Portland Fall Classic
In the 1950’s the Portland, OR waterfront was the scene of massive decommissioning of World War II era naval vessels. Had someone launched a rowing shell into the toxic brew that was then the Willamette River it would likely have dissolved. In the intervening decades the downtown banks of the river have become a celebrated urban renewal success story and one that was the setting for the 8th annual Portland Fall Classic regatta on Sunday with over 1300 participating in 52 events. Vashon’s Masters and Junior crews made its first appearance in this regatta competing in 16 events and as has been the pattern for this fall’s regattas performing exceptionally well returning with 9 first place finishes.
Like last week’s race in Boston the five kilometer course features a number of bridges but unlike race on the Charles these bridges are massive concrete and steel structures soaring high over the river channel and posing no big navigation challenge to the rowers. The event is organized into three flights where all of the boats in a flight launch and proceed up river to the starting area before they start one at a time down the course. The morning flight was primarily Masters rowing with Vashon’s Women’s quad (Jan Peterson, Carri Singer, Therese Smith and Celia Congdon) taking a gold and two mixed doubles a second and third. Later in the day the Women’s four (Kim Goforth, Mary Rothermel, Nancy Foster-Moss, Su Dewalt and Lisa Huggenvik, cox) also won their event.
The juniors then took to the course and produced a number of outstanding results. Winning women’s boats were the open double (Kalie Heffernan and Kirsten Girard), varsity four (Emily Milbrath, Shannon Lipe, Maddie McEachern, Kai Li Scheer and cox, Callie Andrews), JV four (Riley Lynch, Rhea Enzian, Katrina Heffernan, Caprial Turner and cox, Ally Clevenger), quad (Mei Vandervelde, Tabitha Illerbrunn, Lili Helsby and Adri Yarkin) and novice four (Emma Greenlee, Rhiannon Simmonds, Kate Landry, Mabel Moses and cox, Andrews). The women’s double also took a third place.
The junior men won their quad (Patrick Hanson, Fletcher Call, Liam McConnell and Forrest Miller) and novice four (Cole Puckett, Connor van Egmond, Cooper Py, Seth Rosen and cox, Aidan Teachout) races.
As was the case in Boston, Vashon also had a recent alumni rowing in his first collegiate regatta. Baxter Call rowed three seat in the Oregon State University varsity four which took first place in that event.
Coach Richard Parr was pleased with Vashon’s first attendance in the Portland Fall Classic. “This regatta marks the first time ever that Vashon has won multiple four events. We are better known for our sculling than our sweeping so to come home with five gold medals in the fours is pretty special.”
The season wraps up next weekend with the Frostbite Regatta on Saturday at Green Lake and the premier regatta on the fall calendar the Head of the Lake race on Sunday.
By Pat Call