Crew rakes in medals at Regionals, heads to Nationals

Shannon Lipe, Kelsey Abella, Hannah Russell, Anna Ripley and coxswain Kai Li Scheer rowed the girl’s JV quad at Regionals and won gold. - Courtesy Photo
Shannon Lipe, Kelsey Abella, Hannah Russell, Anna Ripley and coxswain Kai Li Scheer rowed the girl’s JV quad at Regionals and won gold.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Vashon Island Junior Crew (VIJC) garnered 15 medals and qualified four boats for Nationals at the Northwest Regional Regatta at Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Wash., last weekend. The crew also qualified four boats for Nationals last year, a record for the team at the time.

With 23 teams and thousands of athletes from across the region, the small club’s success stands out among the field of competitors. Of the 16 preliminary races the club entered, 14 boats qualified for the finals, so many that VIJC needed to borrow a boat from another club in order to compete in all events.

Four boats triumphed, winning gold medals and US Rowing trophies.

The JV women’s quad had their work cut out for them when the competing crew gained on them in the last 500 meters. The rowers, Hannah Russell, Kelsey Abella, Anna Ripley, Shannon Lipe and coxswain Kai Li Scheer, poured on the power and crossed the finish 1.5 seconds ahead.

In an even closer race, the JV men’s quad, with Liam McConnell, Alexander Wright, Jack Mask, Julian Baca and coxswain Rayna Shinn, led the field and took first by .94 seconds. Novice girls Scheer, Bryn Gilbert, Kirsten Girard, Kalie Heffernan and coxswain Ally Clevenger showed their strength and placed first in the quad race, finishing two boat lengths of open water ahead of the field.

For the first time ever, VIJC brought home the trophy for the girls’ high school eight, a serious but fun race where the crews dress to represent their schools. Sporting green and yellow attire, complete with pirate tattoos, were rowers Ella McConnell, Katelyn Carter, TerraJane Ripley, Halimah Griffin, Charlotte Kehoe, Avalon Koenig, Maya Krah, Taegan Lynch and coxswain Shinn.

Eight silver medals were won, three of them by boats that also qualified to compete at Nationals. The boy’s varsity quad, with Baxter Call, Tate Gill, Gus Magnuson, Ryan Bingham and coxswain Sarah Warner; the girls’ varsity double with Avalon Keonig and Emmie Kehoe, and the boys’ varsity double with Magnuson and Bingham. The other silver medalists were Scheer and Anna Ripley in the JV women’s double, Girard and Heffernan in the novice women’s double, Ben Zaglin and Ethan Rumberg in novice men’s double, McConnell and Baca in the JV double and the novice women’s four with Gilbert, Girard, Krah, Lynch and coxswain Clevenger.

The crew also brought home three bronze medals. One of them went to a boat which also qualified for Nationals, the girls’ single rowed by Emmie Kehoe. Kehoe, however, has chosen not to race this event at Nationals and will instead concentrate on her double race with Koenig.

The boys’ JV double with Wright and Mask, and the boys’ novice quad, coxed by Clevenger with Charles Elliott, Rumberg, Patrick Hanson and Ben Zaglin — who substituted for Nathaniel Petram who ended up with a broken nose after being hit by a Frisbee — were happy with the bronze.

The USRowing Youth National Championships will be held June 8 to 10 in Oakridge, Tenn.


— Marianne Metz Lipe is on Vashon Rowing Club’s publicity committee.


A car wash to offset the costs of sending junior crew members to Nationals will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Vashon Plaza. Tax-deductible gifts can be sent to VIRC, P.O. Box 79, Vashon, 98070.


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