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: Maddie McEachern
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 […]
Brentwood College School located on Mill Bay north of Victoria, British Columbia put on its 45th annual juniors regatta this past weekend with over 1700 rowers participating from 34 clubs in western Canada and the Northwest US. The competition was spirited and the growing camaraderie of rival crews who have been racing each other in various regattas this spring was evident in high fives and group conversations. The beautiful setting was enhanced even further on Friday afternoon as sunny periods chased by rain showers draped intense rainbows across the east-facing venue. Races are comprised of heats and finals plus combinations of experience, weight and age categories. A total of 167 events were held on the 1500-meter course from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning.
Once again Vashon’s crews had a solid performance coming in 10th in overall score and tied for third when results were normalized to the number of events entered. Friday turned out to be a banner day when ten of thirteen boats made it out of the heat round and into Saturday’s finals where the team collected four silver and five bronze finishes. Vashon crews taking second place on Saturday finals were the two men’s novice quads, a men’s JV quad and the women’s novice quad. Third place finishers were the women’s varsity under 16 eight, two varsity quads, the JV quad and the men’s varsity quad.
On Saturday afternoon five more boats advanced to Sunday finals where the lightweight varsity 4 with Virginia Miller, Maddie McEachern, Shannon Lipe, Emily Milbrath and coxswain Ally Clevenger led from start to finish to take home Vashon’s sole gold medal of the weekend and kept alive a multi-year win streak for Varsity boats at this prestigious regatta. Sunday’s racing also brought a silver medal for the women’s under 16 varsity double and bronze medals for the women’s varsity quad and varsity double.
Overall for the weekend Vashon rowers advanced 15 boats out of 25 heats with one boat going directly to a final. Medals are not easy to come by at Brentwood and the weekend total of 13 eclipses last year’s record of 12. Of 37 Vashon participants 33 returned home with a medal. Both Katrina Heffernan and Tabitha Illerbrunn topped the individual medal tally with four each.
The event was an unusual one for Coach Richard Parr who was not able to make the trip and had to watch the racing from Vashon. The distance didn’t impede communications with assistant coach Tom Kicinski,who handled on site preparation of the crews. “This regatta was a testimony to the depth we are building in our junior program. The only teams that scored higher in this regatta had more than three times the number of rowers in their programs.”
By Pat Call
It has been a year since Vashon’s rowers journeyed to Dexter Lake in the Cascade foothills southeast of Eugene, Oregon. In that time the regatta has expanded to become one of the premier rowing events on the west coast spring schedule. Mother Nature provided fantastic […]
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 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