junior Women’s A Lightweight four (Emily Milbrath, Hannah Russell, Lipe, Kai Li Scheer and Andrews) and a bronze for the Junior Men’s B double (Hanson and F. Call).
In summing up the weekend Coach Richard Parr had a single word: “Awesome.” And for those who know him, that’s all you need to know that VIJC did well.
Based on the Brentwood wins two Junior crews (Women’s and Men’s quads) have qualified for next weekend’s prestigious Windermere Cup – Opening Day Regatta in Seattle.