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: Kirsten Girard
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
The 2014 spring rowing season for the junior rowers ended with a strong showing from VIJC. US Rowing moved the Youth National Championships venue to Sacramento on Lake Natoma this year, the first time in it’s 18 year history the event was held on the west coast. […]
Coach Richard Parr has been fine tuning the junior crew for a peak performance at the Northwest Regional Championships the entire spring season. And the team did not disappoint, qualifying a record ten boats and 18 rowers for the National Championships to be held at […]
The Windermere Cup regatta at the University of Washington is a unique venue. The first 1300 meters, of the 2000 meter course, proceeds down a canyon whose walls are comprised of moored yachts on either side of the course – there celebrating boating opening day. After a brief section, rowers enter the fabled Montlake Cut and are greeted to the cheers of over 10,000 spectators crammed into both sides of the narrow waterway for the last 500 meter sprint to the finish line.
The exclusivity of this invitational only event was immediately obvious in the early morning light where boat trailers that are usually sagging under the weight of 15 to 20 shells (plus all of the other gear that supports a competitive racing program) instead sported only two or three shells each. Vashon’s Rowing Club was invited to three races: the Mixed Master’s Quad 50+ and the Junior Men’s and Women’s coxed quads.
It was a silver medal day for Vashon with all three boats taking second place. The Junior teams had their first calibration against area elite program Seattle Rowing Center with the Women (Mia Croonquist, Riley Lynch, Kalie Heffernan, Kirsten Girard, Callie Andrews –cox) coming in a close second and the Men (Patrick Hanson, Jacob Plihal, Fletcher Call, Baxter Call, Olivia Mackie – cox) more significantly back from a SRC boat that could well be a contender for the National title in June. The Mixed Master’s boat (Mark Ripley, Chad Magnuson, Mary Rothermel, Kim Goforth, Ally Clevenger – cox) was edged out by perennial powerhouse Sammamish Rowing Association.
The headline races for the day featured the University of Washington varsity Men’s and Women’s eights rowing against the World Champion teams from Great Britain. Both races were extremely tight over the entire course with the Husky Women gaining the victory and the Husky Men losing by about half a boat length.
Coach Richard Parr said “It is an achievement to just get into the Windermere Cup races and I am proud of all three boats for their silver medal performances. Our juniors will now turn their full attention to preparing for the Northwest Junior Regional Championships two weekends from now. Our team is making good progress but still needs to find a few more seconds in each race.”
By Pat Call
The Brentwood College International Regatta is a superbly organized 1500 meter Junior event with 147 races over a two and half day period and is an annual favorite of Vashon’s junior crew. Against rowers representing 38 US and Canadian clubs, VIJC put in another very […]
The Oregon Association of Rowers hosted the 20th Annual regatta whose starting line is a few yards west of the stately, century-old Lowell Covered Bridge from which the regatta derives its name. Five hundred junior, college and masters rowers from 36 clubs competed in 44 […]
For the second year in a row Vashon crews were invited to participate in the University of Washington Husky Open Regatta on Saturday, April 5th . The course began in Lake Washington, ran through the Montlake cut and finished at the mouth of Lake Union. This relatively low-key regatta featured the University of Washington rowing teams against perennial east coast powerhouses Brown and Drexell Universities.
Vashon was entered in one Master and three Junior events. The Master’s Men race provided all of the excitement for the day holding off Bainbridge Island and three other crews to take first place without the normally applied age time adjustment. Coach Richard Parr was particularly pleased that the men’s early morning workouts on Quartermaster Harbor were paying off. Spring Master races are usually a 1000 meter sprint course but the Husky Open and Opening Day races (on May 3) are a full high school/collegiate 2000 meter distance.
The Junior crews expected their first real test of the season on Saturday, going up against area rivals for the first time this Spring. There is a saying rowers hear frequently from coaches: “keep your head in the boat”. Translation: the race is about your stroke not your competitors’ – so sideways glances are frowned upon. Violating the “eyes in the boat” rule just a little while rowing to the start, the juniors discovered that some of the competing crews were not the varsity competitors they expected. All three Vashon varsity boats cruised to easy victories.
The Junior Women’s four with Bryn Gilbert, Taegan Lynch, Shannon Lipe, Te’a Schafer and coxswain Ally Clevenger took first by a 27.5 second lead.
In the quad with Mia Croonquist, Riley Lynch, Kalie Heffernan and Kirsten Girard won with a 21 second lead.
The Junior Men’s quad with Patrick Hanson, Jacob Plihal, Fletcher and Baxter Call won their race by 26 seconds. Coach Parr was pleased with the efforts of all three crews.
The next day the Juniors moved their shells to Lake Stevens for a friendly scrimmage against a relatively young program. Vashon’s novice and junior varsity crews had a confidence-building day on the picturesque lake with its’ glassy water.
The Jensen Point boathouse buzzed with activity early Saturday morning March 1st as a new format was introduced for the annual contest for the coveted Guinea Pig cup. Coach Richard Parr mixed Masters and Junior rowers into the same shells to make this year’s event […]