2016 USRowing Northwest Youth Championships
The 2000-meter course at Lake Vancouver along the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon runs roughly north to south and the crowds gathered at the calm finish line were oblivious to the “north sea” conditions piling up at the start through the afternoons of last weekend’s Regional Rowing Championships. Vashon’s junior crew raced well through early morning calm periods as well as the challenging conditions placing 16 boats to finals and will be sending four varsity boats with eight rowers on to Nationals at Mercer Lake near Princeton, NJ the weekend of June 10th through 12th.
The Regional Championships run a wide gamut of emotion from the disappointment of varsity boats that don’t qualify to move on to the unbridled glee of novice rowers winning their first medals and cementing their commitment to the sport for years to come. In varsity events Vashon’s rowers returned with one championship trophy, one silver and three bronze medals.
Virginia Miller was the winner of the Lightweight women’s single event rowing away from the field for an open water win. Rhea Enzian and Riley Lynch continued their strong year in the women’s pair with a second place finish. The women’s lightweight double with senior, Maddie McEachern, teaming with Virginia Miller finished third. The men’s (seniors Patrick Hanson and Forrest Miller) and women’s (Katrina Heffernan and Rhiannon Simmonds) open weight doubles both also secured third place finishes and a spot at Junior Nationals. The Junior Varsity men’s double with Rohin Petram and Seth Rosen capped Vashon’s medal tally with a third place finish.
Four varsity boats, the lightweight men’s and women’s fours and eights, placed fourth against strong competition. It is the first time that Vashon has entered the lightweight eight competition and the women’s eight missed nationals by just 1 second. For the second year in a row the men’s lightweight four placed fourth, ten seconds behind the leading boats that all finished within two seconds of each other. There is a US Rowing provision for boats that are close to qualifying for nationals to petition to go. Coach Parr has filed such a petition for both the lightweight women’s eight and the lightweight men’s four with a decision expected later this week.
One of the unique events at the Regional Championships is the high school eight competition where teams compete in both costume innovation and rowing. This year’s Vashon boats scored high in both categories. The men’s eight was decked out only in matching suspenders above the waist which proved a little chilly in the 10+ knot winds and two-foot high waves splashing over the rowers at the start. The women’s eight took top honors with each dressed as mini-Tom’s (for coach Tom Kicinski). Tom (for whom a new rowing shell was named at the regatta—the “Major Tom”) is well known (and loved) for his ball cap, beard and antique T-shirts that he wears at practice. Each of the girls had replicated an old orange T-shirt with Hoagie Heaven hand lettered on it, wore beard face-paint with a moustache and a ball cap to capture the spirit of Tom for the race. Both of the high school eights placed second in their timed final and each was fourth overall out of a field of over a dozen entries.
Summing up the weekend Coach Richard Parr said: “Regionals, which encompasses the whole of the US Northwest is getting tougher every year. The majority of our rowers are very young – 8th and 9th grade, but the whole team performed very well, making the finals in 3/4 of the events, and sending 4 (and maybe 6) boats to Nationals in New Jersey, which is still among the best result in the region. I am very proud of the efforts, and looking forward to the future.“
Article by Pat Call