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Junior crew sends record number to nationals
The Vashon Island Junior Crew (VIJC), one of the smallest teams to compete at the USRowing Northwest Junior District Championships last Thursday in Vancouver, Wash., proved to be a true powerhouse when four of its boats qualified for the national competition — a record number for the team.
Qualifying rowers will compete at the USRowing Youth National Championships in Tennessee next month.
“The racing was excellent this weekend,” said VIJC coach Steve Full. “All the events that we entered were highly competitive, and we placed very well.”
More than 1,100 athletes from around the Northwest competed in 60 events at the district championships — the largest junior championship USRowing has ever hosted.
In each event, preliminary heats were held to determine which boats would move on to race in the finals.
Vashon boats entered 19 events, advanced to 14 finals and earned seven top-three medals, four of which were first place awards.
Full said he was proud of the whole team’s performance.
“Despite being a very young team, all of our rowers rowed with the composure of professional athletes and above all else with passion,” he said. “Winning 12 medals (six of them gold) is a terrific accomplishment by anyone’s standards, but watching the kids have fun with the racing, and seeing the results from their hard work throughout the year was the most amazing part of the weekend.”
Two boats that earned first place in their finals and will go on to nationals are the women’s varsity four, with Avalon Koenig, Mia Croonquist, Charlotte Kehoe, Tera Jane Ripley and coxswain Olivia Sayvetz, and the women’s varsity quad, with Koenig, Croonquist, Emily Kehoe, Alaina Williams, and coxswain Sayvetz.
Two boats received second place in their finals and will also go to nationals: the men’s lightweight double, with Tim Hanson and Ryan Bingham, and the women’s varsity pair, with Katelyn Carter and Erika Odmark.
Five other boats earned first place in their events. In the men’s second varsity quad were Alec Spencer, Baxter Call, Isaiah Mosser-Rohe, Tate Gill and coxswain Sarah Warner. In the women’s second varsity quad were Ella McConnell, Katelyn Carter, Charlotte Kehoe, Tera Jane Ripley and coxswain Sayvetz. The women’s novice quad consisted of Anna Ripley, Shannon Lipe, Ameline Gibaud, Halimah Griffin and coxswain Rayna Shinn. In the men’s novice double were Jack Mask and Alexander Wright, and rowing the men’s third varsity double were Alec Spencer and Baxter Call.
The men’s novice double, with Liam McConnell and Julian Baca, took second in their final, and the women’s third varsity double, with Ella McConnell and Odmark, took third in their final.
VIJC also had two boats earn fourth place in their finals: the men’s varsity quad with Ky Burton, Gus Magnuson, Hanson, Bingham and coxswain Warner, and the men’s varsity double with Magnuson and Burton.
The men’s novice quad, with Liam McConnell, Mask, Call, Baca and coxswain Shinn earned second in their heat, advanced to the finals and earned sixth place against some tough teams.
Making all the Pirates proud in the women’s high school eight were Emily Kehoe, Carter, McConnell, Koenig, Tera Jane Ripley, Charlotte Kehoe, Croonquist, Williams and coxswain Warner. This boat fought hard to earn second place overall, coming in only two seconds behind the first-place boat.
Thirteen Vashon rowers are now preparing for the national championships, held June 10 through 12 in Melton Hill Lake, just outside of Oak Ridge, Tenn. They are planning a car wash next month to raise funds for the trip.
— Janet Williams is the publicity chair for the Vashon Island Rowing Club.