Brentwood Regatta at Mill Bay
Brentwood College School located on Mill Bay north of Victoria, British Columbia put on its 45th annual juniors regatta this past weekend with over 1700 rowers participating from 34 clubs in western Canada and the Northwest US. The competition was spirited and the growing camaraderie of rival crews who have been racing each other in various regattas this spring was evident in high fives and group conversations. The beautiful setting was enhanced even further on Friday afternoon as sunny periods chased by rain showers draped intense rainbows across the east-facing venue. Races are comprised of heats and finals plus combinations of experience, weight and age categories. A total of 167 events were held on the 1500-meter course from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning.
Once again Vashon’s crews had a solid performance coming in 10th in overall score and tied for third when results were normalized to the number of events entered. Friday turned out to be a banner day when ten of thirteen boats made it out of the heat round and into Saturday’s finals where the team collected four silver and five bronze finishes. Vashon crews taking second place on Saturday finals were the two men’s novice quads, a men’s JV quad and the women’s novice quad. Third place finishers were the women’s varsity under 16 eight, two varsity quads, the JV quad and the men’s varsity quad.
On Saturday afternoon five more boats advanced to Sunday finals where the lightweight varsity 4 with Virginia Miller, Maddie McEachern, Shannon Lipe, Emily Milbrath and coxswain Ally Clevenger led from start to finish to take home Vashon’s sole gold medal of the weekend and kept alive a multi-year win streak for Varsity boats at this prestigious regatta. Sunday’s racing also brought a silver medal for the women’s under 16 varsity double and bronze medals for the women’s varsity quad and varsity double.
Overall for the weekend Vashon rowers advanced 15 boats out of 25 heats with one boat going directly to a final. Medals are not easy to come by at Brentwood and the weekend total of 13 eclipses last year’s record of 12. Of 37 Vashon participants 33 returned home with a medal. Both Katrina Heffernan and Tabitha Illerbrunn topped the individual medal tally with four each.
The event was an unusual one for Coach Richard Parr who was not able to make the trip and had to watch the racing from Vashon. The distance didn’t impede communications with assistant coach Tom Kicinski,who handled on site preparation of the crews. “This regatta was a testimony to the depth we are building in our junior program. The only teams that scored higher in this regatta had more than three times the number of rowers in their programs.”
By Pat Call