Junior crew is asking for your financial support to help represent Vashon Island at the 2015 U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida, June 12 – 14th. Out of a possible 13 boats and 20 team members eligible to compete at Nationals at the […]
Tag: Kalie Heffernan
Two and a half seconds. In this weekend’s NASCAR race that distance equated to about 700 feet. In the Preakness Stakes horse race about 130 feet. And in Sunday’s junior men’s four crew final, twelve feet. Rowing is a sport of perfection and repetition. Over […]
The 50th anniversary of the largest rowing regatta in the world witnessed best ever results for Vashon’s junior, masters and recent alumni crew members. Starting in a wide and exposed tidal basin the course heads up river increasingly twisty and narrowing as it goes. With seven multi-arch bridges hanging like slalom gates to navigate, the challenges mount for the coxswains while the spectating improves all the way to the finish line. Over eleven thousand rowers finished the five-kilometer race during the two-day weekend event that attracted 400,000 spectators.
Two junior and two masters boats were drawn in the lottery for this year’s regatta. The masters rowed on Saturday with each boat gaining a respectable middle of the pack finish. The women’s four consisted of Kim Goforth, Marilyn Kleyn, Nancy Foster-Moss, Debbie Jackson and Lisa Huggenvik (cox). The men’s four featured Bob Horsley, Ed Zapel, Mark McKallor, Colby Atwood and junior coxswain Olivia Mackie. There were more than 50 boats entered in each of these master events.
Although Vashon had entered more junior boats in the regatta lottery only two were selected, the men’s single and the women’s eight. This year is only the second time that Vashon has sent its junior crew to this event and a “top third” finish is considered an achievement. On Sunday’s course that saw an increase in wind from the day before, Liam McConnell led off the day with an 8:30 am start. By the time the race was over Liam had secured a tenth place (out of 34) finish – the highest finish ever for a Vashon boat and this was only his second time racing in a single shell at any regatta. As Liam approached the Elliot bridge (the last bridge and about 500 meters from the finish) the announcer identified him, his Vashon affiliation and that it was his first time at the Charles regatta. Then he said, “Welcome to Boston, Liam!” and the swelled crowd on and around the bridge and nearby stands erupted in cheers and applause.
The women’s eight started 79th and steadily overtook slower boats along the course. This low starting order had only to do with Vashon’s rowing in their last appearance at the Charles – not the expectations for the outcome. Nevertheless, it is tricky to pass along this course and definitely not an advantage to start that far back in the pack. When the final times were tallied the women’s crew came in 9th out of 85 entrants. Liam’s record finish lasted for only 5 hours. Vashon’s small program does not usually compete favorably in 8+ events but this group of young women showed what the crew can do on an international stage. Crew members were Riley Lynch, Rhea Enzian, Kirsten Girard, Kalie Heffernan, Maddie McEachern, Caprial Turner, Katrina Heffernan, Shannon Lipe and Ally Clevenger (cox).
Summing up the weekend Coach Richard Parr said “Again, Vashon’s Junior rowers were great representatives of our little island, both on and off the water. They are remarkable young people. I’m very proud of them for what are some pretty special accomplishments in North America’s toughest race.” As a result of Vashon’s junior race places the club automatically receives an invitation to next year’s regatta.
Several recent Vashon Junior program alumni also turned in solid performances on the Charles this past weekend. Jacob Plihal rowing in the 6th seat of the Northeastern University club eight won its event. Tate Gill rowing in the 3rd seat for the Boston University boat in the same event placed 5th. Olivia Sayvetz coxed the Princeton women’s eight to a 10th place finish in the Women’s Championship eight race – the premier event for Women at this regatta. Alaina Williams rowing in the 4th seat for Northeastern in this same Championship race placed 12th. Taegan Lynch stroked her University of Miami shell to a 12th place finish in the Women’s Championship Four race.
Boston is a long way from Vashon and it takes much planning and effort to get rowers there, keep them rested, healthy and fed. The rowers want to thank everyone for their support and a great team effort. The results were surely worth it.
By Pat Call
On Sunday, October 13th, Vashon showed up in force at American Lake, recording strong times on the 5000 meter course with 16 entries and 14 wins. Taking home two Varsity gold medals each at the Fall Classic were: Kalie Heffernan, Kirsten Girard, Baxter and Fletcher Call, […]
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 Rowing has five boats competing at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, MA on October 20th and 21st. The invitational event, in it’s 48th year, is the largest regatta in the world, drawing thousands of rowers and 200,000 to 300,000 spectators. Since Vashon had […]