Mia Croonquist’s summer vacation activities: row, eat, sleep and repeat. For the third year out of the last four the recently graduated Vashon High School senior was selected to represent the United States at the World Junior Rowing championships held this summer in Hamburg, Germany. […]
Tag: Junior National Team
Melton Hill Lake near Oak Ridge, Tennessee was the site of the 2013 National Junior Rowing Championships this past weekend, June 7th through 9th. Vashon’s young rowers qualified eight boats – fifth most in this year’s championship. By Sunday, all boats qualified for a final race, achieving three top ten finishes and one bronze medal.
Since Vashon travels across the country and rents its rowing shells from the Sykes boat manufacturer, the team members decided to have some fun with boat names. Most boats are named after the donors who provided them or trot out an inspirational cliché , but juniors tipped over the creativity meter with names like “The Mantis Shrimp”, “2K Banana Slug” “The Asylum”, and “The Boat Formerly Named Prince”. However if the District Championships were a beach party then the Nationals had more the overall feel of an accounting convention. So the juniors got down to business.
Friday is for Heat races. In a format unique to rowing only the winning boat of each heat race advances to Saturday’s semifinals. The other boats are then scrambled again and another round of repechage (or second chance) heats are rowed either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. The top two boats in each of the second races go on to the semi-final with the third place boat (plus the next two boats by overall time) going to the C final on Sunday. After the first two rounds of racing Vashon had four boats into the semi-finals and four into C finals, however that tally doesn’t quite tell the whole success story. In 2012 Vashon’s juniors won some very tight races (in one case by 18 milliseconds); in 2013 it was the reverse: two boats missed the semi-finals by a total of a half second.
Saturday’s semi-finals further break the field into Sunday’s A and B finals with the three fastest shells in each semifinal going to the A final. When Saturday’s racing was done Vashon had one crew heading to an A final with three boats going to B finals.
On Sunday the team’s morale was high, the early regatta jitters transformed into steely resolve. The results speak for themselves.
Gus Magnuson and Tate Gill rowed a powerful Men’s Open Double race to take the bronze medal (and keep the club’s three year medal streak alive).
Kalie Heffernan and Kirsten Girard placed 7th overall winning the B final in the Women’s Open Double.
The Lightweight Women’s four with Emily Milbrath, Katelyn Carter, Shannon Lipe, Leanne Anderson and coxswain Ally Clevenger took 8th overall (second in the B final). It is unlikely that any other boat in the regatta placed so high with two novice rowers on board.
Anne Gaspers braved early morning fog and a very competitive field to row her single (the Baby Giraffe) to 12th place in the nation.
Nathaniel Petram and Baxter Call roared back from a close loss in the semi-final to take the C final by open water and a 13th place national finish.
Lipe and Carter in their Women’s Lightweight and the Women’s Open Quad with Heffernan, Anna Ripley, Hannah Russell and Girard both placed 14th.
The Men’s Open quad of Magnuson, Gill, Jacob Plihal and Isaiah Mosser-Rohe took fifth in their C final and 17th in the nation.
Coach Richard Parr summed up the National Championships and the season by saying: “I am extremely proud of our rowers who distinguished themselves this year on and off the water. Our kids and not only great athletes but also great citizens and representatives of Vashon on the national stage. We lived up to our performances from the District competition and we showed ourselves to be a “top ten” program. We’ll start working this summer to find that extra 10 to 15 seconds we need to be in the top three across the board.”
A successful end to the 2012 – 2013 junior season.
Vashon Island Junior Crew welcomes their new Assistant Coach, Tom Kicinski, as they begin their fall 2012 season. Kicinski, a VIJC alumni, went on to row twice at Junior Nationals, on the United States Junior National team competing at Worlds in Amsterdam, and for the University of Washington […]
Mia Croonquist, the celebrated teen rower who was part of a winning boat at the world championships last summer, hasn’t rowed much since bringing home her gold medal last August. The 15-year-old spent the last nine months attending high school in Hawaii.
But now Croonquist is back and proving to the world that she’s still got it on the water. She has once again been selected as one of just 16 girls to compete on the U.S. team at the World Rowing Junior Championships — the highest level of competition for a junior rower. This year’s competition will take place next week in Bulgaria.
“I was a bit nervous; I didn’t know what kind of shape I was in,” Coonquist said of the selection camp she attended last month. “You’ve just got to push yourself and see where you can go. I ended up making it, and that was awesome.”
Croonquist, reached at home before she left to train with the U.S. team at Princeton University, said that while in Hawaii she kept fit by participating in cross country and outrigger canoe paddling.
Once at the selection camp, she said, her times weren’t as good as they were last year. However, her coaches knew her situation, she said, and selected her for the team with the condition that she would improve her speed by the time of the competition. “We made a deal. They realized I hadn’t rowed in a long time,” she said.
Last year Croonquist made history as the youngest girl to ever compete for the U.S. at worlds. Her boat, a straight four, took home gold, beating New Zealand, Great Britain and several other teams.
Croonquist said she decided to spend her sophomore year in Hawaii because it’s a place she and her family love to visit and because she’s been advised by others not to burn out on rowing before going to college. She worried that it would be hard to take a year off of crew while living on Vashon, and her coaches and teammates were supportive of her decision.
“I’m really glad I went out there,” she said. “I think it was a really good decision.”
Richard Parr, a world-class rowing coach recently selected to head the Vashon Island Rowing Club, said he has only worked with Croonquist a few times but he’s impressed wither her abilities. Parr said some credit Mia’s success to her strength and athleticism, but he also sees a rower whose intelligence and attitude benefit her just as much. “She just has such a sensible and smart head on her shoulders,” Parr said. “There are a lot of big, strong girls around, and not a lot get to be world champions. She’s a complete package.”
In Bulgaria Croonquist will stroke the women’s eight, meaning she’ll set the boat’s pace. Croonquist, humble about her accomplishments, said she was on a team of other talented girls. Since many of last year’s teammates graduated, many of this year’s U.S. rowers are young like her, she said.
“I’m exited its’ a young team,” she said. “We can only improve.”
By NATALIE JOHNSON, Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter August 7, 2012
Vashon Island Junior Crew recently competed at the Northwest Junior Regional Championship in Vancouver, Washington where four of our boats raced their way to one of the top three spots in the finals, qualifying for national competition. The boats that qualified were the women’s varsity double, […]
Two of Vashon Island Junior Crew’s very own are featured in the 2011 USRowing Yearbook.
On page 13 is the story from the Junior Worlds competition held in England this past summer, where VIJC’s Mia Croonquist (third from the left) and her boatmates won Gold in the Women’s Four event.
Seen on page 39 is Emmie Kehoe (second from the right), who rowed in the Club National Championships Women’s Junior A Eight.
Winter conditioning camp begins December 20th for VIJC (see calender for details). The camp will be run by Tom Kicinski, a Vashon Island Junior Crew alumni. Tom went on to row twice at Junior Nationals, on the United States Junior National team competing at Worlds […]