Portland Fall Classic Regatta – 2016

Portland Fall Classic Regatta – 2016

A log in the water can be a hazard, but a whole, floating tree is what rowers in the 10th annual Portland Fall Classic had to avoid during the second flight of races this last Sunday.

The Vashon Island Rowing Club (VIRC), accustomed to its share of floating debris in Quartermaster Harbor, managed to avoid the danger and bring home nine medals as they rowed the 5000-meter course along the Willamette River.  With the Portland skyline as a backdrop and under a nearly constant drizzle of rain, Vashon’s Masters and Junior rowers turned in an impressive performance, tying for third overall against 26 other clubs.

VIRC Masters medaled in four of their five races, notably winning gold in the Men’s 8+ category.  With Coxswain Brigit O’Rourke and Bruce Morser, Colby Atwood, Fred Sayer, Mark Ripley, Chad Magnuson, Andy Johnson, John Jannetty, and Gary Schoch rowing, their combined ages resulted in a useful handicap.  Their raw score placed them 4th, but garnered gold when age was factored in.

“Great to see the Masters doing so well,” said VIRC Head Coach Richard Parr. “It was the first win for the Men’s 8+ in Portland, and it’s a reflection of the work that they have put in. With a silver in the Men’s quad, it was a really good regatta for our Masters men.”

Masters, who are comprised of all rowers beyond collegiate age, also earned bronze medals in the Women’s 8+ and 4x. “Attaining a bronze medal in a field of 11 boats, the Women’s 8+ had a huge improvement from early September, and I’m looking forward to the spring season with that crew,” said Parr.  The Women’s 4x, with 4 rowers and no coxswain, finished in third by just fractions of a second ahead of Station L Rowing Club, which co-sponsors the race with Rose City Rowing Club.

Junior rowers also did well in a field that was made up entirely of clubs from Washington and Oregon, winning gold in three races. The Women’s Junior Varsity 4+ bested Commencement Bay by almost 10 seconds in a race between just the two clubs.

Two Vashon boats competed against eight others in the Junior Women’s 2x race, and both medaled. “It’s a little bit unusual and a lot of work to row two head races in one day, so a lot of credit to Riley Lynch and Rhea Enzian, who won in both the coxed four and the double,” said Parr.  “Lakeside is really improving in the smaller boats, and for Rhea and Riley to gain victory over them and the rest of a quality field in what was their second race of the day says a lot for their toughness and skill.”  The second VIRC boat with Katrina Heffernan and Caprial Turner came in third.

The other gold came in a slightly unusual category of Junior Novice Mixed 8+— with a mix of 3 men and 5 women, plus coxswain Hayden Rosen. With three boats in the race, the Vashon crew finished 4 minutes ahead of their closest competitor, Greenlake, and 9 minutes faster than Lake Oswego.

The Fall rowing season will wrap up next weekend with the Greenlake Frostbite on Saturday and the Head of the Lake regatta at the University of Washington on Sunday.  VIRC will send 22 Masters and 40 Junior rowers to the Head of the Lake, which is the largest fall rowing regatta on the West Coast.

By Anne Higuera.



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