Vashon Junior Alumni Perform Well on National Collegiate Stage
The transition from Junior to Collegiate rowing is best understood in the tightness of the races. In an early race at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships on Mercer Lake near Princeton, New Jersey the announcer said “Stanford has a five seat lead at the 1000 meter mark. It looks like everyone else is rowing for second.” Five seats is about half a boat length and could be gone in 200 meters of a junior race. But the quality of competition at the top Collegiate level is so high that one boat gaining much on another is an extreme act of will and effort. Vashon had three participants at this year’s IRA championships. Freshmen Jacob Plihal (varsity eight, Northeastern), Tate Gill (varsity four, Boston University) and Baxter Call (second varsity eight, Oregon State University). All of them left with a sense of solid achievement and respect for the boys in the other boats that they raced.
Jacob, rowing 5 seat, was in the weekend’s tightest race when Northeastern beat out Yale by twenty milliseconds (0.020 seconds) to gain the Grand Final where they placed sixth. The Huskies once again dominated the racing winning all four of the main events. Tate and Baxter stroked their respective boats to 11th and 18th overall finishes gaining valuable experience and motivation to sustain those summer workouts to prepare all over again for next season. The sense of community surrounding this event was simply amazing with more than a thousand alumni and parents coming from all around the country to cheer their teams on, singing school fight songs, reminiscing about regattas gone-by and sweating it out in the hot steamy conditions.
Across the country freshman Mia Croonquist, rowing 5 seat, joined her University of California teammates to battle for a national championship in the varsity eight at Lake Natoma near Sacramento, California in the NCAA Women’s Collegiate Championships. Their ultimate quest was denied them by a strong Ohio State University team that won the Grand Final by 0.5 seconds. A silver medal at the collegiate championships for Mia adds to her impressive collection of world junior medals and points to an amazing future. Senior Olivia Sayvetz appeared in her final collegiate race as coxswain for the Princeton women’s varsity eight which finished 5th in the Petite Final thus placing 11th overall.
To row in a Division I program at the Collegiate Level is an extraordinary commitment of time and effort and Vashon should be extremely proud of the accomplishments of our recent graduates this past weekend.
Article by Pat Call.